Elevator Pitch: Filipino Couple Paul and Jen, Founders of Beanstro Coffee
by: The Beat Asia
August 14, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic witnessed a significant change in how people consumed coffee. Due to lockdowns and disruptions in supply chains, people turned to making their coffee in the comforts of their homes, which was evident during the dalgona coffee phenomenon.
According to a 2021 report by the National Coffee Association USA, about 85% of coffee drinkers had at least one cup of coffee at home, and on average, each person had at least two cups every day starting in January 2020.
As restrictions began to ease and businesses started to open in 2022, a wave of entrepreneurs took the opportunity to welcome the “new normal” by launching their coffee shops. This brings us to the story of Paul and Jen, the Filipino couple behind the TikTok-viral Beanstro Coffee. Dubbed the “first street coffee stall in Binondo,” Beanstro Coffee aims to meet the demands of students and young professionals in Metro Manila who are searching for wallet-friendly options.
In an exclusive interview with The Beat Asia, Paul and Jen talk about their commitment to supporting Filipino farmers, the humble beginnings of Beanstro Coffee, and their go-to coffee drinks.
For those who don’t know, please tell us a little more about you. What kept you occupied prior to Beanstro?
Prior to Beanstro, we both had our corporate jobs. I (Paul) worked as a marketing assistant before while Jen worked in a bank as a finance assistant.
What drove you to create Beanstro?
What really drove us to create Beanstro was when we went to Baguio and got to learn more about the farmers there. We have this advocacy of helping our Filipino community.
Where do you source your beans?
We locally source our beans from Baguio, Benguet.
What were the challenges in putting up Beanstro and how did you overcome those?
The most challenging thing we faced with Beanstro was when we were still starting. We built Beanstro from scratch, like the branding, drinks on our menu, etc. It was a challenge because we’re only a two-man team. We overcame everything by just taking risks and believing in our brand, and our products. Also, it is a challenge to operate even in a coffee stall, especially during rush hour, accommodating long lines. What drives us forward is our motivation to make our customers happy while also helping other street vendors around us.
There is cut-throat competition in the coffee shop business today. How do you differentiate Beanstro from its rivals?
First, the community we built. Since we are the first street coffee stall in Binondo, we can accommodate people who just want to order an on-the-go coffee and explore the town. Also, with our advocacy to help the Filipino community, we are the first coffee brand to ‘collaborate’ or support other street vendors such as sorbetes carts, taho, lemonade stalls, buko, etc., which is a very local and unique way to experience your coffee.
Who have been your biggest inspirations and mentors in your journey as an entrepreneur?
Our biggest inspirations in our journey are God, our family, and our friends. Without them, this will not be possible. Also, the customers always inspire us to stay consistent and grow our business. Hearing and seeing their genuine reactions to our coffee drinks make us proud and confident that we can market our coffee business even more competitively.
What are the three things an aspiring entrepreneur should know before starting their business?
- It takes a really long time to see progress in your business, so be patient and focus on improving your service or product as much as you can.
- Taking risks is okay. You won’t know it unless you give it a shot.
- Believe in your brand and your products.
What are your goals for Beanstro? What do you want it to be in the next five to 10 years?
We aim to acquire a coffee truck so we can operate every day and expand Beanstro in the next five-10 years. We also plan to enter the franchising industry and have a coffee shop of our own.
Lastly, what’s your favorite coffee drink?
My (Paul) favorite coffee drink is Cacao Coffee while Jen’s favorite is Spanish Latte.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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