I didn't expect to go viral, says man who sells lattes from his Pasir Ris HDB flat window

I didn't expect to go viral, says man who sells lattes from his Pasir Ris HDB flat window
PHOTO: Instagram/Ground_floor_coffee

If you've scrolled through TikTok lately, there's every chance you've watched videos of people raving over Ground Floor Coffee.

Another coffee joint opens in Singapore. Big whoop, right?

Well, Ground Floor Coffee is a tad bit different as it's situated at the ground floor unit of a Pasir Ris HDB flat. The takeaway coffee business is the brainchild of freelance photographer Adhwa Hasif.

The self-taught barista has found a way to turn his home (or more accurately, his home window) into a coffee pickup station. 

In a chat with AsiaOne, Hasif speaks about how this opportunity to start a home-based business came completely by chance.

HDB ground floor goes artisanal

As a self-proclaimed coffee lover, Hasif loves exploring cafes to try different variations of coffee. His passion for coffee convinced him to purchase an AeroPress coffee maker to experiment with at home.

"I started to let my friends and my family try and eventually, every time they come to my house, they will request specific flavours that I did," the 31-year-old shares.

What started as a treat for his family slowly turned into an idea for a potential business.

The eureka moment happened when Hasif and his wife noticed people using the loading bay located behind his home as a space to meet and hang out with friends.

He tells AsiaOne that youngsters would often "park their cars and open their foldable chairs to chill".

"They'd bring green tea bottles with keropok (crackers) so I told my wife if I open my window to sell them my coffee, do you think they'll try?"

Hasif's wife simply laughed it off back then. 

But just a month shy of its first day of operation, Ground Floor Coffee has gone viral and sells out regularly.

"Sometimes, we have to stop earlier because we don't have enough cups or milk, so on average about 40 to 50 cups [a day]," he tells AsiaOne.

Hasif laughs as he mentions how he may now need a bigger refrigerator to store all the milk required to run Ground Floor Coffee.

Netizens (and neighbours) in love with the business


Hasif opens up about how the reaction online has taken him by surprise.

"I honestly didn't expect anything. I didn't plan to make this as a business actually!"

Before social media amplified Ground Floor Coffee to a different stratosphere, Hasif's home-based business was a bit of a secret coffee spot for Pasir Ris residents, especially those living around his block at Pasir Ris Street 21.

"For those staying around here, it's something different. To see a house opening up its windows to serve coffee is quite interesting," he suggests.

It seems like word gets around pretty quick in Pasir Ris as Hasif speaks about how some would simply pop by to have a look after noticing people walking away from his home with coffee in hand.

As the business received more traction on TikTok, Hasif tells AsiaOne about the slight shift in his customer demographic with more "youngsters coming with their families".

Ground Floor Coffee's ability to offer customers a unique experience is likely one of the drivers of their early success.

"When dropping by to collect their order, they get to interact with the business owner. It makes us a bit different, I think."

At the time of writing, Ground Floor Coffee's Instagram page has garnered over 2,300 followers and, in the photos, you can see his photography skills at play too.

So far, customers have been loving the lavender latte ($6), which also happens to be Hasif's coffee of choice. A snack in the form of kek gula hangus (caramelised cake) is also available and it goes for $2.50 a pop. 

He's a little less passionate about local coffee it seems — when asked about his favourite order of kopi, a sheepish smile breaks through as he politely apologises and shakes his head.

Does this count as a home-based business?

This is a question that's been posed to Hasif multiple times and he took to Instagram Stories on Thursday (July 14) to address it.

The post mentioned how this is not simply "some dude doing things for fun".

While there hasn't been pushback from his neighbours, Hasif is aware that Ground Floor Coffee has ruffled a few feathers, with some netizens complaining about the price and casting doubts on the legality of the business.

"Firstly, they misunderstood the concept. So, a lot of people labelled us as a cafe-style home-based business. We're not anywhere near a cafe. We're just a window for you to pick up a drink," he explains.

Ground Floor Coffee is registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and he also holds a food hygiene certificate, Hasif adds. Although the certificate is not compulsory, he decided to apply for it in order to make his customers feel safer.

On top of that, Hasif tells AsiaOne that a new online ordering system is in the works. 

"No more hanging of menu because the future is all digital."

This means that customers can order for pickup or delivery at their preferred time. 

Before you scoot down to Pasir Ris to grab a coffee, do note that orders will only be taken through direct messages on Instagram for now.

Ground Floor Coffee also does not have set opening hours so check their Instagram Stories regularly if you're craving a caffeine fix.

Address: 214 Pasir Ris Street 21 


ALSO READ: From humble home-based business to restaurant: Local burger specialist NBCB opens first outlet at Orchard Central


This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.