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Because everybody needs good coffee.

Putting up a specialty coffee shop was never a dream or a plan for 24-year-old Daniel Roque. However, after he went to Dublin, Ireland, to represent the Philippines in the World Aeropress Championship last year, he brought along the idea.

'Luckily, my best friend's father was planning on putting up a coffee shop,' he recalls. 'He just needed the expertise to do it.'

Need Coffee is along the bustling Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes, Paranaque City. The place is run by Daniel, a partner at Where Have You Bean Co. Ltd. and a small team of five.

The name of the place, unexpectedly, was not something deliberate. 'It came about just a few days before we finally registered, after scratching our heads for an entire afternoon,' he says.

In the coffee shop's manifesto, Need Coffee emphasizes that it is not here to 'reinvent the wheel,' but simply to give customers the middle ground of specialty coffee, not an overly commercialized package.

'Right now, specialty coffee is seen as unnecessary, overpriced and merely a trend. Need Coffee is here to differentiate itself from bad-tasting commercial coffee,' he explains.

The major challenge that Daniel encountered in putting up Need Coffee was dealing with people: 'It's always difficult to transfer the image in your head into someone else's.'

Scouting for a feasible location was tough too. 'We spent days just driving around the area,' Daniel says. 'One Saturday, my partner went jogging and found a new place up for rent.'

Daniel's good friends Kevin Calderon and Cindel Tiausas did the murals inside the coffee shop, as well as the security mirror installation.

'It was written in stone that the shop would be in black and white,' Daniel says. 'There is a huge al fresco area in the back for movie nights and barbecues.'

Daniel credits his parents Andrew and Marissa Roque for having been the biggest influences in his business venture. 'They gave me everything to create my passion for coffee.'

Need Coffee serves espresso, Americano, latte, hot chocolate or even iced mocha and rose water cold brew latte. The coffee shop also offers light snacks to go with the blends. 'For now, we have a chiller full of pastries and little snacks that go well with our coffee,' says Daniel. 'In the future, we'll have heavier meals, but I'm a barista and cooking is a whole different game.'

Asked what edge Need Coffee has over other coffee shops, multinationals included, Daniel says: 'We observed all the coffee shops, found what works and put them together.

'This works for the whole country,' he adds. 'We don't want to just be set apart from our neighbors. We want to be set apart from all the shops in the industry-and we're visually different from anything else that's out there.'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 14, 2017
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