This cafe sells unique coffee drinks from a Kombi – Manila Bulletin
If you see an orange 1973 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi parked in a food park, it’s Kombi Brew (sometimes spelled KombiBrew), a mobile cafe whose unique creations regularly garner a loyal fanbase that started with the cycling community. , but now includes everyone. other.
Although owner Budz Badua started selling coffee at private events from the Volkswagen Kombi she inherited from her grandfather in 2017, it wasn’t until the pandemic that she became the owner. of a full-time cafe. Prior to this, Badua worked in Dubai before returning to the Philippines to work as a professional wedding and commercial photographer under The Panda Studio. “I started with cold brew because that’s what I like to drink,” explains the self-taught barista in Tagalog. “I make sure I know the taste of the products I sell.”
Badua acquired his taste for coffee in all its forms during his stay abroad. “That’s where I got to taste good coffee,” she said, adding that it was Turkish coffee that not only made her realize that coffee is delicious, but that good coffee can also be easy to prepare.
“But I never thought about starting a coffee business,” she said. When she decided to sell food from her Kombi (named Kahel for its color), she originally wanted to sell comfort foods like lugaw, tapa, and pares. The idea of selling coffee came to fruition after coming across a Kombi cafe in Thailand. “It started in 2017 at a Volkswagen event, selling dark and cold brew milk.”
The menu has since expanded, with each drink being a unique creation.
First up is Kahel Brew, a mandarin orange cold brew, the signature drink and best seller. “It was an accident,” Badua said.
Someone had offered him mixed orange juice. She decided to add it to her coffee during an event. The resulting drink was delicious. “It’s kind of like iced tea, kinda like juice, but with coffee,” she said.
She immediately added the mix to her drink list and it immediately sold out. “It was my bestseller that day,” she said. “People are still looking for him. When they think of Kombi Brew, it is always followed by Kahel Brew.
The other drinks also have names that revolve around the Kombi. There’s T2, which is a salted caramel coconut cold brew inspired by Vietnamese coconut coffee; Dark Kahel Brew, which is the dark chocolate grain milk-based Kahel Brew inspired by the tsokolate drink served in Filipino homes during the Christmas season; Pa-change Oil, a dirty horchata made from cereal milk; and the Kombi Blue, a rich, caffeine-free beverage made with ternate blue tea, grain milk and lychees, topped with an ocean-inspired cream cheese mousse.
“Every drink I make is unique,” Badua said. “All of our drinks have a recall, so people are like, ‘I got that at Kombi Brew! “”
Badua credits Kombi Brew, which began operating full-time in 2020, with keeping it through the pandemic. Because the cafe operated out of a van, Kombi Brew could set up shop almost anywhere.
It was, and still is, a staple among the food trucks parked in the Mayflower parking lot in Greenfield, Mandaluyong, and at various weekend events in Intramuros. Customers find out where he’s going to be next through his social media pages.
“Instagram was a big help because everyone was on it,” Badua said. “If they want to know what’s going on (with us),” they can watch there, or sometimes, on TikTok.
Badua hopes to take Kahel (and Kombi Brew) to Siargao one day. “Siarbuts,” she said. “You know how you can sometimes imagine your future? That’s what I think. Not a city but near the sea.”
The pandemic may have forced Badua to run Kombi Brew full-time, but the trip has brought him many unexpected blessings. “No one believed I could sell coffee with my Kombi,” she said.
“You have to give 190% and you have to really enjoy what you do. I’m happier people love our drinks than I am for my earnings because how they feel is how I feel when I drink them.
Follow @kombibrew on Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok.
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