Enjoy the convenience of drip coffee pouches and coffee capsules, but prefer artisanal to commercial brands?
A Singaporean couple has set up an online business called Hook Coffee to sell these coffee products. It also offers a coffee subscription service where speciality beans are delivered to customers at regular intervals.
The local start-up launched last week. Its subscription service delivers speciality coffee beans sourced from around the world to customers weekly or fortnightly.
The sustainably grown Arabica coffee beans, which are ground on demand, can be calibrated to work with five brewing methods: espresso machine, French press, Aeropress, drip and stove top. Customers can also buy whole beans.
Hook Coffee also sells drip coffee pouches. Sit one on the rim of a cup, tear open the pouch containing the coffee grounds and pour in hot water to make a cuppa.
By April, it will also produce coffee capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines.
Hook Coffee (www.hookcoffee.com.sg) is the brainchild of Mr Ernest Ting, 24, and his girlfriend, Ms Faye Sit, 24.
Mr Ting says he got hooked on the vibrant coffee culture in London, where he studied for four years. While there, he learnt latte art and roasting and enrolled in cupping courses.
After graduating last June with a master's degree in finance and private equity from the London School of Economics, he started the business with Ms Sit, whom he met in Temasek Junior College. She graduated with a master's in environment and sustainable development from University College London.
Mr Ting's parents were sceptical, but last month, the couple secured a $50,000 ACE Startups Grant from Spring Singapore, which helps first-time entrepreneurs start their businesses.
He also had to persuade his parents to loan him $25,000 and set up his office in a former storeroom in a three-storey shophouse in Jalan Besar that houses Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, which his family runs.
The couple work with a London- based speciality coffee importer to bring in coffee beans from countries such as Brazil, Colombia and India. The beans are roasted to their specifications by a local roaster and are delivered via snail mail within a week of roasting. A 250g bag of coffee that makes up to 15 cups of coffee costs $18.
Mr Ting says: "Instead of having to buy coffee beans from different cafes and roasters, we provide a convenient and cost-efficient way of enjoying a cup of coffee at home."
The drip coffee pouches, which cost $18 for a pack of 10, is one way to correct the misconception that good coffee can be brewed only by connoisseurs with coffee-brewing equipment, Ms Sit says.
Pricing for the capsules, which are in the development stage, have not been decided, but will be comparable to Nespresso's.
There are also plans to open a roasting facility by July.
The couple came up with the idea of starting Hook Coffee because they signed up for snack and coffee subscription services in London.
Miss Ting says: "It was a fun way of getting exposed to new products and we looked forward to receiving the 'surprise' boxes."
Besides Hook Coffee, Papa Palhelta also runs a coffee subscription programme. Subscribers receive 500g of coffee beans each month. Prices start at $114 for a three-month subscription.
Other perks include tasting previews of new coffee beans and limited-edition beans.
Mr Adryll Lim, 32, head of coffee sales at Papa Palhelta, says while these services are popular in the United States, they have not received much traction here. Its Must.Drink.Coffee subscription service started four years ago and only about 20 people have signed up.
He says: "There's no real incentive to pick up a subscription as Singapore is small enough to try new coffee from the cafes and roasters. We try to add value by organising subscriber-only events."
To make the service more attractive, there is no minimum period that customers need to commit to and they can suspend, cancel or change orders throughout their subscription period.
He adds: "Customers are not tied-down to a plan and can order the beans to suit their coffee preferences."
•Hook Coffee will have pop-up stores starting tomorrow. It will be at Icon @ International Business Park tomorrow and Tuesday, Galaxis Building in Fusionopolis from Wednesday to Friday and Honeywell Building in Changi Business Park on Jan 18 and 19. Opening hours for the pop-ups are from 11am to 3pm.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2016, with the headline Get your artisanal caffeine fix home delivered. Subscribe