Today we’d like to introduce you to Ronald Dizon.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. It’s been an ongoing process for me throughout the years. In my head, I used to question a lot of people like Elon Musk and Jeff Besos, and how they were able to establish a company out of the most basic things just to make something work. I am currently working at Faraday Future, an electric start-up company based out of Gardena, CA. I am an engineer and have always been a car guy at heart, investing a lot of time with a number of giants in the automotive industry.
Coming around late 2017, my mom sparked a conversation mentioning coffees that came from the Philippines—wait, coffee from the Philippines?! This moment then turned into my own obsession of figuring out why and how this was even a thing. My curiosity hit the gas pedal and all I could ever think about was finding out what Filipino Coffee was all about. I spent a lot of late nights just researching, and learning more and more about this one crop that resides in the Philippines.
There was something about this discovery process that shifted my mentality into a passion of wanting to give back to the Philippines.
My parents brought me into the United States when I was four. Though I grew up in a Filipino household—if you know, you know—my childhood and upbringing was heavily influenced by a more American lifestyle. I used to feel embarrassed in being a part of these “Filipino things and innuendos”, however, in maturing, I’ve learned a lot from that. In being a part of that generation of Filipino-Americans, this obsession of Filipino Coffee turned into a passion that wanted me to give back to the Philippines.
To keep it short, the Philippines used to be a well-known coffee supplier worldwide around the early 1900s—let us remind ourselves that coffee is a number two commodity in the world. This recognition drastically took a turn when coffee rust hit and disintegrated almost all of these farmlands. Compared to other countries, there are four species that exist in the 7,000+ islands of mostly volcanic rock in the Philippines—Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica. Most countries just have Arabica.
2019 etched the journey of roasting Filipino coffee.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? I started reaching out to coffee suppliers in 2017. In May 2018, I went to the Philippines to talk to some coffee suppliers to deliver a private label of roasted coffees. It seemed to go really well and I was extremely hopeful for what was about to unfold…
Nothing happened. It seemed like this idea was all it was going to be.
I trusted that there was still a way to get Filipino coffee here in the United States, so everyday, I would email numerous companies, and search around for websites and organizations on Facebook.
February 2019 was when it happened— two coffee suppliers replied to me.
When we started roasting Filipino coffee, we used to roast at the Farmer’s Markets.
To date, we make sure that we use a Fluid-Bed Clean Hot Air Roaster to roast all of our coffees as this is the cleanest most efficient way to actually roast the crop.
This roaster, about six feet tall and as wide as a wooden cargo pallet, was always with us at these Farmer’s Markets. People used to see what we would do and we also enjoyed sharing that process. Aside from the Markets, we also served our coffee at different pop-ups, catering, and other events both private and public.
As weird as it sounds, I knew this was going to be a challenge. It took a lot of discipline and mental preparation to get ready for where we are at now.
With this new feat of running our own brick and mortar in Los Alamitos, CA, it has propelled our trajectory for putting Filipino coffee back on the map.
Teofilo Coffee Company – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition? “Now I can drink black coffee.”
This is the expression we have experienced from a good number of people, and we are very passionate about it because this is the quality that created the name for coffee from the Philippines in the first place. We appreciate any and all honesty—you can tell us it sucks—and we will hone in on what these problem(s) is/are.
While the materialistic goal is to keep coffee in its purest form, we also love encouraging and emphasizing the ability to experience these moments with your loved ones.
It is possible to do what you are most passionate about while creating these memories with your loved ones.
My wife and kids, so they can see and understand the process and purpose of creating something from the most basic things just to make something work.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on? My proudest moments are when my wife and kids get up early in the morning to get ready to pursue this every day mission. Doing this together, as a family, is for them to see and understand the process and purpose of creating something from the most basic things just to make something work.
Address: 10525 Los Alamitos blvd, Los Alamitos CA 90720
Image Credit: @creatorsblock_, @exciyaa, Eugene Arevalo