Asean Coffee Institute to open here as part of move to make Singapore a hub for speciality coffee

Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, speaking at the Singapore Speciality Coffee Auction yesterday.
Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, speaking at the Singapore Speciality Coffee Auction on July 13, 2021.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Singapore Coffee Association president Victor Mah speaking at the Singapore Speciality Coffee (Micro-Lot) Auction 2021.
Singapore Coffee Association president Victor Mah speaking at the Singapore Speciality Coffee (Micro-Lot) Auction 2021.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Coffee Association (SCA) will team up with the Asean Coffee Federation (ACF) to open an Asean Coffee Institute in Singapore by the end of 2021.

The institute will train and certify baristas and offer certified coffee grader programmes, according to the SCA. It will also introduce an Asean Coffee Excellence Programme, which aims to set an Asean standard for grading speciality coffee.

The institute will be a hub for countries in the region to upskill and expand the scope of jobs in the coffee industry.

This is part of the SCA's efforts to turn Singapore into a key regional trading hub for speciality coffee.

It aims to potentially double Singapore's coffee industry in coming years, which is currently worth more than $270 million.

SCA president Victor Mah, who is also president of ACF, outlined the plans in his speech at the Singapore Speciality Coffee (Micro-Lot) Auction 2021 at the Marina Bay Sands on Tuesday (July 13).

The auction offered speciality coffee from 15 countries that were selected by Asean coffee graders to be placed for bidding.

The guest of honour, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng, said: "Singapore is well-positioned to be a global trading hub for speciality coffee in the region.

"We are fortunate to be situated between fast-growing consumer markets in the Asia-Pacific and some of the world's major coffee producing nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

"This makes Singapore a convenient location for agri-commodities companies who wish to participate in the global value chain through activities such as roasting, packaging, grading and certification."

Also present at the event were 21 ambassadors and high commissioners from countries including Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, Rwanda and Ukraine.

The global coffee market was valued at US$102 billion (S$138 billion) in 2020, with the speciality coffee sector making up almost a third of the market.

Speciality coffee is set to more than double its value to over US$80 billion by 2025.

Mr Mah said: "We feel it is high time South-east Asia, which produces a third of the world's coffee and has two of the world's top four coffee-producing nations, is also seen as a top coffee authority and not just a top coffee producer."

There has also been rising interest in speciality coffee among consumers, said Mr A. Syafrudin, first vice-president of the ACF and adviser to the Speciality Coffee Association of Indonesia (SCAI) .

"We have seen appreciation for speciality coffee growing, especially during the pandemic as people stay home more and invest in home-brewing equipment," Mr Syafrudin added.

As a prelude to the auction, SCA, with key partner Bank Indonesia, organised Singapore's largest coffee convention that featured speakers from Indonesia, Colombia, China and Japan who shared their expertise and information on their respective markets.

The coffee convention saw 110 in-person and 869 virtual attendees from 10 countries and regions.


The auction offered speciality coffee from 15 countries that were selected by Asean coffee graders to be placed for bidding. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SCA also signed a memorandum of understanding with e-commerce giant Shopee to organise a digital version of Singapore Coffee Week, scheduled for October.

The event will see deals on coffee and boost exposure for cafes and speciality coffee suppliers.

This is part of efforts to better digitalise the coffee industry and work with the Government to assist small- and medium-sized enterprises to go regional, said SCA.

Mr Ian Ho, Shopee's regional managing director, said: "As consumer habits increasingly shift towards online-first lifestyles, I am excited to partner with the Singapore Coffee Association and its member brands to recreate essential elements of the offline shopping experience online, leveraging our platform and resources to benefit local communities in the road ahead."