Go Pinoy! Former Arabica PH partners launch new Filipino coffee brand

Manila, Philippines – Arabica PH has been through quite a bit in recent weeks – after the Japanese coffee chain’s sudden branch closures on January 31 (as well as social media shutdowns), many customers rightfully panicked. Fortunately, Arabica PH cleared the air on February 2 and said that the contract with their Filipino partners has already expired and they will soon expand nationwide under new management.

But what do Arabica PH’s former partners, who organically contributed to the growth of the Japanese brand in Metro Manila, have in store? Partners and mother-daughter duo Allue and Dr. San San Hortaleza may have moved on from the popular cafe, but their story (and love for coffee) doesn’t end there.

On February 1, Allue announced that it was finally time for them to “build a proudly Filipino brand”, which was a dream they had always had since they introduced Arabica to the Philippines in 2017.

On Thursday, February 10, Angkan Coffee was officially announced to the world: a 100% local coffee brand that would “be ready soon” for customers and newcomers looking for a bold new coffee brand, brewed and “proudly Filipino” to support. .

From bean to infusion: proud to be Pinoy

After working with the successful Japanese coffee franchise for more than four years, Allue knew it was time for her to personally pursue the same concept, but with Filipino beans.

Inspired by her hands-on experience with PH Arabica, a budding new brew-mance blossomed within Allue. Because Arabica is a local Japanese coffee that features different beans from around the world, but still with a “very distinct Japanese feel, given its locally inspired aesthetic” (minimalist and zen), Allue wanted to do the same for Angkan.

“We wanted to create something similar with Angkan, not only blending modern Filipino aesthetics and traditional Filipino hospitality that we are very well known for as a people, but also going a step further and showcasing the locally sourced coffee beans as well as the people involved in their journey from farm to cup,” Allue told Rappler.

Angkan will still serve a wide range of beans and drinks from around the world, but as part of Angkan’s “proudly Filipino” vision, these espresso and non-espresso drinks and pastries will have certain Filipino touches to keep things unique and familiar at the same time.

what you expect

What can new visitors and returning customers expect from Angkan? A warm and welcoming staff, as well as comfortable and inviting spaces, Allue said, as well as a dynamic menu that they “will strive to continuously update on a quarterly basis.” The menu will include “new drinks” that their own baristas will create, in a bid to “highlight how the creativity of our local talent is more than capable of competing on the global stage”.

“Coming in strong, fresh and full of flavor, just how we love our coffee,” Angkan wrote in a teaser post. In another post, the location marked was in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City – perhaps a hint as to where their first branch will open soon?

Angkan will also offer wholesale and/or custom coffee beans for businesses, as well as subscription drop-shipping options for coffee lovers who want Angkan as part of their morning brew at home.

When it comes to service, the Angkan will always come back to what their name means: family and lineage. Angkan wants to showcase the warmth that comes from a sense of family, making sure that warmth is felt in their store.

“The name highlights how a cup of coffee can warm you up, keep you warm, while waking you up and preparing you for what’s to come,” Allue said.

“With its Filipino roots, Angkan showcases Filipino hospitality and our ability to make you feel welcome even if you just met. This helps tie the brand to its Filipino roots, but it also allows us to create a stronger position for Filipino coffee and cafes in the long run,” she added.

From Arabica to Angkan: lessons learned

It may be a complete leap from operating a Japanese brand to building a purely Filipino concept, but this transition will play a big part in Allue’s new venture, she said. . After all, it is the different cultural influences that have helped shape our “unique and colorful history”, she added.

“Influences from many different cultures have become part of who we are as Filipinos and undeniably continue to shape pop culture today,” she added, sharing that there will “definitely be Arabica influences which [they] will embrace openly as part of [their] new business. At Angkan, it’s all about offering global offerings in a “familiar, locally inspired atmosphere.”

It’s always a risk to start something new, but Allue is confident that the lessons she learned from her time at Arabica – and more importantly, the people who brought the coffee to life – will allow Angkan to thrive. to achieve.

“The team behind the Arabica PH brand has been essential to its success. The service they provided, along with the total environment they created, really defined the wonderful experience that customers had when visiting these stores,” Allue said.

“Because of this, I’m so lucky to be able to continue working with these same amazing people to bring Angkan to life.”

The team’s gratitude also extends to the local coffee community who warmly welcomed the Arabica PH in 2017 and continued to do so through 2022. The simple act of building something from the ground up that the customers really appreciated was a feat that was both “very exciting and extremely rewarding”. for Allue. For her, bringing Arabica PH to the country was a “no-brainer”, although meeting “people’s high expectations” was a challenge at first.

“None of this would have been possible without our incredible team, and I am also grateful for the support, guidance and sponsorship of the close-knit Filipino coffee community who welcomed us with open arms,” Allue said.

More than just a café: a project near you

On paper, Allue’s new venture makes sense – aside from his success with Arabica PH, his professional background has been in product innovation and mass distribution within the rapidly changing consumer goods industry ( FMCG). However, work experience isn’t always enough to wake everyone up in the morning, and for Allue it was – and continues to be – her lifelong passion for coffee that keeps her present and motivated, especially during difficult times in life.

“Essentially, coffee is something that kept me focused and something that continues to inspire me in ways that other personal endeavors couldn’t,” she said. As part of her first foray into the coffee business, Allue took numerous courses offered by the Barista & Coffee Academy of Asia (BCAA), where she “not only learned a lot” but also met many people who offered their support. and friendship throughout his career in coffee.

“Also, coming from a family of self-made entrepreneurs like my mother, who created many different brands and products that are household names, inspired me to do the same with Angkan,” Allue said.

New experiences are always scary, but most of the time they are worth it. Allue compares the birth of Angkan to her experience as a first-time mother, when she was currently looking for a babysitter to help her with her baby girl.

“It’s been a difficult process for me so far, given how hard it is to trust someone you barely know with your child, let alone with an ongoing pandemic,” said she declared. But at the same time, she said she could relate very well to the people she interviewed because “in a way, you could say [she] was a babysitter [herself] when it came to Arabica PH” – she had the “huge responsibility” of looking after a brand as she grew, especially since it wasn’t really her “ child” at the start.

“But just like my daughter, Angkan is also my ‘baby’ who I’m super excited to raise, nurture and send out into the world as my own,” Allue added, and with that, we’re looking forward to this. who is coming! – Rappler.com

About Jeffery L. Parker

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