Kopi Kubo Kollective: Starting the ‘coffee revolution’ in the Philippines

·3 min read
The Kopi Kubo Kollective store in Zambales, Philippines. (Source: Kopi Kubo Kollective/Facebook)
The Kopi Kubo Kollective store in Zambales, Philippines. (Source: Kopi Kubo Kollective/Facebook)

If you’re one of the people who want brewed coffee that’s worth only a few pesos – while helping local farmers – then Kopi Kubo should definitely be on top of your coffee fix list.

Not everyone has the luxury of buying a coffee and other drinks from Starbucks every time they need a coffee fix. In the Philippines, people are more inclined to buy instant coffee, 3-in-1 coffee, and other variations because it’s the most accessible coffee in the country.

Kopi Kubo serves brewed and specialized coffee to drivers, bikers, tourists, and locals at a very affordable price. Their cheapest brewed coffee is only ten pesos–beating local food stall prices of 3-in-1 coffee.

Mike Parayno, the founder of the now-viral Kopi Kubo Kollective, said their mission is to help coffee farmers and the local community through their “coffee revolution.”

“Coffee is really cheap, but the coffee industry is inverted because the guy who really loses out is the coffee farmer,” Parayno said in an interview with Veriad Concept.

He noted that the people behind big coffee corporations make more money than the coffee farmers mainly because of their branding.

One of Kopi Kubo Kollective’s missions, Parayno said, is to support local coffee farmers because most Filipinos consume imported coffee.

“A lot of Filipinos actually think that ‘Kopiko’ is made in the Philippines along with Nescafe and I tell them to look in the back–it’s made in Indonesia and it’s a Swiss derived product,” the Kopi Kubo founder said.

Their second mission is to “discourage people from drinking 3-in-1 coffee because it’s very unhealthy.”

Parayno also highlighted Kopi Kubo’s third goal–which is to create local employment.

“Our main focus is to employ the ‘Aeta’ community, the indigenous people,” Parayno said. "Of course, the locals have to train too to become a barista. The training usually takes only one week while some can become a barista in just three days."

As of April 2022, Kopi Kubo Kollective has established 13 branches across Zambales, Pangasinan, and other neighboring provinces.

While coffee has become their main product, the Kollective also has other products like pineapple and dalandan (citrus) juice. Parayno’s wife also makes chili garlic for their shop.

Their shops also sell vegetables and fruits for cheap–a concept made possible by removing “middlemen” or the people responsible for the exchange of goods between consumers and producers of products. The produce in their shops sells for almost half the market price.

“Part of the problem in provinces why people don’t have money is because the prices of produce and foods are so expensive. So basically, truncate all the middle men, eliminate them, and we go directly to end users,” Parayno noted.

The “coffee revolution” in the Philippines is definitely soaring, from bahay kubo coffee shops to people selling coffee from their bikes, a layman can easily get their share of brewed coffee, or even better, set up their own coffee shop.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom.

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