Love for Vietnam: Where it all begins...

WVR - The notable presence of Mr. Luai Alqattan's Vietnamese-themed coffee shop in Kuwait, which opened over two months ago, reinforces the appeal of Vietnamese products and culture among the people there.
Quán cà phê Việt Nam đầu tiên tại Kuwait - cột mốc tiếp nối hành trình đặc biệt
Vietnamese coffee Coffilia's exhibition stand at a Fair in Kuwait. (Photo: Coffilia)

Launched during Kuwait's season peak for outdoor activities, Mr. Luai Alqattan's Coffilia coffee shop has gained more visibility on social media and garnered positive responses from customers.

From a farm in Vietnam's Northwest...

As an enthusiast of Vietnamese culture and products, Mr. Luai Alqattan, desiring to bring Vietnamese products to Kuwait, fortuitously met Mr. Nguyen Minh Thang, the CEO of Coffilia Coffee Company, at an event.

Given that the people of Kuwait spent over 236 million USD on coffee in 2022, entering the coffee business seems to be a lucrative opportunity, one that Mr. Luai has embraced. His interactions with the Coffilia team and research into Vietnamese coffee led him to visit their coffee farm in Son La province.

“Witnessing the coffee cultivation, harvesting, and production processes made me believe in Coffilia's potential to captivate Kuwaiti consumers,” said Mr. Luai. “After that visit, Coffilia and I signed a cooperation agreement, initiating Coffilia's venture into the Gulf region.”

Exporting the Vietnamese coffee brand has always been a key strategic goal for Coffilia. The unique dynamics of the Gulf market, particularly Kuwait, have made the collaboration with Mr. Luai more intriguing and fruitful.

Mr. Thang shared that the partnership with Mr. Luai in developing the Coffilia brand has become more effective over time, thanks to open communication, whether through messages or in-person meetings. Through Mr. Luai, Mr. Thang and his team gained insights into the Kuwaiti coffee market, while Mr. Luai's understanding of coffee shop operations was enhanced by Coffilia's expertise.

Love for Vietnam: Where it all begins...

Coffilia’s Signage Being Installed in Kuwait Before the Café’s Opening. (Photo: Coffilia)

…to final agreement in Kuwait

Initially, Mr. Luai Alqattan helped distribute Coffilia's coffee in Kuwait through order placements. His clients highly appreciated the Vietnamese coffee brand and expressed eagerness for a Coffilia café in this Gulf country.

Following the Horeca Fair in March 2023 - a significant event for the restaurant, hotel, and café industry in Kuwait - the demand became more pronounced. Several locations were considered for the first Coffilia café in Kuwait, eventually selecting the Al-Kout Beach Hotel, located near Mahboula, a neighborhood with a significant Vietnamese expatriate community.

Situated along the scenic east coast of Kuwait, the Al-Kout Beach Hotel is an ideal location, given Mr. Luai's expertise in providing services for hotel and outdoor events.

The official agreement for the Coffilia café venture between Coffilia and Mr. Luai Alqattan as a legal entity was signed on September 24, 2023. One month later, the grand opening of Coffilia was warmly received by many Kuwaiti citizens and international friends. For coffee enthusiasts, experiencing the taste of Vietnam was a joyful occasion. Currently, the café operates seven days a week, from 7 AM to 11 PM, with a steady flow of customers.

Seizing the opportunity during Kuwait's peak season for outdoor activities, Mr. Luai Alqattan has actively participated in fairs and exhibitions to promote the brand among Kuwaitis. Familiar Vietnamese coffee varieties like Bac Xiu, iced milk coffee, and salted coffee are gradually adapted to local tastes, using Coffilia's coffee beans.

Love for Vietnam: Where it all begins...
Mr. Luai Alqattan at the Coffilia Café in Kuwait. (Photo: Coffilia)

Mutually beneficial relationships and successes

Reflecting on the journey, Mr. Luai Alqattan is deeply moved. He is now learning more Vietnamese phrases to better serve his Vietnamese customers and is planning to expand the brand by opening more outlets. For Coffilia, the first café has provided significant momentum to accelerate their international expansion plans under the leadership of CEO Nguyen Minh Thang and his team.

Mr. Luai Alqattan is not the only one keen on introducing Vietnamese cuisine to Kuwait. Locals can now enjoy traditional Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls, fried rolls, and pho at Republique restaurant, located in the heart of Kuwait City. Moving forward, through cultural diplomacy activities, the Vietnamese Embassy and Trade Office in Kuwai continue to explore opportunities to introduce more signature Vietnamese dishes to the local population.

Above all, these "sweet fruits" are born out of a deep affection for Vietnam, as Mr. Luai once shared: "To effectively promote Vietnam, we should start with those who have genuinely experienced the country. Once we identify a group that shares this affection for Vietnam, the task of promotion becomes much easier.”

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Translated by Trang Linh