In 105 CE, Cai Lun – a politician of the Han dynasty – invented a papermaking method using rags and other plant fibres in. But what’s truly fascinating is where he took his inspiration: from the way wasps and insects would build paper-like nests made from wood. This is just one example of “biomimicry”: the
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Angkor Wat, the Tonle Sap Lake and rapid modernisation: these are probably some of the things that come to mind when you think about Cambodia. But travel further east towards Mondulkiri Province and you may discover a different Cambodia altogether. Mondulkiri is Cambodia's largest and also most sparsely populated province, but offers a unique setting
Fermentation, digestive tract and expensive coffee beans from Southeast Asia. As a coffee connoisseur, or simply a coffee enthusiast, you probably know where we are heading. Kopi luwak, or civet cat coffee. Typically sold at US$100 to US$500 (SG$137 to SG$684) per kilogram, kopi luwak was popularised from Indonesia and in Vietnam too, where it's sold as ca
When Nespresso and capsule coffee machines flooded the market, many die-hard coffee connoisseurs turned their noses up. Yes, these fancy devices were compact and – most importantly – convenient, but avid coffee drinkers felt they could never truly deliver when it came to taste and quality. The biggest disadvantage was being unable to pick the coffee
Tucked in among factories and hardware shops in Bandar Sri Damansara, an industrial neighbourhood outside the Malaysian capital, is the Bean Expedition At Manufactory or BEAM. From the outside, it gives little indication of what goes on inside; you could be forgiven for thinking it processes legumes rather than specialty coffee. Despite the sleek, modern
In the Golden Triangle region of Thailand, Doi Chang was once known for its opium production but since the 1980s farmers have been turning to arabica coffee plants, which have thrived in the rich soil and cool weather. Southeast Asia is home to remarkable treasures, including hilly areas that have proven fertile and rich beds to
At one extreme of the tourism spectrum you have cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill tours where you do nothing but visit iconic sites and follow a flag-waving guide around. At the other end there’s “adventure travel”, which involves exploration with a certain degree of risk (think activities like trekking and surfing). The truth is, the demand for these
You can have the highest quality coffee, the perfect roast and a great coffee machine, but still make bad coffee. Why, it’s all about the coffee grind size!
Smartphones, smart homes, smart cities – we’ve all heard of these terms before. The word “smart” here is generally used to refer to things and spaces with advanced, high-tech features. But smart neighbourhoods? That’s a new one. While the global focus is currently on smart cities, urban planners are looking at implementing and developing smart