Last Updated: May 14, 2018
First, we had Spotify subscription, then Netflix. Now, I present to you coffee delivered straight to your doorstep!
That’s what you’ll be getting with Hook Coffee, Singapore’s own online subscription service for your daily caffeine fix.
A good cup of coffee can make or break your day ahead. Hook Coffee has you covered, because they combine affordable quality coffee and convenience to suit your busy work life.
Hook Coffee’s founders, Ernest and Faye, were just typical Singaporean students trying to get through university. While pursuing degrees at prestigious UK universities, they had a brainwave — why not start a coffee business?
After getting their degrees, they launched Hook Coffee in January 2016. Asian parents must be shrieking in horror, so I had to ask, “How did you convince your parents?” To which, Ernest replied with a laugh, “Just ask.”
The journey wasn’t easy. Their first office was a storeroom in a three-storey shophouse in Jalan Besar. But after securing a $50,000 ACE Startups Grant from Spring Singapore and a $25,000 loan from his parents, they got the business on track.
Two years on, they are one of Singapore’s most successful online businesses and even have plans to expand overseas.
Hook Coffee’s subscription fully depends on you. The coffee sold here starts from an affordable $14 for 200g of coffee (around 12 cups), with no shipping charges!
If you’re iffy about subscription-based services, the good news is you don’t have to commit to anything long-term with Hook Coffee. Your subscription depends on how much coffee you want, and how frequent you want it. It can be edited, paused or cancelled at any time.
This personalised subscription means your coffee is delivered to you according to how fast you consume your coffee.
Your subscription frequency can be customised, whether its a bag of coffee every two days or even one every 35 days. This way, you’ll never have to worry about having too much or too little coffee on your hands.
Let’s face it, coffee is all about the quality. To ensure this, Hook Coffee insists on a stringent process of sourcing for their own beans.
“We get coffee from partners that we source from various parts of the world. Buying directly from the farmers gives us direct access and better control, and the farmers also get a bigger cut.” That’s how the good guys at Hook Coffee ensure full transparency with their sourcing, sustainably and ethically.
They also helped me to clarify some misconceptions about coffee.
Coffee Myth #1: Specialty coffee is the same as artisan coffee. Speciality coffee refers to coffee that is graded 80 and above on a scale of 100 by a certified coffee taster. This is the only kind of beans that Hook Coffee uses.
Coffee Myth #2: Good beans are everything for quality. Not true. Another important aspect of coffee quality is the roast. Hook Coffee ensures this with their expert ‘bean whisperers’ who handle the roasting themselves.
To ensure freshness, Hook Coffee roasts their beans locally, and they promise that the coffee will reach your doorstep no more than a week after roasting!
But with great quality comes great sacrifice. Their coffee experts roast over 300kg of coffee every week, a process involving hauling and heavy-lifting. Head of Coffee, Kit, even remarked, “That’s how we save on gym memberships!”
With beans sourced from Africa, South America, Central America, and Asia, Hook Coffee has a vast repertoire of freshly-roasted speciality coffee for you to choose from, each with their own unique flavour profile.
Fancy a rum-tasting coffee called Rum Baby Rum?
Before you start thinking that Hook Coffee spikes their coffee, there’s actually no rum in Rum Baby Rum. The name is merely Hook Coffee’s way of keeping things easy for coffee amateurs, so they know the flavours of what they’re choosing.
Rum Baby Rum is actually a medium roast of Ethiopian beans, which tastes just like rum! Their Strawberry Fields coffee roast also supposedly has hints of ‘Tochigi strawberries’. Likewise, all their other coffee roasts have flavours which come naturally, with no artificial oils added.
Hook Coffee makes things easy by letting you identify the flavour profile of a coffee from its name alone. There’s no need to worry about accidentally picking up a coffee roast you don’t like.
With interesting flavours and punny names, such as Madame Lychee and The Grape Gatsby, these coffee roasts are definitely cool beans.
I arranged a cupping session with Hook Coffee to test first-hand if their speciality coffee really has the advertised flavour. The coffee tasting was done blind and I had to guess the different coffee roasts from the aroma and flavour profile alone.
