From a good ol’ cup of kopi at the hawker centre to a long black at a third wave coffee joint, Singapore indeed has a vibrant coffee culture.
The coffee industry in Singapore traditionally has two faces: kopitiam stalls that sell hundreds of cups each morning, and speciality coffeehouses that are popping up all over the island.
In recent years however, another player — e-coffee — has joined the game and is set on an upward trajectory of growth.
The business model of e-coffee is straightforward: simply order coffee beans or grounds online, and a package will be delivered to your doorstep.
The appeal of e-coffee is perhaps in its convenience and customisability. The coffee will be delivered to customers based on their frequency of consumption, and brands like Hook Coffee allow for customers to take a “coffee matching” quiz on its website to determine the best coffee for their palettes.
The latest kid on the block in Singapore’s coffee industry — cold brew subscriptions — take things one step further.
The Draw Of Cold Brew Subscriptions
Like e-coffee businesses, customers can order their wares online and have them delivered to their homes. One huge difference is that the coffee is already brewed for them.
The cold brew coffee craze is hardly new. Unlike regular iced coffee, cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in room-temperature water for six to 12 hours. Coffee lovers have long lauded it for being less acidic and bitter than its iced counterpart.
However, during the circuit breaker period, the sales of cold brew subscription has skyrocketed — at least, that’s what it seems like on my Instagram Story feed.
I would see a different person unboxing yet another cold brew delivery, or a perfectly-manicured picture of a bottle of cold brew sitting next to a house plant every other day.
Marilyn Teo, 23, shared that her friends surprised her with a set of cold brews for her birthday which fell during the circuit breaker. She quipped that it seemed to be the “latest fad”.
Reflective of this trend, cafes that traditionally operate out of physical stores have hopped onto the bandwagon to deliver brews to customers’ doorsteps, some on a weekly basis.
Mosanco Enchanted Cafe at Rangoon Road is one of them. The cafe has innovated to create a “Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs” set, with eight bottles of cold brew going for S$50.
The cafe only implemented its cold brew delivery during the Circuit Breaker period as they noticed that locals were unable to get their favourite drinks from the cafe.
“We wanted to create some joy and positivity for our customers during that (circuit breaker) period to hopefully motivate them,” said Victor Tan, Founder of Mosanco Pte Ltd.
Th cafe then went on to begin bottling and delivering these popular drinks to the customers’ convenience.
Their delivery service boosted the cafe’s sales volume during the circuit breaker period, prompting them to offer a 24-hour delivery service islandwide.
Meanwhile, coffee and smoothie bar Parallel used to operate two stores at Raffles City and City Hall.
The former has since closed permanently, but the store’s cold brew delivery service is still thriving, with its customers flooding social media with images of their deliveries.
For Parallel, six bottles of cold brew a week will set a coffee lover back by S$28.
Indeed, the convenience of having a week’s supply of coffee delivered to one’s home was a key consideration when making a purchase.
“I did not want to make unnecessary trips out of the house, so when I saw the cold brew subscription by Parallel, I decided to try it,” said 25 year-old Anabelle Lim, who had been working from home during the circuit breaker.
“I usually drink at least one cup of coffee everyday, so the subscription was worth it,” she mused.
Will This Trend Stick Around?
It sure seems like cold brew subscriptions are the latest innovation in the coffee world, with businesses and individuals picking up on the trend.
Perhaps coffee aficionados might be skeptical about this. After all, there is still charm in having your coffee freshly prepared in front of you at a bustling coffee house.
With Singapore entering Phase 2 and patrons steadily streaming back into workplaces, cafes and coffee bars, the surge in demand for cold brew subscriptions might ease.
Despite that, Mosanco Enchanted Cafe’s cold brew delivery will be “here to stay.” Victor believes that while the its cold brew was trending when most people were working from home, many customers will continue would deliver the cold brew “straight to their offices”
The convenience factor that Singaporeans value is definitely a huge selling point, and the luxury of having your cold brew delivered to you in bulk at the start of each week might just be the future of coffee.
Featured Image Credits: SG Magazine