In business, you don’t just need capital to get the wheels rolling, you also have to get those creative juices flowing so you can stand out from the competition. That’s exactly what an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) was able to achieve with his adorable coffee shop made from a repurposed phone booth in London.

OFW Opens Coffee Shop in London

Joel Carlos, an OFW in London, England opened The Manila Brew last February 8, 2022, with a repurposed phone booth. He dubbed his new business as “London’s smallest coffee shop.”

With just a few square feet of space, he was able to squeeze in everything he needed to run the coffee shop into that tiny phone booth.

manila brew
Photo credit: Esquire Mag

Just like any coffee shop, The Manila Brew makes popular coffee drinks like americano, latte, cappuccino, espresso, double espresso, macchiato, mocha, and flat white. Non-coffee drinkers can also find something to drink from the shop: soda (softdrinks), hot chocolate, hot tea, and bottled water.

But this tiny coffee shop isn’t just selling coffee, it’s a mini sari-sari store, too. Just not much. You can buy various snacks and food items, including cup noodles that are displayed on the phone booth’s door.

manila brew
Photo credit: Esquire Mag
Photo credit: Esquire Mag

If you’re craving some Pinoy food, you can pair your coffee with some ensaymada. But the coffee shop also serves cookies.

Carlos shares that many of the people who drop by his shop are more curious about the shop itself. They would be asking for interviews or are there to take photos but not to buy coffee. But this OFW isn’t giving up. We sure hope his sales will pick up soon.

Photo credit: Esquire Mag
Photo credit: Esquire Mag

About The Manila Brew’s Owner

A chef, Joel Carlos moved to London in 2003. But he also served as an online university lecturer at PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines).

He quit his full-time chef job to focus on business. However, this is something new for him.

Photo credit: Esquire Mag

Although I have extensive experience in the food industry, I am not that good in the beverage side of the business. Learning is never-ending. I (am still learning) the art of coffee and tea preparation. The competition is very tough here. We have to make something different,”He explained.



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