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Explore The Coffee Roaster Story

As told by Swee Heng, co-founder TCR

The Coffee Roaster (TCR) is founded by my mother and I in 2014, with a mission to deliver positive energy and inspiration to anyone whom we are privileged to serve.

Image by Mike Kenneally

A Leap of Faith

TCR International Plaza

                               TCR's Coffee Bar in International Plaza                             

In early 2014, before I began my university studies, I was faced with a choice: to look for a temp job or to do something I've always dreamt of doing and that is to start my business. So my mother and I decided to pull our resources together and took a leap of faith.


Having a passion for coffee since young, it was natural for us to pursue a business in specialty coffee. Our first outlet opened in International Plaza in Tanjong Pagar. The shop was named The Coffee Roaster, simple and earnest, just like the way we want to serve our coffee. We started with zero experience, in terms of technical knowledge and running a business. So you can imagine how steep the learning curve was at that time!

The reality of working in an F&B business is far from expectations. We put in really hard work (up to 16 hours a day) just to ensure that we could serve our customers the best quality. And all this happened while I was studying! Shuffling between school and work was near mission impossible for me, but I understood that the sacrifice was necessary. We learnt alot about how to deliver the most value to consumers.

AUG 2016

A New Lease (of Life)

FEB 2014


                                               TCR's Cafe in NUS AS8                                                

At the end of our lease in International Plaza, we were left exhausted and we asked if all the hard work was all worth it. Just then, National University of Singapore (NUS) gave us the opportunity to operate the cafe in the newly built AS8 building. Finding the courage within us, we decided to give it one more go, and the rest as they say is history.

In NUS, with the same sincere attitude of service coupled with amazing product quality, within one year we evolved to become one of the highest volume specialty cafés in Singapore, serving more than 400 customers daily during school term. 

Our Coffee Philosophy is to make specialty coffee accessible and affordable. We believe coffee is all about experiences - personal enjoyment, as well as a platform of communication to create valuable bonds with people we love.

Moving Forward

At TCR we are continuous learners, and as we explore further into the world of specialty coffee, things will only get more exciting. But one thing I learnt in this coffee journey is that specialty coffee is mysterious when unacquainted, but mesmerising when familiar.


We see ourselves playing this role of introducing consumers to this mesmerising world of specialty coffee through amazing coffee experiences. 

With this vision to create amazing coffee experiences for our patrons, we have since expanded into coffee workshops. We are a pioneer in large-scale coffee workshops, having hosted Singapore's first 80-pax Hands-on Coffee Workshop with MOE. We also specialise in Corporate Coffee Workshops and small group Latte Art Workshop.

TCR also provides mobile barista services for all occasions, from roadshows to weddings and birthdays.

And the cookies we sold when I was younger? It is now The Baker's Gallery.

-- With love,

Swee Heng

Humble Beginnings

Growing up, our circumstances weren't rosy. During festive seasons like Chinese New Year, my mother would bake cookies and I would go door to door trying to sell the cookie jars to neighbours and friends. I've even had doors slammed in my face!


That was when I grew my resilience and the seeds of F&B were planted.

Join Our Team

If you are inspired by our story, and share our vision of creating amazing coffee experiences, we welcome you to join our growing team! Drop us a message here!

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