When we started our first coffee shop in 2009, we had neither much knowledge about coffee nor skills in running business at professional level. So we thought we should initiate a pilot project in a small but high potential town, a shop in such a scale that we know would survive regardless. Sangklaburi in Kanchanaburi province is our good choice. It is 340 kilometers away from Bangkok. Although not quite a destination for Thai people, Sangklaburi then was popular among Western backpackers, and some end up living there.
In two years’ time, our coffee shop was getting more popular. We believe that the concept of brand building from the start had contributed greatly to such success. Our popularity also came from the fact that Sangklaburi,known for its peaceful and serene nature, attracted more tourists each year. An increased number of visitors helped us gain valuable experiences, of which we did not have much when we had started the shop. Since then, more and more new ideas had been created. Higher targets were challenging. so we started looking for a new location.
It was in the year 2012 that the idea of relocation was materialized. We considered big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where we could run our business in a long run. Bangkok is our hometown, and Chiang Mai is our most favourite. We finally chose Chiang Mai for its mesmerising beauty, good weather, and extremely nice people. Chiang Mai is rich in culture and traditions, yet a modern and cosmopolitan city. Its charm year after year draws people of all lifestyles from all over the world to visit and to live here.
For our dream to materialize, we were in search of our shop location both in northern and western of Thailand
At Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi, we had found a lovely wooden house, where we opened GRAPH CAFE in June.
We started baking pizzas, of which we learned from our good friend from Italy, and found it to be a popular item among our guests (backpackers and NGO volunteers in town). During the rainy season, we took a 45 days journey to Vietnam, China and Korea in search of more inspiration.
We have learned more and more about coffee and practiced making coffee every day.
We found a perfect spot for our new shop. In April, GRAPH CAFE in the Old Town, Chiang Mai has opened its door. In June, our cold brew coffee was launched.
In November, GRAPH CAFE in Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi was permanently closed.
In Apirl, GRAPH TABLE was opened at Moonmuang lane 6 (a short walk from GRAPH CAFE), serving brunch, pastas, pizzas and coffee. In September, our nitro cold brew coffee was launched.
Coffee beans are purchased directly from farmers. We also handle our own processing.
In July, our workshop “Home Brewing Workshop“ was organized with 200 participants in 20 classes.
In August, FIND COFFEE was opened.
In December, GRAPH One Nimman was opened.
We start roasting our own coffee beans for the GRAPH Group.
Our business is growing through collaboration with “Tennyson”Brand from Melbourne, Australia.
In December, GRAPH CONTEMPORARY was opened
In January, GRAPH GROUND was opend
GRAPH is our brand. The concept was created while I was travelling from town to town along the road that keeps winding, up and down. Then I thought: no roads continue as a straight line. At some points they are up and down. Isn’t it a nature of life, as well? There is also up and down in life. That is how the concept of GRAPH starts. It helps remind us of how life could be uncertain. I also would like my coffee shops to be the place where people come and exchange their experiences, should it be up or down, as well as share their inspiration and creativity.
I started learning how to make coffee just a little while before opening up the first shop. My serious practice began in the first year. I did a lot of readings and watching videos in the internet. I search and create new ideas all the time. More importantly, I have learnt from my clients who essentially are travelers from all over the world. They have their own styles of drinking coffee, depending on where they are from; United State of America, Italy and other countries in Europe. But the more unique styles are those from Australia and New Zealand. And this is our turning point. We gradually shift towards Australian style, both the way the coffee is made, as well as the shop design.
I myself am a barista. Not only I learn something new all the time, but I also give barista training and team building a high priority. I consider our staff an important factor to the success of our shop. Our training covers a wide range of topics from coffee making to trend of clients to positive thinking and how to live one’s life to its fullest.
We develop our recipes from our own creativity. We think it is important that coffee lovers have more choices other than the regular menu. We also offer a variety of menus for those who are not a coffee nerd but would like to enjoy a coffee shop atmosphere too. This is very challenging and so much fun for us at the same time. We use 100% local coffee from 4 families (micro lot). We work directly with the coffee farmers as we want to help develop a better quality of grains, which will in turn help improve their quality of life.
I design the interiors of my shops, including the coffee bar. Only the barista knows what the good coffee bar is like. That is why I myself am a barista, and that is why I myself design my own coffee bar. The good bar must be both a state of arts as well as good functions.
We now have 6 shops with 3 brands:
1) GRAPH CAFE (2009-2015, Closed)
2) GRAPH CAFE (Feb, 2014)
3) GRAPH TABLE (Apr, 2015-2018)
4) GRAPH ONE NIMMAN (Dec, 2017)
5) FIND COFFEE (Aug, 2017)
6) GATEWAY COFFEE ROASTERS
(Feb, 2018) \ Co-Founder
7) GRAPH CONTEMPORARY (Dec, 2019)
8) GRAPH GROUND (Jan, 2020)
These 6 shops might look different, but they have some mutual concepts. That is to be an inspiration as well as to be sustainable.
GATEWAY Coffee roasters, our newest shop, is located in a 60-year old building and decorated in a vintage style. It also serves as the main roasters for our brand.
GRAPH onenimman, located in a high-congested tourist area, is a speed bar. This place is where we serve most of our signatures, and by far the most popular among our coffee shops.
Currently, our 6 shops under 3 brands are the 3 models that can be developed further as they cover different groups of customers.
In the near future, we aim at a joint venture in countries like Korea and China where opportunity exists. Certain investors are in contact with us right now. So that is the direction we will grow into.