Every week, ILQ features a different startup in our ‘Startup of the Week' segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all across a variety of industries in Doha—from fashion and beauty to food and dining, health, education, technology, and more!
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This week, we're featuring Kabayan Brewers - a new specialty coffee shop in Doha! But they're not just any coffee shop because they offer homegrown Philippine coffee from bean to cup. At Kabayan Brewers, you can choose from their selection of single-origin coffee beans or blends and have it ground as per your preferred method of brewing or you can just sit back and let their baristas surprise you. For those who know their specialty coffee, you'll be glad to know that Kabayan Brewers offer V60, Chemex, Aeropress, Kalita, and Cold Drip.
To pair with their coffee, you can also choose from an array of cakes and pastries. Want to try something else other than coffee? There's also a selection of tea and chocolate drinks, both hot and cold.
Want to know more about Kabayan Brewers? We interviewed one of its founders to learn more about their journey and what KB has to offer. Read on!
Mr. Brandon Wabe, one of the co-founders, has been in the coffee industry since 2010, starting as a barista in the Philippines. He shared that Kabayan Brewers was born out of their passion for coffee. "I and the others usually have the best coffee talks and from one of these talks, we discussed how our beans from the Philippines can actually be at par with the recognized coffee beans Internationally if given the chance. In these conversations, we all shared the same sentiment in helping the coffee farmers in the Philippines, and even though we know it will be difficult, we started this endeavor to make Philippine coffee beans be known as one of the great-tasting coffee beans and one day be included in that Coffee Belt.
Kabayan Brewers was started by the DWC trio: Alain Hussien Dimaporo, Brandon Wabe, and Dan Christian Caneo. Then completely pillared by Jan Cara Que Santillan and Bernadette Abrantes.
Why is the coffee shop named Kabayan Brewers you ask? Kabayan is the Filipino word for fellow countrymen, a term often used by Pinoy OFWs to refer to each other while abroad. "Kabayan Brewers literally means Filipino Brewers but if you would go deeper with the meaning of Kabayan it could also mean comrade. So it means anyone can be a Kabayan Brewer. A comrade in brewing coffee sharing that love and passion for coffee", shared Mr. Wabe.
Championing Philippine-grown coffee beans, Kabayan Brewers use coffee beans from a Filipino roasting company called Jack and the First Crack which shares their goal of farmers in their home country. The coffee roaster offers a wide array of coffee origins from different parts of the country.
When asked about his preferred blends or origins, Mr. Wabe picked Benguet (Nancy Benguet and Mudaan de Pamilja Benguet) and Davao (Attok Kape Davao) for single-origin coffee because according to him, these beans can compete with the international beans that you can identify. These beans are from high-elevation areas which play an important key to a high-quality bean product. As for the blend, he chose Benguet and Cavite because the soil and temperature of these areas result in a perfect cup of espresso.
We also asked him, "If you were a customer in your own cafe, what would you order from the menu?"
At Kabayan Brewers, we ask our customers their background in coffee drinking. For someone who likes it light yet has that particular taste in coffee, I would order the v60 specialty coffee. While for someone like me I would go for the classics. You could never go wrong with a cup of cortado or espresso. If it’s a day of mix it up, it would be our flavored coffee in any of our Lola Yolly’s hot or cold. Actually, there isn’t a particular drink, it would always depend upon the drinker’s mood on that day. And pair it with our homemade cakes. You can never go wrong.
You don't see a lot of coffee shops in Qatar offering Coffee Cupping (or Coffee Tasting). Before the pandemic restrictions were imposed, Kabayan Brewers offers cupping sessions weekly to better educate people not just on coffee but especially Philippine coffee.
Cupping Sessions are actually an eye-opener who wants to learn more about coffee. It’s an experience that would pick your curiosity during this session it serves as an awareness that coffee is definitely an art. From how you Smell The aroma of coffee beans itself is a unique experience. With and without water. How to drink, in which coffee would taste diffident on how you sip it, temperature and how it was brewed. Not only will they be able to experience how to brew their own coffee but Kabayan Brewers would make sure that every cup is conveyed from the simplest component: soil, to plant, to beans, to how it was roasted, how it was, and who brewed the coffee right to the heart of every drinker.
When asked what advice he would give to someone who is dreaming of opening their own small business, Mr. Wabe said:
Any business big or small would always be difficult at first. There will be hurdles along the way especially if it’s your first time. Learn about it and always go back as to why you wanted to open a business. Because I believe you should have that motivation and drive and the perseverance and strong support system. As long as you have these, the journey will be worthwhile.
To all our Kabayans- our comrade, let’s experience this journey together. Experience the diversity of the Philippines as every cup takes you there. From Philippine Farms to Qatar cup. Coffee is an art, it’s math, it’s science and most importantly it is a memory shared, or a memory to take you back from the good old days. And definitely a doorway to possibilities.
Kabayan Brewers is set to fulfill their mission and vision - to take pride in their Filipino heritage and build a strong community that embraces and embodies the diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, belief, and generation. They also aim to bring Filipino pride and heritage across all nations by serving specialty coffee with great love, passion, and hospitality. To find out what's next and what KB is currently offering, follow them in their social media channels to be updated!
Cover image credit: Kabayan Brewers Specialty Coffee
Have you tried Philippine specialty coffee? Have you tried Kabayan Brewers in Qatar? Let us know in the comments!
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