The good cup coffee company: Nurturing café culture through coffee classes
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — With the increasing influence of the "coffee culture" in Cebu, the coffee business in general has eventually become a big business, thanks to the Cebuanos driving the relatively growing demand for coffee.

Slowly, the city has seen the mushrooming of coffee shops in almost every corner: in malls, business centers, workplaces, terminals, schools and even in neighborhood.

While global branded coffee shops have since penetrated the Cebu market, a number of homegrown enterprises have also evolved to take in a fair share of the expanding coffee industry.

But as in any business, when competition rises, it usually becomes a challenge to capture the increasingly competitive market.

This was how Cebu City-based The Good Cup Coffee Company (TGCC) saw the market but it came into being to bring the global appreciation of coffee into Cebu.

The desire to bring in a balance on the coffee ecosystem from farm to cup to include providing proper education and even scholarship is the key motivational factor of the three budding entrepreneurs behind the enterprise.

The business was founded by Bong Abela, Gio Visitacion and John Michael Hermoso, who share the same passion for coffee.

Visitacion, 24, shared that it was in 2011 when Abela came up with a coffee business plan and saw the possibilities in starting one.

As part of his journey as a business consultant, he saw the need to establish a good training ground and alignment of coffee machines and good barista.

He at first wanted to make it part of his consultancy services. Along the way he met Visitacion, who was starting his career on entrepreneurship, showed the business plan and invited him to be part of the vision.

Seeing Visitacion's passion and desire, and the increasing demand of coffee appreciation, the partnership was formed.

To get fully equipped, not only to make it part of the consultancy services, Gio went on further studies and certification not only in the Philippines but in Singapore. The quest for growth expanded, thus formally creating The Good Cup and inviting individuals like John Michael Hermoso to run the business.

Apart from being a coffee shop, TGCC has set up its own Barista Academy that has three espresso machines that can accommodate coffee trainings for individuals, existing baristas and people who wants to open a café.

Bong handles the business' strategic operations and services, while Visitacion handles the wholesale distribution and Hermoso handles the quality assurance of the operations.

TF: What was the motivation/concept behind TGCC?

Visitacion: The company aims to highlight the hard work of the people behind the coffee supply chain (the farmer, the roaster, and the barista) by translating it into an enjoyable and valuable experience to the consumers and to our clients through offering them excellent and engaging customer service as well as a good quality product.

TF: There seems to be a stiff competition in coffee business in Cebu? Why did you decide to venture into this?

Visitacion: Globally, 1.9 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily and the Philippines is among the top 5 coffee consuming countries in Asia. Next to oil, which is the number 1 most traded commodity, is coffee.

Similarly in Cebu, the more that there is a need to create, educate and offer and serve quality coffee to the market.

TF: Being new in the business, how do you intend to grow and survive in an industry that's constantly seeing new players?

Visitacion: We don't want to underpromise or overpromise. We would like to consistently stick to the big picture with a never-ending quest of providing a good cup by sourcing good quality coffee, roasting as best as we can, and preparing the coffee as excellent and as engaging as we can to connect to the consumers.

TF: How lucrative is the coffee business in Cebu? What are the factors driving the demand?

Visitacion: The coffee business in Cebu is growing and there is an increasing demand and appreciation. Mindset and preference to find good coffee is the driving force.

TF: How are you trying to separate your shop from among other existing coffee stores?

Visitacion: We studied and thought of how we can educate the consumers about how the coffee ecosystem works from sourcing the right quality of green coffee beans to roasting it as best as we can and preparing it excellently and ensuring that it is an enjoyable and valuable experience for our customers.

TF: Challenges so far from the time you first conceptualized the business up to now that you're already operational? And how are you dealing with it?

Visitacion: The challenges are actually the things that we don't have a direct and indirect control of like delays of the importation, delays of the delivery for some machines and also the delay of the construction. We're experiencing that there is a challenge in sourcing out quality coffee beans as to our standards since there are still few farms who are more particular about the quality of the coffee that they produce.

A positive challenge is that there is an increasing number of demand and adaptability of the market which means cafes and individuals are getting more and more particular about their coffee consumption and preference.

TF: Future plans for the business? Additional branches in the future?

Visitacion: We plan to structure and enhance our back-end office and production area first as this will prepare us to expand our retail services by opening different branches of our Café in the near future. Part of our future plan is also to invest and focus on providing better wholesale partnership experience to our growing number of clients by investing into better logistics and delivery methods. (FREEMAN)

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