"F**k the world, don't ask me for shit
And everything you get ya gotta work hard for it"
- Christopher Wallace, 1994
We live in bountiful times; the specialty coffee movement in Singapore is experiencing a renaissance where a new spot opens up every 3 weeks that's ether led or owned by experienced roasters and baristas who've cut their teeth at pioneering third wave cafés since the late noughties & early 2010s.
For a consumer market as dynamically fickle as Singapore, this presents an interesting challenge for coffee professionals when articulating a vision around a product that's perceived to be highly commoditized.
Given the circumstances, it's tempting to revert to abhorrent gimmicks like serving a pourover kopi luwak or succumbing to market pressures with discount mechanisms like loyalty cards or 1-for-1 promotions.
While I may not be an experienced coffee professional and may probably incur the silent wrath of more experienced people than myself due to my outspoken nature,
I'd like to think Geylang Drip City articulates a fresh perspective on the intersection of coffee & commerce.
Some may be shitting themselves at the prospect of intense competition; i firmly believe there is still plenty of headroom for growth and for any new roaster or café owner, to explore pockets of differentiation & new business.
However, I am also of the opinion that for us to realise the growth to keep up with the fiscal realities that we have to face, there needs to be a stronger and united narrative that the specialty coffee community have to push to grow the addressable market.
The asshole in me tells me that this narrative needs to stand in direct contrast, and even active opposition, to the romanticisation of our traditional Nanyang kopi and specifically it's price point.
Yes,'it's tempting to for us to act like we're supporting the local kopitiam uncle by purchasing an 80 cents coffee in the name of keeping tradition alive.
Newsflash; nobody wants to serve you an 80 cents coffee at 78 years old because it's fun.
The dude should be retired but he isn't and you want to know why?
Because he sells 80 cents coffee.
So even as the supply of specialty coffee and accessibility of specialty coffee increases, i hope everyone markets the f**k out of their respective product proposition and café experience so we can convert the mass market away from commodity coffee and into a more sustainable way of enjoying this beloved beverage.
It's not going to be easy but everything ya get, you gotta work hard for it.
Your Geylang coffee contrarian,
Drip City Owner