Founder/Managing Director, Malla Group of Companies
WakeCup Founder’s story
I am working and trying to improve the coffee sector of Nepal, based at Biratnagar. My focus is to promote and educate coffee consumers on Nepali specialty coffee.
I completed a Master of Science in International Business Development (MSc. IBD) in Switzerland in 2014. Every day, I passed through a coffee shop on the way to university. I always loved the smell of coffee.
My master thesis was on the system dynamic approach to understand poverty and child labour in Nepal. I came back to Nepal to be part of our country’s positive transformation.
I want to create jobs, instead of just finding my own, so that people do not have to leave their families in search of work in another country. Business is about creating value for sustainable development rather than focusing just on profit. For me, profit is only a by-product of good business operation. Business is more than just a profit…
The journey of coffee started before I even knew coffee. In my high school break in 2002, I went to our village in in Ilam with my dad. There were lots of tea gardens in Ilam district but I wondered why there was no coffee.
My dad always said, “Everything is possible if you try and do it.”
However, then the Gorkha earthquake of 2015 hit, with 7.8 magnitude near Lamjung province. It was felt throughout the central and eastern parts of the country. Rebuilding was essential.
In March 2017, I was in the U.S. and drank some very poor coffee from a big global brand. That cup of coffee started my obsession to achieve coffee excellency. I completed the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) green coffee course and SCA sensory course.
Seven months later, in October 2017, I started WakeCup Coffee in my hometown of Biratnagar, a capital of Province 1 in eastern Nepal.
We stick to our integrity to serve the best quality coffee to domestic and international markets.
Malla Abhinayak, WakeCup Founder & Owner
Starting WakeCup Coffee
Before setting up our coffee shop, we tried to convince other coffee shop owners to use organic, Nepali, specialty coffee beans. While the price is comparatively high, cafés can still earn a good margin with better quality coffee.
Most coffee shops in Nepal still use very poor commercial-grade Indian beans – mostly Robusta blended with some Nepali Arabica. It’s cheaper compared to pure Nepali beans (even non-specialty grade) and their margin per cup increases.
We believe that when consumers can recognise good coffee, the market will adapt to meet demand, discontinuing poor quality coffee. Demand for such beans rises, encouraging more farmers to grow high quality, organic coffee. The entire value chain will work together for better coffee.
The coffee market is relatively new in Nepal, and it is a challenge for us to change consumer perceptions. Nepalis still believe that good coffee is a strong, dark roast without aroma or a flavour profile.
WakeCup Coffee gives us an opportunity to educate consumers about quality coffee. We only serve Nepali specialty coffee beans sourced very carefully from our Ilam farm.
Growing the domestic coffee culture
Strategically, we started in the eastern city of Biratnagar, one of the largest cities in Nepal and the capital of Province no. 1. Here, the coffee market is still undeveloped and coffee shops are uncommon. We saw this as an opportunity to build our consumer base and educate people on quality coffee.
WakeCup was the first coffee shop brand in 2017 and triggered popular coffee culture in Eastern Nepal. Biratnagar is traditionally a tea-drinking city. We created the market for domestic coffee consumption and successfully changed consumer behaviour with our coffee.
Our focus has always been to promote specialty Nepali beans. WakeCup Coffee has become pop culture in Biratnagar.
We pledge to make a premium coffee experience for all coffee lovers by only serving specialty-grade beans (80+ cupping score).
WakeCup Coffee is part of the Malla Group in Nepal, which also includes Jewel Himalayan Products (JHP) and Jewel Himalayan Coffee Beans (JHCB).