In a little over a year, 5G Coffee House croissants have taken Cebu by storm. Apart from reintroducing croissants as an accessible comfort binge, 5G has also reinvented the classic Parisian pastry by incorporating modern and widely loved flavors.
Twenty-year-old cafe owner Ricardo Guinto revealed that the 5G croissants, famous on Instagram for their unfailingly satisfying flaky texture, started out as a mere interest.
“Thing with me is when I find something interesting to do, it’s all in. All the money that I have, I was a broke kid back then. All the time that I have. And just all the dedication. And not stopping until I get it right,” said Guinto.
It is through this dedication that the young entrepreneur was able to take his coffee (and now croissant) business from an idea he began working on in high school to a steadily growing brand in Cebu.
5G Coffee House
5G Coffee House sits in the quiet neighborhood of San Antonio Village, Barangay Apas in Cebu City. What sets the space apart is it spans relatively small from other cafes. Furnished with comfortable wooden furniture and an extensive pour-over bar, the shop was designed to encourage guests to socialize among themselves.
“I wanted to build a community and nurture the community. The concept behind the bar was supposed to be a pour-over bar. So people, four people would sit and they would order coffee and we would make it in front of you and chat a little bit. Connect customers to customers and build our own network,” Guinto said.
The cafe sells signature specialty coffee and a wide array of croissant flavors. Apart from the timeless classic croissant, pain au chocolat, and the almond croissant, the coffee house also serves banana croissant, strawberry croissant, matcha croissant, almond pain au chocolat, danish, and berry danish.
While they ready this selection in-store, they also get a lot of traction online for preorders and reservations.
But before he sold 180 to 200 croissants per day, Guinto recalled that the idea of opening an independent cafe dawned on him way back in 2019, while he was still in high school. Being a student, he had no prior experience as a barista, much more a business owner.
But he had a goal.
With the approval and help of his father, Guinto began building 5G in their front garage. The construction took over a year to complete, with Guinto having only the weekends to spare from school.
At the time, he was studying two hours away from Cebu City. His first customers were his schoolmates and peers. He shared that he would bring bottled white brew coffee with him each week to bring to school.
“I’d bring a hundred fifty bottles on Monday. 4 am, I’d wake up and I’d stash them into these big Coleman boxes and fill them with ice and sell them to the kids at school,” Guinto said.
“It was a big hit. The profit I earned from selling coffee to those kids, I used to buy more coffee and be able to hang around in cafes, talk to baristas, talk to the owners, and then grow my network. And let everyone know na (that), ‘Yo, I’m opening a cafe at the garage of my house,'” he said.
Guinto had his eyes fixed. Not long after, he was finally able to open his physical shop. Good coffee, coupled with on-the-ground connections with customers and organic marketing, soon gave rise to a following for 5G cafe.
What’s a croissant?
When sales were starting to increase with just coffee, Guinto realized that it was time he thought about offering pastries to pair with their available drinks. He recalled that he tasted a croissant for the first time when a friend, also in the cafe business, took him to try the croissants they had been sourcing for their shop.
“And I was like, ‘What’s a croissant?’ And then I tried it out and it was the best piece of bread that I ever had,” he said.
At first, he bought croissants to sell to his shop but thought it would be cheaper to do it on his own.
“It’s not,” Guinto laughed.
“Especially for the first year that I tried baking croissants, it was tough and hard to really get the process down,” he added.
But like the coffee shop he dreamt up and built, he was once again hooked on a project.
This endeavor in particular – with all the intricacies and the science behind the perfect croissant – took Guinto a solid year and a half to nail on his own. This was considering he had only his self-earned capital and Youtube in his arsenal.
He took the cafe’s customers and hundreds of social media followers along the journey. The young cafe owner would go on Instagram live to discuss newly incorporated techniques, analyze what went wrong with a particular batch of croissants, and talk about creative leaps to new flavors.
“Even if I have a batch of 150 croissants and they’re all bad, I will cancel everything that day and move everyone’s orders to a further date. You have to stay true to the quality and the promise that you’ll deliver a product that’s worth your customers’ money,” Guinto said.
Staying true to the promise of quality was exactly what he did, sometimes pushing back orders and giving away croissants when he deemed a batch was not at par with his standards.
And he has carried on with this pursuit of perfection. Today, Guinto continues to reinvent the classic puff pastry with new flavor combinations. The latest of them, an instant hit, was the basque burnt cheesecake croissant.
5G is open from Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays to Saturdays, from 10:30 am to 6 pm. Customers can also order through its Instagram account for deliveries and reservations. – Rappler.com
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