After being freshly grounded, it was time to put the eight different coffee roasts to the test.
Even with my untrained senses, I was able to pick up on some of the stronger aromas that were surprisingly familiar, like notes of chocolate and berries.
I was even able to distinguish between two different chocolate-flavoured coffee beans, one of which had an additional nutty aroma.
Next, hot water was added to the coffee for four minutes. Don’t worry about the crusty layer forming on the surface. It’s just the undissolved coffee grounds rising up to the top.
If your coffee comes up white when you add in the water, it might mean your coffee isn’t fresh. For comparison’s sake, Hook Coffee showed me a coffee roast that was roasted more than a week ago so I could see the difference. Whew, now I won’t ever get scammed into buying stale beans!
The best way to taste it is to get a spoonful and slurp it.
After scoring the flavour profiles, these were my findings. While a few had more subtle flavours, most of the coffee roasts had pretty distinct flavours. In particular, I enjoyed the coffee roasts with stronger fruity flavours as the delicate sweet notes were really delicious.
I correctly identified those with the chocolate flavours as Kopi Sutra (a dark-roasted Indonesian coffee described as having hints of ‘black forest cake’), while the one with the nutty aroma was Sweet Bundchen (a medium dark-roasted Brazilian coffee described as having hints of ‘kinder bueno’).
I also identified my favourite, Rum Baby Rum, correctly. No surprise here, considering my regular alcohol binging. This coffee’s rum flavour is spot on!
I’ll admit that I’m no coffee connoisseur. It really is a testament to the strong flavour profiles of Hook Coffee’s roasts that I could correctly identify so many coffee types.
One of Hook Coffee’s best features is its user-friendliness. On Hook Coffee’s website, choosing the coffee roast best-suited for you is easy.
The menu is really foolproof with all the details for the different coffee roasts displayed clearly. It even includes information on the flavours to give you an idea of what to expect. I appreciated the date of roasting which lets me know how fresh the beans are.
If you’re indecisive, Hook Coffee’s recommendation questionnaire helps you select your perfect coffee based on flavour, your brewing method and how strong you like your coffee.
It’s a match! I can safely vouch that the recommendation was spot on for me. Pruno Mars really suited my palate when I tried it during the taste test, as it was filled with bright fruity accents that I love in my coffee.
Another thing I really love about Hook Coffee is how easy they make it for lazy people. I would honestly rather purchase a $5 black coffee than making one at home myself. Thankfully, Hook Coffee has the solution.
The coffee is nicely packaged and small enough to fit in your letterbox, so you can just collect your coffee whenever you’re free.
While you can drink their coffee in any brewing method you like, nothing beats these convenient coffee Drip Bags (10 bags from $14 for subscribers, $18 for non-subscribers). They’re essentially pocket-sized coffee filters, which are great when you’re on the go.
These are actually Hook Coffee’s ShotPods (set of 20 at $14 for subscribers, $18 for non-subscribers). They’re compatible with Nespresso machines, and are equally fresh and tasty as coffee by the bag.
So don’t worry about subscribing if you’ve already bought a Nespresso machine, because you can just pop these in for some fresh coffee.
I’m pretty nosy, so I asked, “Has anyone ever blamed you for bad coffee when they mess up the brewing process on their own?”
While Hook Coffee encourages all their subscribers to experiment with the brewing method, don’t try anything too strange. If you want to be safe, Hook Coffee recommends specific brewing methods for each of their coffee roasts. There’s also a brewing guide for first-time coffee makers.
So the next time your coffee goes bad, don’t immediately blame the beans. Do some trouble-shooting of your own, or send a distress call to Hook Coffee’s team on their website’s chat function.
More than the affordable costs, Hook Coffee’s main draw is their quality and freshness. Quality is one thing I’ll never compromise in my daily cup, so thank God I don’t have to drink shoddy coffee anymore.
So if you’re lazy like I am, then you need Hook Coffee’s home-delivered speciality coffee. With their line-up of unique coffee flavours, wake up to a good cuppa speciality coffee that is guaranteed to get you hooked. This is one subscription you won’t regret going premium for!
Expected Damage: $14 – $40 per week (depending on how much coffee you drink a week)