Mugen Group’s UCC expands into coffee kiosks

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star
Mugen Group�s UCC expands into coffee kiosks
Xpresso by UCC opens its maiden branch at the Petron station in Bel-Air.

As Millennials, Gen Zs perk up coffee demand

MANILA, Philippines — The Mugen Group‘s UCC Ueshima Coffee Philippines is taking a sip of the coffee kiosk business, recently unveiling XPRESSO by UCC, a new concept store for young coffee lovers on-the-go.

“UCC has been a very traditional Japanese coffee shop in the past 24 years...Today comes the opening of the new store known as XPRESSO,” Mugen Group president and CEO Hubert Young told The STAR in a recent interview.

He said this was in response to the meteoric rise in coffee demand through small to-go coffee concepts, driven by Millennials and Gen Zs who love to drink coffee but usually like it to-go because they are always off to school or to work.

XPRESSO’s maiden branch, which opened on Wednesday last week, is located at the Petron station in Bel-Air, Makati, targeting the young employees and residents in nearby buildings or condominiums.

While other coffee industry players introduced the coffee kiosk business ahead of UCC, Young is unfazed.

In fact, he said, they allowed it to happen as they opted to study the market first when small coffee shops sprouted in different parts of Metro Manila.

With XPRESSO by UCC, the Mugen Group offers premium coffee, as what UCC coffee is known for, at affordable prices.

“We’re coming in and we’re saying this is what coffee is, whether you like it concocted cold or not,” Young said.

With the tagline “A Sip of the Rising Sun,” XPRESSO aims to provide a delightful and convenient coffee experience for Filipinos.

“XPRESSO by UCC is more than just a coffee kiosk; it is a testament to our commitment to providing you with the best quality coffee, quickly and conveniently,” Young said in his speech during the launch.

The new concept store’s menu also includes non-coffee varieties, which are all designed to be ready-to-carry for customers on their way to school, work or home.

Prices range from P60 to P180 for beverages and P70 to P120 for food items.

“XPRESSO makes premium coffee accessible to everyone,” Young said.

The store’s design and branding are heavily influenced by Japanese pop culture and aesthetics, as can be seen in its logo, which consists of a red circle (similar to the Nissh?ki or Japanese flag) and the XPRESSO name, all contained within a stacked box.

According to the World Coffee Portal Research, the Philippines is the second largest individual coffee-consuming market in Asia, with 80 percent of Filipinos drinking an average of 2.5 cups a day. Japan comes in first place.

These numbers reflect that coffee is not just a pastime for Filipinos, but an integral part of their lifestyle.

With this in mind, XPRESSO by UCC seeks to serve Filipino coffee drinkers who are looking for new coffee offerings that don’t compromise on quality, Young said.

“As we move forward, we remain dedicated to our mission: to provide convenient coffee venues that serve the finest flavors of Japanese coffee at an affordable price. Each cup of XPRESSO coffee is a promise of quality and a moment of joy,” he said.

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