“Coffee isn’t merely a drink; it’s a daily ritual that energizes spirits and awakens  senses. Its tantalizing aroma and robust flavors go beyond mere refreshment, fostering inspiration and camaraderie, uniting individuals over a shared love for its invigorating essence.”

Hello There Coffee’s second location opened Monday at Robinsons Mall Palawan Food Court, offering their signature specialty cold brew coffee and refreshing beverages to mall visitors.

For founders Jeanil Tabor and Raymund Jagmis, this marks an exciting breakthrough since launching the business in 2023 in Barangay San Manuel.

Their journey commenced while working separate shifts at the BPO company Foundever, where they became captivated by vloggers demonstrating coffee-making techniques during the pandemic. In 2022, they decided to embark on their own entrepreneurial venture, setting up a pop-up car near the Total Gas Station in Brgy. San Pedro.

“Sa BPO kasi maraming nagko-coffee. Habang doon ako sa office, yung menu ko dito sa tabi ng computer ko. Pag nag-o-order sila kukunin lang doon sa labas [kay Raymund], gagawin lang namin sa saksayan pag morning. Pagdating naman ng 6pm-10pm yun yung pop up namin,” Jeanil said.

She reminisced about their initial challenges until Hello There Coffee began to gain momentum upon participating in Barakalan, a bazaar featuring pop-up food stalls managed by the Puerto Princesa City DTI’s Negosyo Center.

“Minsan umuulan, minsan wala masyadong customer. May times pa na umulan ng malakas at huminto din agad pero dahil sobrang lakas nabasa kami pati mga gamit kaya umuwi nalang kami.” Then nakita namin sa coliseum yung mga events- Baragatan, Subaraw, kaya nag-decide po kami mag-apply, nagtanong sa Negosyo Center kung ano yung requirements na needed,” Jeanil said. 

“One night sa pop up namin nakakwentuhan namin ang owner ng Total Gas at doon minotivate nya kami na magpursige sa business at magkaroon ng license and permits para nadin maka apply kami sa Negosyo Center at Barakalan. “ Raymund said.

After establishing their license and permits, Jeanil and Raymund joined Barakalan. Through their association with other vendors, they learned that Robinsons Mall Palawan was seeking a coffee kiosk for their food court.

Hello There Coffee specializes in cold drinks and is notably the only pop-up coffee shop in Puerto Princesa City that offers cold brew coffee to-go.

“Since nag-start kami sa bazaar, di namin kakayanin na magamit ang [coffee] machine. Although meron kaming machine, pero limitado lang ang wattage sa bazaar ayon nadin sa policy ng event,” she said.

Jeanil drew inspiration from another coffee enthusiast and vlogger, the Thai barista Riza Sripetchvandee. 

Riza’s YouTube channel, Chao Coffee and Tea, featured tutorials on crafting cold brew beverages.

“Sa ngayon mas focus kami sa cold brew procedure ng coffee namin. Less acidic at healthier siya, lalo na may kick ang coffee kasi ang ginagamit namin ay robusta beans,” Jeanil said.

She elaborated on the intricacies of cold brew coffee, noting its extended brewing time of 12-24 hours due to the beans’ soaking process. 

Emphasizing the importance of grinding the beans immediately before soaking to maintain their aroma, she said that achieving a satisfactory batch required two rounds of filtration. 

Despite the meticulous process, the resulting quantity was perfectly suited for their pop-up stall’s demands.

Jeanil recalled the hectic schedule of their best selling days, which were during the Paskuhan in Balayong Park. Their small staff of four were all on deck since 2 p.m.-11 p.m. that day, catering food and drinks to those passersby in the park.

As customers repeatedly returned, the sales kept climbing. The couple formally committed to Hello There Coffee in 2023, as Raymund resigned in January and Jeanil in March to completely focus on their growing business.

Hello There Coffee was a carefully-curated business, as most of it was inspired by what the couple viewed online, including the “But First, Coffee” shop.

“Nagba-browse kami, nakita namin yung ‘But first, coffee.’ Nai-nspire kami sa kaniya kasi nag-start din po siya as pop up. Marketing ata siya, tapos nung nagvivideo siya palagi siyang bumabati ng ‘hi,’ ‘hello there.’ Nagustuhan ko yun, light siya, parang sakto sa vibe ng coffee na gusto namin,” Jeanil remarked.

The kiosk colors in Robinsons Malls were white and warm brown, with chairs they sourced from an online shop. They hired an architect, Coleen Austria, to design the kiosk, with materials fabricated by Procab with Proboard Solutions. Hello There Coffee’s logo was made by CJ Graphx.

When asked about what makes their coffee different from other vendors, Jeanil & Raymund pointed to their specialty and promotion of healthier cold drinks.

“Ang pagkakaiba namin, nakafocus kami sa cold brew since mas healthier siya dahil less acidic mas marami ang pwede uminom ng coffee namin especially sa mga mataas ang acidity level pero gusto padin mag kape. At may beans kami na quality, kaya pag nagpepresyo po ako ng mura sa coffee, dahil gusto namin maexperience ng customer na pagbumili sya sa presyong kanyang binayad maramdaman nya na super worth it ang binili nyang kape nandoon yung delight nila. Yun ang goal nmin bilang bilang isang coffee business. Mas gusto namin makita sa mukha ng customer yung saya pag bumibili ng coffee namin. Doon po kami namomotivate araw-araw na mag negosyo para sa kanila.”

Jeanil said Hello There Coffee primarily caters to students as they are their regular patrons. Thus, they decided to keep the prices to a student budget.

When asked whether the staff might handle the management of an additional stall, Jeanil said that the mall kiosk was manageable, compared to the different challenge of their bazaar origins.

“Compared sa bazaars, na iyon pangmalakasan, ito kaya ng shifting sa mall kasi palagpas-lagpas lang,” she said, likening it to the time that Hello There Coffee was previously hired as a catering service for Smart Communications, handing out free coffee to customers during a work event.

The secret to a growing business, revealed Jeanil, was perseverance and consistency. “Kapag di na consistent ngayon, maggiging complacent ka sa business mo. Mahirap yun, lalo na sa marketing so kailangan may marketing kayo sa kabataan, may bagong pakulo lagi. Dapat tuloy-tuloy ang improvement ng Negosyo.”