Kapetal: Brewing a Dream, One Cup at a Time

Lira and Ein, the couple behind Kapetal, with Ein's supportive mother posing for the camera before the morning coffee runs.

Lira and Ein, the couple behind Kapetal, with Ein’s supportive mother posing for the camera before the morning coffee runs.

Years ago as I was stuck in an office cubicle, I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur and my job then was just a stepping stone. I did not have a business idea, money, a network or expertise. Looking back, it all felt like some faraway dream.  

Now I have a business and I support SME food entrepreneurs through it. It fires me up seeing my customers, particularly new entrepreneurs, answer the call. It reminds me of my humble origins selling paper bags stall by stall in the Marikina public market.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Some days it is like eating glass. Imagine starting a venture in the midst of a pandemic. Imagine hearing the call to entrepreneurship, so strong that you just can’t sleep. It is with joy that I write the story of one of our customers, the couple behind Kapetal: a pop-up coffee shop brewing their dream one cup at a time.

What was the inspiration behind Kapetal?

Most entrepreneur origin stories I read start with a particular life event that led to an opportunity. What’s interesting with Kapetal is that the dream started with an actual dream.

Ein Ermino, co-founder and chief brewer, in his own words says “Legit to, may panaginip ako na may coffee business ako sa malls na Greek Freddo espresso- inspired. (A Greek Freddo is a kind of coffee drink.) “Pag gising ko gumawa agad ako ng costing sa Excel tapos medyo malaki yung kapital.”

One Friday, his fiancée and co-founder Lira Canals mentioned the dream he had. “Naalala lang niya (Lira) tapos di na ako makatulog kasi naisip ko simulan muna sa pop-up coffee shop tapos eventually baka mapondohan niya yung mall stall na napanaginipan ko.”

When did your passion for coffee start?

When asked about his love for the bitter brew, Ein describes it differently. “Addiction to coffee” was a better term. He recalled how he used to work night shifts at TV 5 as a video editor and how he easily could drink up to three cups in one shift. As he progressed in his career, coffee drinking was no longer just a pick-me-up but a luxury that was encouraged by his exposure to specialty coffee through his friends.

Let’s talk about your coffee. What kind is it? What makes it different?

Great things require patience and technique. It also applies to coffee. The V60 in action effortlessly siphoning this next serving for the lucky customer. Our coffee cups make a cameo appearance. 🙂  

Conversations with Ein on the subject lead you to a rabbit hole of considerations in making a great cup of coffee. Coffee to the initiated is a world of its own. I can loosely compare it to wine or cheeses.  To save on length, the more technical parts of our conversation involving things like water temperature, equipment, PH levels, the bean’s country of origin, and much more were excluded in this blog.

“We use Brazilian beans. Single-origin coffee siya meaning sa isang farm, isang produce lang siya galing. So the flavors are very consistent and unique doon sa part ng Brazil na iyun.” He also mentioned different characteristics of the coffee he has tried from different parts of the world.

On the brewing method, he mentioned that they use the “pour over method” using the V 6 to control the flavor of the coffee. V60 sounds like a part of an airplane or something very technical. He said that it is a conical brewer from Hario which grants zero resistance to the water in the brewing process. This leads to a very consistent brew as the water just passes through the coffee and filter. He summarizes it as “basically Japanese ingenuity applied to coffee”.

Kapetal also offers other ways to brew coffee.  Ein asks the customers how they like their cup and adjusts the technique based on their preference. This provides a more artisanal and hand-crafted experience. He further explains “kunwari gusto ni customer ay strong coffee, yung amount ng water during the first pour iba compared to a customer who wants a sweeter, lighter brew”.

We have to talk about the Vespas. What’s up with the motorcycles?

An eye-catching red Italian motorcycle serves as their signage holder beside Lira, a member of Vespa Belles Manila. 

If you visit their stall, you will see a couple of Vespas which serve as both their transportation and conversation pieces as you wait for your cup to be prepared. “Yung Vespas, kasi hilig naming and we like the idea na we can set up a café with just our Vespas.”

The Vespa’s also help in marketing because some clients approach them to ask about them and then realize they sell coffee. “So bibili na din sila, instant conversation starter yung Vespa pati yung V60 brewer”.

It’s not easy making great coffee in a pop-up setup. Why are you doing this?

Team Kapetal talking with patrons on coffee, trails, and travels on a weekend morning.

Ultimately it’s his love for coffee and his desire to share great tasting ones that urges him on. “Nung una I was trying to cut expenses and since coffee can be expensive, nag try ako ng alternatives. Kaso iba talaga yung specialty coffee.” He jokes that the profit he will make from this will be also to buy great coffee. “Pang bili ko lang din talaga ng masarap na kape.”

What are your plans for the future?

“Hopefully matupad yung pangarap kong coffee shop sa malls. I imagine a chain of freddo espresso shops. Pero for now, we want to continue doing the pop-ups kasi the first day was so much fun and people were really into the coffee and the Vespas. Maybe a Vespa-themed café in the future? Who knows?”

Where can we find you?

“We are usually in front of Circle Mall in Marikina Heights pero mag-aannounce kami sa Facebook page namin a few days before for the location.” They’re trying to explore where else they can setup a pop-up café.

If you want to know where Kapetal will be brewing next, you can follow them on their Facebook page. If you are a food business owner looking for supplies or planning to start one of your own, you can visit the Panda Prime Lazada store.

We hope this post inspires other people to literally chase their dreams of entrepreneurship. We hope we all learn and be inspired from this couple who is brewing their dream, one cup at a time!