Monday, April 23, 2012

Bo’s Coffee: Just Roasted Coffee

Bo's Coffee
Bo's Coffee
Steve Benitez did something in 1996 that very few entrepreneurs would dream of doing: he decided to start a business that involved selling coffee to a market that shuddered at the idea of paying for a drink they could brew at home. He called it Bo's Coffee.

Borne out of his passion to share his coffee experiences from the US and Europe to Filipinos, he opened the first branch of Bo's Coffee in June 28, 1996 in Ayala Center Cebu.

"Coffee was not a lifestyle yet, it was just a product. There were not a lot of coffee shops, and there were no foreign brands in the market," said Steve Benitez, Founder and CEO of Bo's Coffee.

The first Bo’s Coffee in Cebu was just a kiosk with six tables—a very, very small operation...Back then, people saw coffee as just a product that they can get for free in their homes, and they get it so cheaply at restaurants. So when we priced our coffee at specialty coffee prices, it [met] some resistance.” Benitez recalls.

After facing initial setbacks, Benitez’s commitment to providing world-class coffee experience for the Filipino community enabled the company to grow and flourish, and eventually, the community grew to love the brand.

The Bo’s Difference

I studied the coffee business for two years before starting the company,” Benitez narrates. “In one of the exhibitions I attended in New Orleans, there was a booth by an expert coffee roaster: an American-Italian named Bo. I visited a lot of roasters, but he made an impact on me because he was very, very serious about his coffee. I remember him telling me that he didn’t want to become so big because he wanted to ensure quality. When it was time to put a name into the coffee shop, I felt that he was one of those who influenced me greatly. He stood for quality and passion—that’s why I named it Bo’s Coffee.

The coffee shop’s tag line, “Just Roasted,” is a testament to Bo’s legacy. Benitez explains, “A big factor in maintaining the quality of coffee is really the freshness of your beans. To guarantee the peak level of freshness in the cup that you sip, we make sure that the beans are served soon after roasting. You can have a really good coffee bean, but if it’s been sitting on your counter for over three months, it’s far inferior than freshly-roasted coffee even if it’s not yet expired.” 
While it’s true that coffee beans expire around six months after roasting, Bo’s Coffee serves coffee within a month after the roasting date.

Kenneth Cobonpue
Kenneth Cobonpue
Bo’s Coffee accomplishes just-roasted freshness by primarily sourcing its coffee from Batangas, Cavite and the Cordilleras, thus eliminating the time it takes to import beans from abroad. Bo’s Coffee also makes sure that it orders beans only as needed so that stocks are kept fresh. Bo's commissary are both in Manila and in Cebu.

The store’s ambiance is part of the enjoyment as well. The homey interiors of Bo’s Coffee stores combine homegrown and world-class in Western influences mingled with Filipino art, including lamps designed by the internationally-acclaimed Filipino designer, Kenneth Cobonpue.

Bo’s Coffee Today

On its 16th year, it now has 58 stores nationwide.The outlets are located in Metro Manila, Tagaytay, Laguna, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Bohol, Dumaguete, Calbayog, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga.
We’re definitely excited about our plans for expansion, and I’m proud of what we have achieved in the past years,” Benitez says. “I’d also like to thank the Bo’s Coffee community for being a part of the company’s growth.
Have you tried Bo's Coffee?

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