Competing in a cutthroat environment and establishing a specialty coffee cafe in a big city is one thing, but focusing on specialty coffee and turning your brand into an international one? Now, that’s a tall order. It seems though, that Mellower Coffee has managed to do just that (and more) and has come a long way ever since it first launched in 2011 in Shanghai, China.
Back to the beginning
Mellower Coffee started off with a straightforward belief: to serve up a good cup of coffee. But then the team wanted to further strengthen their brand, and decided to find the best beans the world had to offer and introduce specialty coffee to China.
“In October 2016, Mellower won several awards for “best acidity in beans” and other areas, such as ‘the most exotic’ at a championship event thanks to our finds in Colombia (which is used to make one of our best sellers: Single Origins Coffee). We brought the beans back to China, and this was really kicked things off in terms of growing the Mellower Coffee brand,” says Hu E Yong, director of Mellower Coffee.
The brand is big on sourcing beans globally and roasting coffee independently to make sure what’s on offer is always fresh. Their 6,000 square meter roasting facility is currently based in Shanghai, and operates under a fully automated roasting process. The facility is virtually one-of-a-kind in China, and all these processes are carried out under the careful guidance of Mellower’s award-winning master roasters.
From plantation to cup
The main aim of Mellower Coffee is to source special coffee beans that are high in quality. It’s also, of course, all about traceability of a coffee and knowing every detail of its origins.
Yong explains: “Since 2011, Mellower Coffee has been engaged in the trading of green coffee beans and has successfully cooperated and interacted with suppliers from Colombia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia, and other major coffee production areas in the world.”
Mellower relies on a team of “bean finders” to visit these plantations and processing factories around the globe. These “bean finders” are also Q-Graders – true blue coffee connoisseurs trained to evaluate the quality of a cup of java and differentiate specialty from non-specialty – and these Q-Graders are the ones who purchase directly from these coffee farms worldwide and implement strict quality control.
A+ for creativity
After opening a series of branches throughout China, Mellower Coffee set up two overseas stores in Singapore starting from 2016: one along Robinson Road (mostly targeted at office workers) and another in Bugis. Both spots are heavily populated with trendy cafes and hip coffee houses, so, one may ask: what makes Mellower stand out? The answer is simple: its offerings.
“Mellower Coffee has plenty of creative masterpieces on its menu, such as Sweet Little Rain,” says Yong.
Sweet Little Rain has been making its rounds on social media. The gorgeous cuppa features a ball of cotton candy that’s suspended over an Americano. What happens is the steam from the coffee wafts upwards and melts the cotton candy bit by bit, causing it to drip straight into the cup – just like a raincloud. It’s a 15-minute wait for this drink, but it’s worth it, especially if you like your coffee strong, sweet, and find yourself doing everything for the ‘Gram.
For fans of local flavours, another must-try is the Iced Yirgacheffe with Lemon and Ondeh Latte. This espresso-based drink was made just for the Singapore outlets, and is creamy and rich, thanks to the hints of coconut and gula Melaka (palm sugar).
Mellower Coffee moving on in the World
Aside from setting up shop in Singapore and China, Mellower Coffee has also moved on to making its presence known in countries like South Korea and Vietnam. To top it all off, the brand has its own chain of retail shops.
The brand’s retail stores allow coffee lovers to enjoy the taste of Mellower Coffee in the comfort of their own homes
“With more than 60 outlets, we offer a wide spread selection of whole roasted, ground, or drip coffee. That way, consumers can get their artisanal coffee fix even in the comfort of their own home,” says Yong.
Mellower Coffee is also a proud owner of a coffee academy, which provides professional training for aspiring baristas. “It’s a place for them to hone their craft to perfection, and a place for these serious coffee enthusiasts to come together to share ideas on making the perfect brew. The ultimate goal is to help these coffee professionals grow by promoting the exchange and spreading of knowledge when it comes to specialty coffee and its culture,” says Yong.
Visit Mellower Coffee for more information about their brand.