This spring we’ve teamed up with Vans to highlight their new Anaheim Factory Collection and introduce you to a diverse group of artists, small businesses, and creatives from across Canada, making a positive impact on their community.

Mavi and Reika recently welcomed us to Intent coffee shop, where they’ve created an inclusive space for the QTBIPOC community in Edmonton (Amiskwaciwâskahikan). Over the past year the duo has built their business with the spirit of Bayanihan, a Filipino custom of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a common goal. Intent is actively advocating for inclusivity, empowerment, transparency and education through fair-trade, sustainable coffee.

Can you both give a quick introduction and what role you each play in Intent Coffee?

My name is Mavi! I have many roles at Intent but I mostly do barista training and admin work.
And my name is Reika! I do the supply runs and maintenance at the shop.

How did the concept for Intent Coffee come about?

Intent went through a lot of changes in concept. We went through high school together and the first thing that we bonded over was minimalism. So the first concept we had was having a minimalist coffee shop where everything we do has intention behind it. This is where we got the name for the shop!

We went to an arts high school where most of the students are queer. The school was a safe space for us but we were always looking for queer spaces to go to after school to hangout and just be with our community. Turns out that there are not a lot of options for queer youth to go to, as most queer spaces in the city are not accessible to youth, especially when you’re under 18. Most queer spaces in the city were bars. We were really frustrated with the fact that our queer community’s most vulnerable population didn’t have a space that they can call their own. This is why we wanted to make Intent a queer space.

In 2018, we started getting in touch with our Filipino roots and started decolonizing. We wanted to honour our roots by using Filipino coffee, serving Filipino pastries, and having Filipino aesthetic in the look for the shop. We also incorporated an ancient Philippine pre-colonial script called Baybayin in our branding. You can see this in our logos! To sum it up, Intent Coffee is a minimalist, Filipino and QTBIPOC coffee shop!

What are some of the core values of Intent and can you describe the mission to someone who is just discovering your business?

We value community building through the spirit of Bayanihan, which is a Filipino custom of communal unity, work, and cooperation to achieve a common goal. It’s all about being there for each other especially in times of need. We also value transparency in everything that we do. Our mission is to hire, invest, and empower marginalized people in coffee to create positive social and economic impact to the marginalized communities here in so-called Edmonton and as well as uplift Indigenous coffee producers in the Philippines.

Are there any current initiatives or projects you are working on that you are excited about?

Currently, we have two programs that are community centered. One is called the Bayanihan Fund which is a pay it forward fund. We use this money that is donated by the community to pay for drinks and pastries for folks who cannot afford them that come into our shop. Another one is a profit sharing program with local community centred organizations wherein we share a percentage of sales from certain items in our shop. We are also launching an IG live called “Kape Muna” which means “but first coffee” in Filipino. This is a live talk show on instagram where we’ll have brewing demos, talks about coffee, community, and culture. Our aim for this show is to spread coffee knowledge in an accessible way and most importantly, build and sustain community.

What other artists or businesses in Edmonton inspire you?

We are constantly being inspired by multiple businesses who are committed to building community such as the Grizzlar Coffee and Records, which is one of our coffee roasters and mentors. They have been supporting Boyle Street Community Services since they started. Our Bayanihan Fund was inspired by The Nook Cafe’s Suspended Coffee Program. They have been serving coffee and pastries to those who cannot afford downtown since they opened their doors. The QUILTBAG also inspires us by being a Queer centered retail shop!

As for local artists, we have many. Anna who makes these beautiful pieces using concrete, I’ll Call You Tomorrow which is an art collective & brand living between the cultural intersections of music, fashion & art. Chris Mercado and his beautiful film photography. Multi-disciplinary Black artist NASRA and Black country singer-songwriter D’orjay.
We are also constantly inspired by so many QT and BIPOC organizations here on Treaty 6 such us Shades of Colour, Beaver Hills Warriors, Turtle Island Edmonton, RARICAnow!, The Chew Project, All Cycles Edmonton, Anakbayan and so many more!

Where would you like to see Intent in the next 5 years?

We’d like to see Intent collectively owned by all the people who work here. We’d like to have a full, sit down cafe where we can host community events. We’d love to be able to start sourcing and roasting our own Philippine coffee with Indigenous coffee producers back in our homeland. We also want a coffee training lab where we can train at risk youth to become coffee professionals and have a career in the specialty coffee industry.

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"To be able to have a coffee that is Filipino grown, sourced, roasted, and brewed is powerful and radical considering the colonial history and legacy of coffee."

What makes your coffee unique? Tell us about the roast and the brewing methods you use?

We believe that all coffees are unique because coffee reflects the land and culture that it is grown in. We are so proud to be using and promoting Philippine coffee as it’s not getting the recognition it deserves. As Filipinos, we never usually get to taste the premium products that are grown in our islands because they get exported somewhere else. So to be able to have a coffee that is Filipino grown, sourced, roasted, and brewed by Filipinos is powerful and radical considering the colonial history and legacy of coffee.

As for roast, it depends on the coffee and our roasters. They tailor the roast to the type of coffee. Some coffees can be roasted lighter to highlight their fruitier/floral notes or darker to further develop chocolatey/nutty notes. Roasting is an art and science. At the shop, we do batch brew for folks who just want a quick and consistent cup, pour-over for those who want to try different kinds of coffee, and of course, espresso for people who want to taste the intensity and complexity of coffee.

What Vans are you wearing and why did you pick these styles?

We’re both wearing the Anaheim Factory Authentic. We both love simple and timeless design and the Anaheim style is just that. It’s also perfect for spring and summer!

Any shoutouts or any initiatives you'd like to promote?

We’d like to give a shoutout to Kapé Philippine Coffee in Vancouver, they’re our roasters for our Philippine Coffee and Kasama Chocolate also in Vancouver, who makes award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate made from Philippine cacao! Shoutout to our amazing QTBIPOC team for building and sustaining Intent with us. We wouldn’t be able to do all the things we do without them. The biggest shoutout to our local Filipino, QT, and BIPOC communities for believing in us and always having our backs since day one!

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