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Meet Magayon Coffee, A Hobby Turned Into a Business By a Full-time Lawyer

Meet Magayon Coffee, A Hobby Turned Into a Business By a Full-time Lawyer

What’s a better way to start your day than having a cup of Magayon coffee? We found you the right place to relax and enjoy yourself while you sip on your favorite coffee and eat good food.

Located in San Felipe, Naga City, this cozy minimalist cafe is the perfect spot to get that energy boost to help you stay productive for the rest of the day.

Meet Magayon Coffee, take a look at how they started as we share our exclusive interview with the owner, Krista Mendoza-Cabral.

Meet Their Team

Who would’ve thought that the owner of this cafe is a lawyer by profession? Atty. Krista Mendoza-Cabral better known as “Tats” loves drinking coffee. She grew up in Manila but because her husband Jake lives in Bicol, they decided to run the business here.

Jake, who is also a lawyer, and her brother Vincent, who is a multimedia artist, worked together on making their own coffee shop – hence the creation of Magayon Coffee.

Tats admitted that during the start of their business, they had no idea about any coffee recipes at all. However, she does know what she wants in the taste of her coffee. When they decided to open their coffee shop, they hired two baristas.

The Story Behind Magayon Coffee

The idea of opening up a food business is far from what Jake expected from her wife since Tats is not really into cooking. But, for some reason, Tats has a good palate wherein all the food that is delicious for her, other people would seem to like it too.

“Actually pinaguusapan nga namin yun ni Jake eh parang nung nagstart kami maging boyfriend-girlfriend he never thought na I would open a coffee shop kasi parang hindi ako ganun na nagmamanage ng business. Hindi ako mahilig magluto.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Aside from being a lawyer, Tats also enjoys KPop. Before she came up with Magayon Coffee she had a business first around late 2012-2013. Since she was a fan of EXO, and the merch or albums were not yet accessible at that time, she decided to go to Korea with her friends. They would buy albums and sell them in Manila.

“Si Tats kasi kahit nung bago palang kami parang yung law student naging lawyer pero parang may entrepreneurial spirit [siya]. Tapos nung umuwi na siya rito wala na yung Kpop business niya kasi parang medyo pang bata kasi yun. When I say pambata pang younger people. So yun taste taste ng coffee dito tapos parang dun siya nagka lightbulb moment na ah coffee shop nalang kaya kasi yung gusto kong taste sa Manila again taste is personal preference hindi kami nagiging mayabang pero yung preference niya sa taste na gusto niya sa Manila hindi niya nattaste dito.”

Jake Cabral, Magayon Coffee

In 2018, she stopped her KPop business since there was a rise in online shops already. At the same time, there were more fans who were studying and working in Korea so it’s a lot easier to order merch or an album.

“One of the reasons sabi ko sakanya kung titira ako dyan sa Naga gusto ko ng may masarap na kape kasi mahilig ako mag kape sa Manila. Yung condo namin sa BGC sobrang daming coffee [shops] sabi ko gusto ko ng masarap [na kape] so yun sinupport niya ako”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

The first ever investment made was buying a coffee machine, even though they don’t know how to make coffee yet. It stayed for a few months in Manila and then after six months, they brought it here. It was around September last year and the couple pushed to open the cafe in December 2022 despite not having a complete menu.

“So imagine yung investment na lumabas kasi coffee machine kaagad yung binili namin so wala ng backing out. It’s just you know we have to make it work ganun.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

The birth of Magayon Coffee boils down to her desire of having good coffee in Naga City and share it with other people.

“It’s the desire and then I just wanted to share it with people. Kasi the more you share it to people the more they will also share [it] with other people.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Magayon – a Bicolano term that means beautiful.

Since Vincent works as a Multimedia Artist, he worked on their logo, the colors to be used for their business, and their branding. Tats would consult him for the name as well.

One day she was in her husband’s law office, and she overheard Jake’s secretary mention the word ‘Magayon’ but in a different context. So she was curious about it and then she always hear the word ‘magayon’ or ‘magayunon’.

Tats thought it was a beautiful word for their business since it has a name recall. Also, ‘magayon’ is a local term so people can relate to it.

“Parang meron siyang connection sa mga tao in Naga. And eventually if Magayon Coffee will become big, it’s something people from Naga or people from Bicol will be proud of kasi it’s Magayon.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Initially the word ‘magayon’ is used to describe when someone or something is beautiful. But Tats believed that when you loosely use it to describe other terms for instance when you go to their cafe and see their place you would probably associate the word with their coffee, the service, or the place in general.

“It’s something na connected with what we do and what we want people to feel whenever they are here”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Lastly, Tats felt that their cafe was meant to be Magayon Coffee since it starts with the letters M and C. And the M & C stands for her name, Mendoza-Cabral. They started thinking about the name around March and Magayon Coffee was just finalized between September and October.

Their Life during the Pandemic

During the lockdown period, Tats was in Manila while her husband was in Naga City. She worked for Civil Aviation and because it is a government agency, they had to go to their office even though it was on lockdown. Whenever she goes out, she would experience panic and anxiety that she might get exposed to the virus. But one thing that kept her going was coffee.

“So one reason for me to go out was coffee. Para ko siyang naging motivation na okay lang na lalabas ako kasi iinom ako ng kape.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Unlike any other businesses, COVID-19 did not directly affect them in a negative way. Instead, it was some sort of a good effect for Tats that she was able to enrich her palate with coffee since she drinks it every day.

Slowly when everything was going back to normal she visited Naga City, she was looking for a coffee shop like it was really a part of her system.

