FHA Insider is Food&HotelAsia’s digital content hub.
Gain industry insights, hear from thought leaders and join our community in discovering the latest foodservice, hospitality and F&B trends in the global marketplace.

At The Table With: Cadence Sim

10 June 2019



Hey Cadence, what have you been up to lately? 

I’m managing my coffee shop, conducting coffee trainings locally and abroad, as well as competitions judging every now and then. 

You credit the mature coffee scene in the United States during your tertiary education years as one of the reasons you pursued a career in it. Where do you think the Asian coffee scene stands now, in comparison? 

The Asian coffee scene has definitely bloomed over the years, and have become one of the most matured markets now. If we just look around us, we know have world coffee champions of various categories from all over Asia. 

In terms of coffee origins, regions such as Yunnan, Myammar, Chiang Mai, Phillipines and Laos are producing interesting and quality profiles. 

As for specialty coffee appreciation, Asians barista and shop owners are moving ahead of the game as well with many new ideas and new store experience.  At the same time, consumers are also becoming more open minded to learn and sample coffees from different origins and processing. 

What impacts do you think climate change has on the coffee industry, and what does it mean for the future generation of baristas?

Climate change will affect both the quality and quantity of coffees as some growing areas become unusable due to rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfalls. Too much rain could interfere with harvesting; too little can result in substandard fruit.

There’s also a threat of fungal disease that just loves the new warmer conditions and higher humidity infesting coffee plants. 

Premium beans may become harder to find and genetic library may shrink in the future. Some choices and varieties may disappear, where future baristas might not have a chance to taste it. 

Negative impact aside, future generation baristas are expected to take up a greater role in going green and in mitigating climate change. Besides coffee knowledge, baristas may be expected to be knowledgeable in implementing energy conserving methods for their equipment, or to choose energy-efficient equipment. They may be expected to engage in conversations with their roasters and community to minimize resource use, such as encouraging the use of reusable cups or eco-friendly packings.  


Sustainability – what does this mean to you as a barista and café owner, and what do you think it means in the world of coffee? 

It means trying my best to do my part to juggle the three dimensions of people, planet and profit. As a trainer, it means that I need to educate my students about sustainability at the production level, be it green coffee, roasting, or making coffees behind the bar. As a café owner, I’m trying to pay my baristas better to ensure that this is a sustainable career for them. As a barista, I purchase a big bulk of my coffee sourced from and processed in family farms located in Gayo Highlands, Indonesia. At the individual level, it may not look like significant contribution, but I believe in being mindful and to take every small step we can to mitigate this issue of sustainability that affects all of us. 

At the world level, we currently have two organization actively promoting the awareness of sustainability: Sustainable Coffee Institute (SCI) and Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). I strongly believe that education can help convey the message of sustainability affecting the coffee value chain today and in the future. 

Considering that coffee is by nature, a beverage that is at its best when you don’t do too much to it, what are your thoughts on the rise of ready-to-drink coffee trend, favoured by the younger generation? Eg: coffee enhanced with CBD or butter (bulletproof) that are marketed to have more health benefits.

Although I’m a specialty coffee purveyor, I also believe that a good cup of coffee is a cup that one enjoys.  I guess I’m fairly neutral with how one drinks his or her cup of joe, be it adding sugar, cream or coconut oil. As long as they are coffee drinkers, I believe there will be opportunities where they will be exposed to specialty coffee, and hence, in the matter of time, appreciates the flavours and profiles truest to the respective coffee origins and processing. 

What do you think are the next big trends in coffee? 

Sustainability of course, sits on the top list. However, sustainability does not stops only at the production level, but also about support and growth for the community as a whole. We see more exchange of knowledge throughout the supply chains as the coffee community helps one another to adapt, improve and thrive. 

Milk alternatives is also becoming trendy. Aside from the typical soy option, we also have oat milk and macadamia milk to not only suit the dietary lifestyle of consumers, but they are actually pretty tasty and do complement with some coffees.  

What are some things you’ll be looking out for at FHA’s Barista Super Duo Challenge? 

Ensuring my team of judges are quick, fair and objective through the intense two-days of judging. During the competition in 2018, we had only a day with one team of judges to cover about 16 teams of competitors. This year, we want to make our organizing and judging team stronger to make this competition fun and meaningful, so that it can grow bigger and reach a bigger audience over time. 

Finally, describe your perfect cup of coffee. 

A naturally sweet cup of brewed coffee, regardless of origins or roasters.