TCE 1.0 (pre covid)

an idea in prison

Sometime in 2016, and at his lowest moments, our Founder was incarcerated for drug offenses. A crisis that led him to a fateful meeting. In this unique opportunity, he met new friends and learned about their life and their challenges.
Together with Hillary, his prison officer, they conceived and planted the foundations of TCE. The basic idea; " that anyone leaving prison should be given an opportunity to restart."
This provision of job is only but one part of it. It will not work on its own, but incorporating a mindset adjusting programme, it might just be the key that they needed.


1st cafe in tanjong

After a year incarceration & a year preparing, our first cafe started in Tanjong Pagar MRT Mall. We made every attempt to do our best in every area that serve in.
We learnt that in business, not all hard work will be rewarded. Celebrations was short lived because we were not prepared for what is to come. Product failures, Funds shortage, Staff inconsistencies. Matthew confessed : "As a founder, I do not know coffee enough to transform our business."

Hopelessness hangs over our head daily and collapse is but just a day away. We pressed on not knowing what will happen. We pressed on only because we need to, for the brothers by our side.

The general consensus is for us to give up, but in our hearts, we felt God's invisible hands guiding us.


Singapore National barista competition

With little to lose, Matthew pushed his limits and knowledge in coffee. Against all advice and odds, he breath only caffeine. He went on a stint to be an apprentice learning the basics of being a barista from the experts. He learnt from those that extended a hand specifically;
Dee Sherwin from TCE,
Hidayat of Singapore Coffee,
Rashid of Upside Down Coffee
Darren of Smitten Coffee,
Terrence Tan of TAD Coffee &
Shah of Barista In Boots.
Matt even took up courses from Bettr Barista.

Moving along this path, SNBC was a bridge he eventually have to cross.
He came in 11th that year.

Tan tock seng hospital

Concurrently, after 9 months of pitching in an open tender for a favorable location, TCE won the space in TTSH; a place where the estimated  revenues will be turning the tide for us. It did and following the upturn, we pursue and secured another 2 cafe locations.

part 2 | Covid