SINGAPORE – Marketing executive Cheryl Lim recently received a gift of cold-brew coffee from her friends that was delivered to her home.
The 27-year-old, who works from home, says: “Since I can’t head out to a cafe, I’ve been drinking the cold-brew coffee at home. And I am planning to order more. I have a Nespresso machine at home too and have stocked up on capsules for the next few months.”
Ms Lim and her friends are among a growing number of speciality coffee lovers who are getting their brews sent to their doorstep.
Speciality coffee producers tell The Sunday Times they are seeing a surge in demand for their cold brews, capsules, drip bags and ground coffee; as well as a spike in capsule subscriptions, which ensure a constant supply of coffee to one’s home.
Speciality cold-brew coffee producer Bootstrap Beverages says it has increased its production three times since the start of the year.
Business development manager Trina Young notes that more customers switched from ad-hoc purchases to subscriptions.
At coffee boutique PPP Coffee (formerly known as Papa Palheta) – which operates the popular Chye Seng Huat Hardware in Tyrwhitt Road – there has been significant demand for its cold-brew coffee.
In March, it sold 150 bottles a week, says chief executive officer Marcus Foo, 39. The number doubled in April – when the circuit breaker started – and doubled again in May.
Likening the cold-brew coffee trend to the bubble tea craze, he says: “People are willing to spend and will buy more to store or give to friends.”
Sales of coffee capsules and retail packs of ground coffee and beans have also doubled, Mr Foo adds. More customers are also buying its home-brewing equipment such as the V60 coffee dripper and coffee grinders.
“When the circuit breaker was announced, besides essentials, people were also stocking up on coffee. We packed more than 300 orders that weekend – about six times our usual amount.”
Old Hen Coffee Bar in Rangoon Road even launched a “circuit breaker special” – a one-litre cold-brew coffee with milk ($19.90) specifically catering to home consumption. Its usual 330ml bottles are priced from $6.50.
While retail sales are brisk, wholesale business has been disrupted.
PPP Coffee’s overall production has dropped by half, as the supply to cafes and corporate clients has been reduced. Retail sales have “cushioned the fall”, Mr Foo says.
Nespresso, best known for its coffee capsules, initially faced disruption with production and shipment of its Swiss-made capsules due to restrictions and safety measures, says Ms May Han, a business executive officer at Nespresso Singapore.
In Singapore, the brand’s four boutiques and most of its business partners which use Nespresso equipment are closed. The company is working with them to ensure they are ready when dine-in resumes.
Other coffee retailers are doing their part to be eco-friendly.
The Maks’ Coffee and Hook Coffee, which offer subscriptions, recently launched biodegradable and compostable coffee capsules.
Hook Coffee’s capsules are compatible with Nespresso machines. Soon, it will also have capsules that can be used with Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines, says chief executive officer Wayne Lai, 28.
Launching capsules a month before the circuit breaker was timely for The Maks’ Coffee. Its coffee drip bags – a fuss-free option that does not require a machine – have also been popular.
To cater to demand, founder Chris Mak increased production volume by 10 to 15 per cent after the circuit breaker was announced.
She says: “More people are trying new recipes at home and that includes those for coffee too. For instance, the popular Dalgona coffee trend was a hit among home coffee brewers.
“The trend of gifting coffee has also grown. It’s nice to see people cheering others up through gifting, while also supporting small local businesses during this trying time.”
What: The brewing house’s more unusual brew beverages ($6.90 a bottle) include sea salt hojicha latte, Earl Grey chocolate and honey macadamia milk. Check out the Magic Coffee Bomb, which is made up of a double espresso, purple brown rice and black sesame.
Info: WhatsApp 9853-0206 or order online. A minimum order of six bottles is required for islandwide delivery. Delivery charge is $9; free for orders above $80.
What: Bootstrap’s Mix Pack ($35 for six bottles, includes free islandwide delivery) is a good starter kit for those new to cold-brew drinks. You get a bottle each of its High-Performance Strong Black Coffee, manuka honey coffee and signature black coffee, as well as the dairy-free oat milk coffee, orange tea and hojicha.
For Father’s Day, the cold-brew coffee producer – which started in Bali in 2015 – has launched a special pack ($36) with two bottles each of its strong cold-brew coffee, manuka honey coffee and hojicha.
Its cold-brew subscription service allows customers to choose from its range of brews and decide on the frequency and quantity of bottles required.
Info: Bootstrap Beverages Co.’s website
MOSANCO ENCHANTED CAFE
What: Aside from its cold-brew coffee, the cafe also has non-coffee options of bandung, matcha and rose chocolate. Each flavour is priced at $6.90. Get the full set of eight cold brews (above) for $50 or a choice of six cold brews with two cakes for $52.
The cafe also offers delivery of its food menu of brunch items and acai bowls, as well as other drinks.
Where: 01-04, 88 Rangoon Road
Info: WhatsApp 8813-1086 or go to this website. Delivery is from 9.30am to 11pm daily, with a minimum spending of $25. Delivery charge is $5; free for orders above $50.
THE MAKS’ COFFEE
What: Get a trio of its best-selling drip coffee bags ($52, above), which come in a light roast, medium blend and dark roast. A three-month subscription of its drip bags or coffee beans starts at $48.
The speciality coffee company also sells earth-friendly compostable Nespresso-compatible capsules ($10.99 for 10) with 100 per cent Arabica coffee.
Info: Call 8812-3450 or go to this website. Delivery charge is $7; free for orders above $45.
What: Hook Coffee’s best-selling flavours – Birds of Paradise, Choco Loco and Sweet Bundchen – come in biodegradable Nespresso-compatible pods.
Birds of Paradise is cultivated on the rich volcanic soils of Purosa Valley in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, while Choco Loco is made with beans from Nicaragua, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Sweet Bundchen – made with beans from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Colombia and Nicaragua – has hazelnut and chocolate notes and is good with milk.
The cost is $12 for 20 pods if you sign up for a free subscription. Otherwise, it is $16 for 20 pods.
New subscribers get 50 per cent off their first purchase with the promo code HOOKMEUP, which is valid till Oct 10.
Info: Hook Coffee’s website