The Business Times

Singapore gets a caffeine boost from specialty coffee trading

Published Tue, Jul 13, 2021 · 07:13 PM

SINGAPORE is eager to play a key role in the growing global demand for specialty coffee, with the Singapore Coffee Association (SCA) looking to strengthen the Republic as a key trading hub for the niche sector.

In a press release on Tuesday, SCA noted that the global coffee market was valued at US$102.02 billion in 2020. While the specialty coffee sector accounted for a third of that figure, it is set to more than double its value by 2025 and exceed US$80 billion.

Speaking at the Singapore Specialty Coffee (Micro-lot) Auction on Tuesday, SCA president Victor Mah said that specialty coffee can be traded at many times more than commercial coffee, and this makes the market a compelling one.

According to Mr Mah, specialty coffee currently accounts for about a fifth of the US$200 million industry in Singapore. This, he said, is set to expand in the coming years as disposable incomes rise and more people get interested in this type of coffee.

SCA aims to leverage Singapore's strategic location, digitalisation efforts and free trade agreements to position the country as a key trading hub in the supply chain. For example, blockchain technology can help certify the origins of beans, said the association's executive director Steven Tan.

At the auction held at Marina Bay Sands, SCA and Shopee signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on a digital Singapore Coffee Week in October. This event will provide industry players with a digital and borderless platform to trade coffee.

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Mr Mah also outlined SCA's multi-pronged approach to establish Singapore and the region's credibility in producing niche coffee.

He said that the SCA, together with the Asean Coffee Federation, will set up an Asean Coffee Institute by the end of this year. The institute aims to train and certify baristas, offer certified coffee grader programmes and implement an Asean coffee excellence programme.

An Asean standard for coffee is also set to be implemented by December, said Mr Mah. By introducing localised cupping standards, local flavour profiles can be better captured, he said. Farmers in the region will also be able to better understand local flavour notes and terminology.

Speaking at the event, Manpower Miniser and Second Trade and Industry Minister Tan See Leng said Singapore is well positioned to be a global trading hub for specialty 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," he said. "This makes Singapore a very convenient location for agri-commodities companies who wish to participate in the global value chain through activities such as roasting, packaging, grading and certification."


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