Liberty Coffee – Sourcing for Perfection
Words by Hoe Ziqian

Celebrating International Coffee Day with Liberty Coffee

Liberty Coffee is an artisan roaster for cafes, offices, and home brewers since 2010. It is renowned for its extensive sourcing network, which allows it to bring in a wide and diverse spectrum of products, ranging from single origins for slow brews to extract their fine nuances, to coffees prized for the balance they bring to espresso blends.

The journey of Liberty Coffee began when ex-Singapore Airlines pilot, Terence Tay fell in love with coffee on his travels more than 20 years ago. He has since hung up his wings and set up Liberty Coffee to fulfil the singular mission of sourcing the best varietals and growers globally and making them available back home.

Liberty Coffee sources directly from farms in coffee growing regions and makes them available to Singaporeans back home. (Image courtesy of Liberty Coffee)

The day to day running of the business is entrusted to Diann Lee these days. As a banker, biker and roaster, this young fitness fanatic brings the same drive and tenacity to ensure that Liberty Coffee remains a leading supplier of specialty coffee among Singapore coffee roasters. She gains immense satisfaction when she sees Liberty’s first-in-class coffees playing an excellent supporting role in all manner of food and beverage establishments. Together with Terence, she leads a small team which covers every step of the specialty coffee process, from seed to cup.

Diann and Terence cupping roast samples to ensure that customers get only the highest quality. (Image courtesy of Liberty Coffee)

Liberty Coffee has been the choice supplier of Patisserie G right from the beginning because of the flavour profile and quality of their coffee beans, as well as its dedication to working closely with its partners. Patisserie G was founded in 2012 by Gwen Lim. The brand pays homage to artisanal techniques, simplicity, and the love of quality ingredients. It is perhaps through this common vision and the love of the raw ingredient that has seen the relationship between Patisserie G and Liberty Coffee grow from strength to strength.

 

Leveraging its Global Sourcing Network

The sourcing network of Liberty Coffee reaches all corners of the globe, from the Africas to South America and Asia. The team has visited countries such as Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Brazil, Colombia, India, Papua New Guinea and even Indonesia at our own back yard in its quest to hunt down the best coffees available on Earth.

Terence cupping coffee at a lab in Burundi to sniff out the right profiles (Image courtesy of Liberty Coffee)

Not satisfied with just pure sourcing at different origins, Liberty Coffee has also made a bold move to venture further up the coffee value chain by investing in its own rare varietals plots on the El Fénix farm in Quinto, Colombia. By controlling the sourcing right at the start of the coffee chain, the team is now able to ensure an ongoing steady supply of specialty coffee every season.

With such a wide sourcing network, it is inevitable that cultural differences at each origin will always prove challenging. However, Liberty Coffee’s team members know a thing or two about cultural differences. Proudly based in Singapore, the country’s multicultural roots have taught the team how to navigate the choppy waters of international parley.

From a government funding perspective, e2i has always been there every step of the way for Liberty Coffee, be it lowering the barriers to invest in more manpower or providing training for eligible team members. Additionally, e2i has also pointed the team to other schemes which allow for the offsetting of equipment costs. Operating in a business where the operating costs are always high, the financial support allows Liberty Coffee to maximise its limited resources more wisely.

 

Staying Ahead of the Curve

The global B2B supply chain is expected to evolve in the coming years and Liberty Coffee has a clear direction on how it intends to stay at the forefront of this evolution.

Due to the advent of technology which breaks down the traditional barriers to communication, the ongoing disintermediation between suppliers and customers in all industries is expected to intensify.

To emerge from this evolution unscathed, Liberty Coffee feels that it is critical to demonstrate expertise and a deep understanding of outcomes represented by the many variables at every level of the coffee chain, specifically regarding types of equipment used in processing, roasting and brewing. This is exactly the reason why the team continues to invest in top drawer roasting equipment and applying their innate understanding of engineering, airflow, and the control of temperature to achieve optimal results.

Advancements in processing methods are also expected to have an impact on the types of specialty coffee becoming available. As an example, methods of coffee cherry fermentation such as carbonic maceration or adding fresh fruit to the fermentation vats, are offering exciting possibilities. It is interesting to see how some of these possibilities evolve and eventually develop into something of viable commercial value.

Liberty Coffee intends to continue its close working relationship with each growing partner at the farm level to discuss different growing and processing methodologies, always decided against a backdrop of customer demands and trends. The ability to stay ahead of such shifts in consumer preferences will allow it to constantly deliver the highest quality coffee for even the most discerning palate.

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