How this young entrepreneur transforms his love for coffee into a growing business

“When coffee truly enters your bloodstream, the pressure to boost your passion becomes overwhelming.”

This hit Raymond Llave, a 29-year-old startup entrepreneur from Kawit, Cavite, who switched his passion for coffee into a thriving business — Liwanag Brew [Liwanag Brew | Kawit | Facebook] . His coffee shop has provided him with solace and has become a supportive family he can rely on. In this feature, delve into how he has realized his aspirations of crafting a unique coffee experience that fills him with hope and fulfillment.

From Coffee Beans to Coffee Cups

Due to his enduring passion for coffee, Raymond, unbeknownst to him, embarked on a journey that started with a simple idea of starting a business and brewing his morning cup of joe. Little did he know that this path would lead him to open his own coffee shop, where he now finds himself rolling up the store shutters, donning an apron, and working as a barista.

His idea to sell coffee drinks, like freshly roasted coffee beans, started in obscurity. It began with a small booth in his neighborhood, an on-wheels coffee stall, and eventually evolved into his own proud and officially owned coffee shop. The coffee shop initially operated as a window-type store but has since grown into a two-story structure.

Photos courtesy of Liwanag Brew

With this, the birth of Liwanag Brew emerged as the moniker for his coffee shop. Apart from connecting it to his passion for photography and embodying a locally influenced identity, Raymond aimed to spread the light of hope to his prospective customers and share the positivity he carries in his own life.

“Kailangan kung may 99 percent na darkness ka sa buhay mo, mayroon kang 1 percent na liwanag,” he noted, pouring the essence of his passion into each cup of coffee he served. 

The Brewing Process

Since this endeavor began in 2020, during a time of stringent restrictions due to the pandemic, it was far from easy for Raymond. The circumstances posed a challenge to him, as he had to figure out how to promote his business while putting his own savings at risk. Despite the obstacles, Raymond persevered and doubled his efforts in his work during that period.

For Raymond, taking risks is an essential aspect of the business-brewing process. As a first-time shop owner, he firmly believed that as much as life pressed him down, the end result would be stronger and and more rewarding, much like coffee with a more aromatic flavor.

Since then, coffee has become like a brother to Raymond, and Liwanag Brew is their shared home. His goal is to ensure that his locally-branded coffee beans are of the highest quality and to create a coffee shop that serves as a haven for its patrons. Raymond is personally involved in selecting the finest coffee components, designing an aesthetically pleasing interior vibe, and maintaining his enthusiasm to ensure consistency in their services and customer satisfaction.

With an initial investment of less than 10,000 pesos in his humble booth, Raymond’s coffee shop now generates monthly earnings that are at least four times what he originally invested. He believes that the key to success lies in practicing mindful financial and operational management, establishing contingency plans, and adhering to their shared secret: being friendly and kind to everyone.

Coffee’s Aroma and its Aftertaste

Raymond’s determination to expand the essence of his coffee business and cultivate a thriving community within the coffee industry mirrors the captivating aroma that fills the air. His intention goes beyond personal gain; he aims to provide his customers with what they truly deserve: love, comfort, and the sensation of being at home at any given moment.

He looks forward to the day that in a few years, Liwanag Brew will be recognized not only for its brand but also for delivering the utmost quality and service. Just as their tagline suggests, if you “Keep Brewing Forward,” you will savor the lingering aftertaste of their exceptional offerings.

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