Foodie loves startups, especially when we unearthed loads of them last year. We revel in the chance to show off their passion for specialist ingredients, thoughtful cooking techniques and indulgent treats.
In anticipation of the upcoming Foodie Market on April 18th, we have restarted the Startup Foodie Diaries to flaunt some of the new talent who will be turning up loads of things we want on the day. If you like their stories, make sure you come and try their delicacies.
Enter Porch! The coffee merchants.
The company started in early 2014 and took about 9 months before the official launch of the online shop on January 1, 2015.
Porch Coffee is a small batch coffee roaster in Hong Kong that roast to order and provides you with the freshest coffee anywhere anytime. The vision of the three cofounders–Cindy Tsang, Winnie Tsang and Yoshikazu Hosokawa—of Porch Coffee is changing the way people brew and enjoy high-quality coffee at home, office or anywhere on the go.
Can you tell us about Porch and why you started it?
Porch – The Coffee Merchants, started with our passion for coffee and the quest to find moments in life where we could slow down, take a breath and enjoy what is in front of us. Having spent years in the corporate world, we all agreed that the right cup of coffee was indeed what carried us through the day. With this in mind, we set out to create such an experience for our fellow coffee lovers and as we embarked on our journey, we aimed at creating a brand that stood out in three ways: the quality of our coffee, the ability to enjoy it anytime, anywhere and most of all, in creating a new experience.
Does your business relate to your education or is it completely different?
The coffee industry doesn’t, in fact, relate directly to my education (I was a trained as a biochemist in the US). However, during my MBA in the UK I focused on entrepreneurship. Post my program, I worked with start-ups and new ventures in various sectors both in Asia and the EU. The experience not only provided me with the management skills required to launch a company, but more importantly, the mindset of what is required of an entrepreneur.
Yoshi also came from a background unrelated to F&B. His undergraduate from Japan focused in business and later obtained his MBA (in global business) in the US. Post education, he spent a majority of his career in the logistics field. This definitely helped our start-up in the shipping and supply chain areas.
Those are rather high achieving realms. What makes you and your partners so passionate about coffee?
Everyone at Porch Coffees is a coffee addict. We believe in order to focus your time and energy in creating a new business, you have to be passionate in the business.
We also believe the culinary city we are all now living in, Hong Kong, is ready for the Third Wave coffee movement where people can enjoy high quality coffee just like a coffee purist. We aspire to be one of the pioneers in Hong Kong to retrain the coffee-drinking palates of the people in this city. We also hope to disrupt the way people drink “instant coffee” with our drip bags that does not compromise on the quality of the beans.
Our mission is to inspire a new generation of coffee lovers.
What are some misconceptions about the startup world?
A common misconception is that you need a brilliant and original idea in order to start a company. We believe you don’t need a brilliant idea but you do need proper execution and most importantly, a great team. As the venture capitalists say, it is better to have a “B” product but an “A” team than to have an “A” product but a “B” team.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Desserts, definitely desserts for all of us at Porch. We don’t have any dessert discrimination and are widely accepting of desserts from everywhere.
And breakfast this morning was?
A cup of black coffee, usually roasted in house by our home roaster and a banana.
What is it that makes Porch coffee from other coffee brands in Hong Kong?
We offer the finest coffees from around the world, sustainably and ethically sourced.
Porch’s coffees are unique in three-fold:
(1) "Single origin" beans distinctly sourced with unique flavours are roasted lightly in small batches to bring out their distinctive profiles - the brewed coffee is so multi-dimensional that it is best enjoyed black
(2) For the coffee drinkers that might still be used to adding something to the coffee, rather than milk or sweeteners, Porch offers natural spices, such as dried orange or cinnamon bark, providing a new coffee dimension and experience
(3) Drip bags coffee are essentially pour over coffee without the equipment and could be enjoyed anywhere hot water is available. We believe the vintage pour over brewing method is the purest way to make and drink coffee. We hope to replicate this brewing method combined with convenience through our drip bags.
Like this? Read last week's Foodie Startup Diary on boutique Hong Kong tea company, TeaCha, here.