The Sprudge Maps World Tour keeps on rolling, and our next stop is Pingtung in the south of Taiwan to check out CABAL Fresh Roasted Coffee. Starting out in e-tail, selling roasted coffee and travel drip kits. Then in 2019, owner Kris Wu took the plunge, opening a brick-and-mortar cafe.
To learn more, we spoke with Kris Wu about CABAL, Pingtung, and how they are getting on during the pandemic.
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Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
Established in 2016, CABAL Fresh Roasted Coffee started its business online first. We sold and are still selling our self-roasted coffee beans and Drip Coffee Packets via Shopee.com, an online shopping platform. After three years experience in the market, we decided to extend our coffee business from online to brick and mortar. In 2019, we finally found a perfect location along the beautiful river and opened our first store in our hometown, Pingtung, a vibrant city in the south of Taiwan.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
Without using a lot of fancy equipment, we strive to provide high-quality gourmet coffee to all coffee enthusiasts. To serve espresso, we use an Italian made Fiamma Compass espresso machine and a Fiorenzato F83E grinder. For those who are big fans of pour-over coffee, we use two different types of grinders based on coffee beans’ unique characteristics. One is a local Taiwanese brand and the other is Fuji Royal from Japan. Pairing the different grinds with different pour-over filter cups and Fellow kettle maximizes unique flavors of each coffee. We also use and recommend a special dripper, Mr. Clever, which is an original invention from Taiwan.
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
Interesting fact, Taiwan has a very high density of self-roasting coffee shops. We are one of them (Laugh). CABAL Fresh Roasted Coffee started as a roaster. By placing a deep emphasis on sourcing the most exquisite coffee available in the world, roasting it with purpose and precision, and connecting with the community, this is all we dream about and we are making our dream become true.
What is the neighborhood like where you're located? What's some other cool stuff nearby?
Taiwan is famous for its scenic nature and delicious street foods, but our biggest feature is its rich cultural diversity. And Pingtung is a city full of sunshine. Kenting is only one-hour drive away, a national park in the southernmost part of Taiwan. With its beach, sunshine, and tropical climate, it has become one of the top destinations for vacation. In recent years, more and more younger people have returned back to their hometown to start their own businesses and bring new vitality to this lovely city.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shut-down, and if so, for how long?
Taiwan took precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 very early, so we had it well controlled. And didn’t experience shutdown like the other countries in the world.
But during the most severe time of the pandemic, our store took very strict measure to protect our customers and employees. We screened all customers’ temperatures, sanitized all surfaces and areas where people might interact. We also encouraged customers to keep social distancing, wearing masks, and washing their hands frequently. We reduced the number of tables in order to keep everyone in a safe distance while enjoying their coffee. Though it’s getting better and back to normal now, we still wear masks and keep our routine to sanitize our shop.
How has the Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
Besides the fact that our customers can’t see our smiles under our masks wearing masks, everything is back to normal now. There is no big impact in our daily work.
Of course, we’ve doubled time spent on sanitizing entire the store every day and added delivery service to encourage people to stay at home and decrease the possibility of being exposed to the virus.
We have tried our best to deliver our coffee to all customers and let them enjoy it at home while keeping everyone safe.
What's something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
To connect and grow with the local community, we are always willing to collaborate with other local artists and entrepreneurs. Setting up our shop as a venue for photography gallery and display local creative products. We also featured some local bakery to provide handmade desserts.
Recently, Pingtung County’s Government has held a two-month event, “Reading Festival in Pingtung.” And we are proud to be part of it. Our coffee shop served as a space for readers to meet and communicate with their favorite writer. And it’s been a hit. We’ve heard good responses from the audience and the local community.
CABAL has a traditional event since we first opened our online shop, we call it “Travel with CABAL.” All of our customers can pack our Drip Coffee Packet with them when they travel globally. And they can share their experience with us via Facebook, Instagram, and other social medias. You might see our coffee in many well-known attractions all over the world. The Drip Coffee Pack has raised popularity in Asian for years. Believe me, a good cup of coffee is a great way to start your day while traveling in a new, unfamiliar place. This lightweight and convenient coffee packet is a great choice. If you haven’t tried this, strongly recommend you give it a try! Nowadays, there are restrictions in international travel due to the world pandemic. We hope our world gets better and stronger. Then we can continue our adventures and our customers can share with us their “Travel with CABAL” soon.
Our dream began with making good-quality, gourmet coffee for coffee lovers. Now as part of the community, we feel it’s our responsibility to provide a space, an environment to create dialogue, to nature our culture, our community.
Is there a community organization or charity you'd like to shout-out as part of this feature?
During the pandemic, we have joined in a group of coffee shops to donate our fresh make coffee to doctors and nurses in order to share our thanks and support. They are the real heroes during this challenging time.
In the future, we are looking forward to working with other local organization and charity to give back to our local community.
Photos courtesy of CABAL, used with permission