Singapore Coffee Festival: Eco-friendly coffee is what's brewing

 Endangered silvery gibbons in Java.

Many people would have heard of kopi luwak, a type of coffee made from beans that are first digested, and then excreted by the civet.

Because of its high price tag - a cup in the United States can go for up to US$80 (S$109), reports the National Geographic - people have started capturing wild civets and keeping them in tiny cages.

This trade has contributed to a negative association between coffee and wildlife. But Mandai Park Holdings, parent company of wildlife park operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), wants to change that with a new wildlife-friendly coffee.

Owa Coffee will make its debut during the second edition of the Singapore Coffee Festival, which is organised by The Straits Times and will run from Thursday to Sunday.

It contains 80 per cent arabica and 20 per cent robusta beans, grown in a way to preserve the habitats of the endangered silvery gibbon - a primate found only in Java. The beans are from plants that grow well in the shade of natural forests, reducing the need to clear land.


    WHERE: Marina Bay Cruise Centre; 61, Marina Coastal Drive

    WHEN: Aug 3 (for trade and media only, register at; two sessions daily from Aug 4 to 6, 10am to 3.30pm and 4.30pm to 10pm

    ADMISSION: $22, $18 (DBS and POSB cardholders, ST subscribers)

    INFO: Go to

Owa Coffee is a collaboration between WRS and an Indonesian gibbon conservation initiative, Coffee and Primate Conservation Project.

Group chief executive of Mandai Park Holdings Mike Barclay said: "This coffee festival is giving us a chance to share with coffee-lovers how their daily routine can be doubly satisfying. By choosing wildlife-friendly Owa Coffee, you are playing a part to save the rainforest and conserve the biodiversity and wildlife which call it home."

During the coffee festival, the Owa beans will be sold in a set with Wild We Can, a book on WRS' regional conservation efforts, for $29. Up to 80 per cent of the proceeds at the coffee festival will go towards WRS' regional conservation projects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'Eco-friendly coffee is what's brewing'. Subscribe