Philippine Brewers Cup 2020 champion, and The Good Cup Coffee Company president Gio Visitacion shares how they grew their customer base and went global in the middle of a pandemic.

Less than five years ago, Gio Visitacion had a completely different life. “Before The Good Cup, it was all about music,” he begins. His passion for DJing allowed him to travel all over the country to provide musical entertainment for parties, event launches, clubs, and festivals. He also had a small trading business for school supplies which he did alongside the family business where he acted as marketing head.

Today, he is the president of The Good Cup Coffee Company, probably the fastest-growing coffee roaster in Cebu—if not the entire Philippines—and known amongst coffee aficionados for their wide selection of premium imported and local coffee beans. Not bad for someone who only a few years ago saw the beverage as “an instant drink that I wasn’t particularly drawn to.” It was in 2017 when Gio walked into specialty shop Yardstick Coffee in Legazpi Village and had his first sip of their brew when he realised he found his new favourite drink. From then on, Gio admits, he “became obsessed.”

The Good Cup Coffee Company was initially a brick-and-mortar cafe, coffee academy, and a roaster supplying to other local food establishments. Since then, they have developed a following in Cebu, but really made it to the mainstream when the pandemic hit, forcing them to switch their business model. To be able to continue offering their beans, they shifted to online selling to cater to a new category of coffee lovers who were left with not much choice but to start brewing their own coffee at home.

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“Surprisingly,” Gio observes, “this helped us serve our products to a growing global customer base.” They focused on improving their product line by ensuring its quality and diversity. By forging good relationships with coffee farmers and valuable green bean buyers, The Good Cup is able to work with them to choose beans that best represent their country of origin. They are also perceptive to the needs and wants of their customers. “We aim to have a wide selection of beans to cater to each person’s personal preference,” Gio explains,  “and have a representation of the wide number of varieties in the market— from coffees that are daily drivers and is budget-friendly, to coffees from auctioned lots and award-winning farms for customers  looking for the most exclusive coffees.”

What sets The Good Cup apart from the rest is how they took their online business from just straight-up sales into a full-service, bespoke experience. They started off by understanding their clientele. “Today, the number of homebrewers has grown leaps and bounds and, best of all,” Gio observes, “consumers have the time to read and research more about the bean and method of brewing.”

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This drove them to adjust their services to make it all-encompassing. “We now have a small team helping customers choose beans that suits their personal preference. Online baristas help customers with any coffee or brewing concerns through all of our online platforms,” he proudly shares. “The difference about the in-person service is that customers get to feel the authenticity of how passionate the people are behind the brand. Our aim was to replicate that experience while placing a premium on customer value and service by continuously elevating the customer journey from buying to unboxing and even after-sales engagements.”

The Good Cup Coffee Company is one of those pandemic success stories that adapted and thrived in this new world, their client base reaching as far as the US, Canada, Japan, Brunei, and UAE. Locally, things are looking just as rosy. “The country has a good problem of having more coffee demand than there is supply of green beans,” Gio points out. “There is so much potential in the local coffee industry to be unlocked.” While the Philippines is still a predominantly “instant coffee market,” he observes that “slowly there is a change in people's habits.”

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With their upward trajectory, all that is left for Gio and The Good Cup is to sustain that growth.  The quest for both value-for-money beans as well as exclusive highly-coveted coffee ensues, but they also hope to be more involved with farming and processing. Gio plans on having monthly omakase events for their avid Metro Manila fan base which will have the 2020 Philippine Brewers Cup champion hosting and brewing the coffee at intimate tasting sessions. “The focus will just be on one element,” Gio assures. “Good coffee.” Based on the impressive heights that Gio grew The Good Cup Coffee Company from quaint cafe and roaster into a global brand, “good coffee” is definitely an understatement.

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