We learn about the Singapore Coffee Collective’s goal to educate and expose consumers to specialty-coffee culture.
BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Maximillian Wee
Singapore is an island nation with a thriving coffee culture dating as far back as the 18th century. Today, there are more than enough places to get a cup of coffee on the island.
Inspired by the international specialty-coffee scene, a group of coffee people decided to start the Singapore Coffee Collective (SCC) in April 2022. This new, not-for-profit initiative is all about forming a cohesive coffee community in Singapore and showcasing the local coffee scene to the world—not just the coffee, but everyone in it.
We chatted with founding member Maximillian Wee about the inspiration behind the SCC, the local coffee scene, and what the future holds for the collective.
Representing Coffee in Singapore
Considering the size of Singapore’s population and GDP, the country’s coffee industry is growing rapidly to catch up with international markets. However, coffee roasters are struggling; Maximillian explains that in order for businesses to succeed, they need to increase sales volume by tapping into the international consumer market.
“The small land mass makes for an extremely saturated market,” explains Maximillian. “Because of this, businesses are struggling with small market share, and roasters have to rely on importers (instead of direct purchase) for their green beans. In an ideal world, roasteries should at least make a decent slice of the pie, enough for them to trade directly with their preferred producers.”
The Singapore Coffee Collective aims to be at the forefront when it comes to representing coffee in Singapore, connecting local businesses with the necessary contacts to extend their reach across an international audience.
“At the same time, we are here to act as a platform for coffee consumers, prosumers, content creators, and industry professionals to cohabitate. Our goal is to promote specialty-coffee culture in Singapore by sharing with consumers about the ins and outs of the specialty supply chain, and encouraging open communication between coffee businesses and their audience,” Maximillian says.
Engaging the Local Coffee Community
The very first initiative by the SCC is the Coffee in Singapore Map, a cohesive effort that involved contributions from members of the local coffee community. Maximilian explains that the project integrates technology and community to create a map of favorite coffee spots in Singapore.
“Contributors have the chance to nominate some of their most recommended coffee shops along with a short description,“ says Maximilian. “The aim is to provide easily accessible information that would expose novice coffee drinkers and tourists to our diverse coffee culture!”
Furthermore, the SCC has already started to engage its community through various events and workshops, most notably the recent public cupping with 2018 World Brewers Cup Champion Emi Fukahori, organized by Homeground Coffee Roasters.
In the coming months, people can expect more events and collaborations from the SCC as they are working with a multitude of coffee businesses and other non-coffee related initiatives. “We’ll also be churning out lots of exciting content produced by local coffee talents, and we are optimistic for overwhelming anticipation from the community!” Maximilian says.
Aside from organizing events and acting as a platform for coffee people, the SCC hopes to address the challenges that coffee professionals in Singapore face, due to low wages and the high cost of living.
The collective strives to educate consumers about the artisanal nature of coffee and the hard work that goes into each cup. Ultimately, the hope is that coffee drinkers will be willing to pay more for their beloved beverage in order to help keep coffee businesses afloat.
With the motto, “for coffee people, by people in coffee,” the Singapore Coffee Collective is off to a strong start in fulfilling its vision of promoting specialty-coffee culture and education in Singapore. If you’ll be traveling to Singapore in the near future, make sure to reach out for a trusted local’s take on the best coffee spots in town.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.