|▲ Sonmat Coffee / CEO Yu Hong-sun|
South Korean’s love of coffee seems to be surpassing rice. You might actually find a number of coffee shops on a single street from franchises to privates. Competition is fierce and many seem to come and go within a short period of time. Even franchises are not guaranteed to keep the business unless they keep upgrading competitiveness.
Sonmat Coffee or handmade coffee is a South Korean roasted coffee brand differentiated its survival strategy with customized coffee. The company uses coffee beans from the world to make it into each different taste and flavor to satisfy ever diversifying tastes of coffee lovers. Naturally, private owners are its main clients as franchises have their own standards and regulations.
Sonmat Coffee already has secured around 300 clients in the capital region alone and they are not only privately owned but also franchises and organizations like consumer cooperatives.
CEO Yu Hong-sun says “There are many coffee shops but not many are offering customized coffee. It is true that most blending companies develop and supply their own making. But we offer 100% made to or blending for consumers. This is our competitiveness. We currently have 100 lines of coffee and are capable of supplying 24 kinds of green beans.”
Yu had built 10 years of experience as a barista, distributor and product developer before establishing Sonmat Coffee in 2015. His diligence is well known among his clients who are likely to become regular once made a deal. His attention to detail not only applies to coffee but also to maintenance and repair.
To keep freshness of coffee, Yu keeps ‘on the day order, roasting and release principle’. Each coffee comes with a guidebook on how to enjoy better and how to keep once opened as well as helpful tips for coffee lovers. As the sales have been increasing steadily, Yu is pushing forward expansion and recently opened a new HACCP approved factory to meet the demand.
Yu, who has ambition to grow Sonmat Coffee as popular as major coffee franchise in near future, won the 2020 Korea Brand Leader Awards in the customized coffee category and also the 2020 Innovation Winner.
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