“Hindi talaga siya direct reason yung COVID but it was a good impact na I went through it na mas nag consume ako ng coffee and then I wanted ng may masarap na kape here kaya nagkaroon ako ng coffee shop.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Struggles in opening up a cafe

It took them months to find a barista since they were not really announcing that they were opening soon. Since a coffee shop is not their line of work, looking for a barista who will help them during the start of the business was a little hard for them. At the same time, looking for the right supplier was one of the struggles in opening up their cafe.

“Marami ng available here but like normal supply sa grocery but hindi parin lahat ng supply na specifically yun yung gusto ko available here.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

They still experience some difficulties in their business now but everything seems more manageable.

Their best-sellers and personal favorites

Their best-sellers include Sea Salt Cream Latte, Tuna Pesto, Texmex Cheese, Coffee Bun, New York Cheesecake, Butter Croissant, Belgian Chocolate, and Matcha Latte.

Photo: Erika Faye Breboneria

“For me sea salt is our best-seller kasi when you drink it you taste the sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and they’re all perfectly balanced. When we finally reached yung tamang recipe neto yung description ko nun was parang may party sa mouth mo cause merong sweetness, may saltiness, and may bitterness pa rin so yun yung kung pano ko siya i-describe.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

“I think the reason why people like ordering tuna pesto is because nasa cheesier side siya so even with cheese we’re generous sa pag lagay ng cheese kasi anything with cheese is delicious. Kaya ako I make sure na pag kunyari nagsserve ng pasta it’s either this one [spaghetti] or yung tuna pesto it has a lot of cheese.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

“And then for the corn akala ko nung una mozzarella cheese corn yung magiging crowd favorite, But surprisingly mas ino-order ng mga tao yung Texmex Cheese probably because it’s a little spicy syempre yung mga taga naga i mean taga Bicol gusto ng konting maanghang.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

“For the bread, may crowd followers yung butter croissant but ang lagi talagang inoorder is this one, the coffee bun. Best-seller din namin yan [New York cheesecake] and then may mga nag-oorder ng one whole cheesecake.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

“Sa mga non-coffee crowd favorite si Belgian chocolate and matcha latte.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Of course, as a business owner, Tats has her own favorites. One of her favorites includes Coffee Tonic which is a blend of espresso and tonic water, both her favorite. At the same time, she loves drinking long black. It is a stronger coffee added with just water. So she really made it possible to perfect the recipe for their own long black. Still in the category of coffee, she also like Spanish Latte with oat milk which leans more on the creamier side.

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“Merong mga nagsasabi na comfort food nila yung spaghetti so parang ano siya balance between home taste but not so much so that’s why people order this one [spaghetti] if they like something to eat na comforting ganun. So parang eto [spaghetti] comfort food siya.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

For food, one of her favorites would be Spaghetti since she loves red sauce. She also loves mozzarella cheese corn and cheese roll because it has cream cheese inside and sugar on top, so the balance between sweetness and saltiness is there.

“Everything here is made with love as what small businesses would say diba. It’s made with love as in very meticulous kami when it comes to how it’s given to you even the presentation.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

New additions to their menu

One of their new additions to their menu would be their Chocolate Sea Salt. Since Sea Salt Cream Latte has become one of the crowd favorites, they have decided to make their sea salt series.

“So aside from the chocolate sea salt magkakaroon kami ng honey latte or honey sea salt hindi ko pa alam kung anong itatawag ko pero honey latte siya with sea salt. so far yun yung nasa sea salt series: sea salt cream latte, chocolate sea salt, honey sea salt.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee
Photo: Erika Faye Breboneria

Also, they now offer Coffee Tonic just because Tats also loves it. If you want a refreshing drink but you still want coffee and less sugar, definitely try this one out. Aside from that, they plan to add Nutella Latte to their menu very soon.

Why Magayon Coffee is special

“It’s really the people behind Magayon Coffee that makes Magayon Coffee who we are and also the people who come here. We’re comfortable with people coming here and just letting them magkwento sila sa mga friends nila na oh masarap talaga dun you have to try.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Tats value the people behind their cafe and that’s what makes it special. Everything in their cafe was carefully thought of. Aside from their team, she trusts that people will like what they offer because they make sure that you get something made out of the best quality.

“We don’t want na nag open lang kami because we just opened the coffee shop. We want people to experience drinking nice coffee, eating comfort food and then parang ma experience mo na ang saya dun tumambay sa Magayon. And then when you go here with your friends or family, you talk about something nice, you know [that] you have fun.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Their coffee comes a close second because, without the people behind their cafe, there will be no Magayon coffee, to begin with. Tats wanted people to talk about their coffee and let people mark it for them since they banked on the quality of the coffee and their food.

“If you just let people come and then they just try and then they just go back kasi nagustuhan nila mas ganun yung naenvision ko na we’ll get there slowly but surely parang ganun. Kaya parang even if I feel na of course dumadami na yung coffee shops here kasi balik na ulit yung mga tao sa labas kampante pa rin ako because of the taste of our coffee.”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Future plans for the cafe

They plan to release a few more drinks and new addition to the food as well. Currently, they are working on their truffle oil pasta recipe. And since people request rice meals, they plan to add Kimchi Rice with bacon to their menu.

Because of her love for KPop, Tats wanted to have a KPop night every Saturday. This way the customers can listen to KPop songs while they drink nice coffee and eat good food.

“I think para lang din there’s a venue for people who like to listen to KPop so it’s something I’m passionate about rin”

Krista Mendoza-Cabral, Magayon Coffee

Apart from that, they will be having Happy Hour soon in their cafe. They will serve cocktails including Sangria and Gin Tonic, two of her favorites. So, if you want to pass on drinking coffee and you feel like having a little amount of alcohol in your body, still Magayon Coffee is definitely the place to go. 

If you happen to visit Naga City, don’t forget to drop by at Magayon Coffee. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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