AMADEO, Cavite – Cafe entrepreneur Jose Torrejon teams up with his mother, Josephina, to serve Tagaytay travelers in their cozy alfresco cafe in Amadeo, Cavite.
Named after the mom, La Josephina Cafe’s bestsellers are house favorites La Josephina Mocha and ube white mocha, among others. They also serve delicious pasta that match the drinks they offer, such as the shrimp puttanesca and beef shank pasta.
“The cafe was actually more of pangarap ng mom ko. Because of the pandemic, we switched/changed our residence from Quezon City to our place in Cavite because my dad was a senior citizen during that time,” Jose shares. “Habang nagse-stay kami doon, laging naiinip ang mom ko na gusto niyang magtayo ng cafe.”
He shares that his mom, Josephina, has been very persistent with her dream. “Every once in a while may naiisip na plano kung paano niya gagawin yung cafe and whatnot. And then after a while na-convince niya ako na okay… mag-startup kami ng cafe. So I named it after her… and technically it was more of her dream.”
Josephina is also the cafe’s resident chef, while Jose takes charge of the coffee bar. “She planned all of our food and menu, as well as our pastries and cakes. I’m only handling the barista—the coffee side of the cafe,” he shares.
When the mom and son duo are planning the cafe, they wanted to target the travelers who are stopping by on their way home from their stay in Tagaytay as well as those who are on their way to Tagaytay. “[Initially], we were aiming [to reach] travelers and tourists. But a lot of our main customers have also come from the local area. Those are targets pero everyone here are well accepted,” Jose shares.
Cafe in the new normal
The cafe opened its doors just last March 3, 2022. When asked how it’s been like to build a cafe in the new normal, Jose says, “Na-surprise ako. Within expectation naman yung running and whatnot. Na-surprise din ako dun sa reception ng community. Nagustuhan talaga yung mom ko and yung coffee namin.”
For Jose, making a cafe thrive in the new normal entails both hard work from both owners and staff. This is to ensure consistency on taste and quality of service that makes customers come back for more.
“A lot of the hard work is on trying to take care of the actual coffee shop. At the end of the day, yung products naman namin—they’re products. You have suppliers, you have people, you have employees so train them to be as efficient and consistent as possible.”
Aside from the quality, they also value convenience and accessibility. And since the past two years have been difficult for local tricycle drivers in the area, they decided to tap them for their deliveries.
“We’re starting our delivery system where we try to incorporate the local tricycle drivers, as well. The same way we try to get Grab or FoodPanda… Sayang eh. For me, it’s an untapped facility,” shares Jose.
Partnering with Blu Coffee
The cafe chose Blu Coffee as their supplier for their coffee machine and other ingredients due to impressive equipment quality and reliability of aftersales service.
Jose emphasized how much he liked the design of La Cimbali and the convenience of getting syrup supplies from Blu Coffee.
“I like the design. For an entry level machine, the design was great. It was serviceable. A lot of the syrups that time kasi… medyo mahirap ang supplies [with other suppliers]. And so far naman, nasu-supplyan naman ako consistently ng DaVinci syrups ni Blu Coffee. Very happy naman with their current services,” shares Jose.
“I’m always able to talk to Russel of the sales team. Within reasonable [time] — I contact him and he has been very responsive and helpful… I’ll be happy to recommend it to other cafe owners,” says Jose.
Since the equipment and the cafe has just opened this year, there have been no issues experienced yet. But according to Jose, a lot of projected challenges were already resolved and polished even before the arrival of the machines they ordered. “So a lot of the possible issues like yung filtration system, water pressure, placement— nakipag-work together sa amin si Russell.”
The convenience of having a trusted local supplier is why Jose trusts Blu Coffee. “Basically, local suppliers provide a much easier time for businesses to open up. Mainly because a lot of the problems when you’re starting out are encountered when you try to stabilize everything. When you’re trying to get suppliers, you’re also trying to achieve consistency.”
Tips for fellow cafe owners
Consistency, for Jose, is a key ingredient for success. A good cafe owner works hard to create a system where his cafe becomes a well-oiled machine. “You try to get customers to come back. A lot of them return because you have a taste that resonates with them. And if you can no longer provide that, then hindi ka na magbabalik ng customers mo. So, in choosing local suppliers, we are very keen with the consistency. Kasi consistently mabibigay nila yung kailangan mo para ma-service ng maganda yung mga customers mo”
“Yun yung lagi kong pinainiwalaan, kung masarap man yung pagkain mo pero kung bukas hindi na siya masarap, wala ring point. So we’re trying to provide that top level of service and food quality in a consistent manner.”
When asked what tips he want to share with fellow cafe owners and cafe dreamers, he says that intensive planning is needed as well as learning how to deal with issues that you may encounter.
“Kasi narealize ko, na even though, a lot of the times we planned everything, we tried to do everything according to how we strategize everything. Siyempre may mga hiccups talaga eh. How you roll with those hiccups is just how business is done, usually. Kumbaga, dapat meron kang strategy. Pero kung wala naman akong strategy, mas magulo. And it will always be… Magulo naman talaga ang business eh— but that’s the fun of it na rin naman! That’s something that’s enjoyable about it.”
Aside from planning, Jose emphasizes the importance of a strategic location for your business. “I cannot stress enough that a location is key to a food and beverage business. It makes things way easier in terms of getting clients and customers”
Garden-inspired “La Josephina Cafe” is open on Mondays 12:00pm to 9pm and Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 9pm. They are located in Amadeo, Cavite. Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajosephinacafe