Meet Umaga Café
We are so excited to share with you about Umaga Cafe, and the husband-wife duo behind the first Filipino coffee shop in Bakersfield. ICYDK, umaga means 'morning' in Tagalog. You might find some of their tea included in our Balikbayan and Royal(tea) themed snack boxes!
In their own words...
'Umaga Café was established in January 2020, just a couple of months before the global pandemic. Our business was founded by a husband and wife couple who are both nurses. We became creative in how our business can continue to thrive while still serving as frontliners in the community. We began introducing our products to the community through pop-ups, and utilized our website and social media accounts to strengthen our online presence and promote our business.'
What inspired you to become food business owners?
Nursing is a rewarding profession, but it is very demanding and stressful. There was a point in time when we were burnt out and wanted to have an outlet to maintain a healthy balance. We’ve always wanted to venture to something that is as meaningful as nursing.
I’ve always dreamed of having my own simple cafe and my husband (Jeremy) has always supported me. We found out that the Philippines was one of the top producing coffee in the past but for some reason, farmers didn’t have the resources to keep up with the production of high quality coffee beans. Hence, most people know that coffee is coming from other countries such as Columbia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, etc. We wanted to contribute to help Philippine coffee be recognized again as a country that produces high quality coffee.
Why did you want to highlight the food you are creating?
I love food so much and I have a passion for creating unique things, so we decided to use Filipino flavors and infuse it with popular desserts. We also realized that our children (who were born in the states) are quickly growing up and know little about their roots. We both agreed to have a café that highlights Filipino culture. We believe that representation matters and wanted to be a part of this movement by capturing people’s attention to help bring Filipino food to the main stream food scene, especially here in Bakersfield.
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
I love anything ube, no doubt about that... but Ilocos bibingka (ricecake popular in the Ilocos Region) is one of my favorites! It reminds me of how amazing my childhood was. My folks believed that sharing sticky desserts with family and friends make your bond stronger.
What does courage mean to you?
Courage is being bold about your conviction. It’s the loud voice screaming within you that forces you to act on something you really want. It’s the leap of faith that something good will come out of this belief, even when no one else thinks it's possible. It’s like subjecting yourself to criticisms and hardships, but surviving all of it.
Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?
Our long-term goal for Umaga is to be able to remain true to our mission. We want to see the cafe continue to grow and prosper. With God’s blessing, we hope to be able to establish another branch in a different location.
Thank you so much Umaga Café for sharing their story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
If you or someone you know wants to share their story with us, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for future stories and the newest products by subscribing to our mailing list.