Serving 1000 Cups of Coffee
From a hobby of collecting cups as a teenager, Mr Michael Kijjambu found use of them when he opened his 1000 Cups coffee shop on Buganda Road about five years ago.
The professional food scientist with a graduate degree now specialises in coffee and calls himself a 'self-trained business man'.
How it all begun
Kijjambu ventured into the coffee business by a stroke of luck.
"It was by accident. I walked into a coffee shop in Brussels (Belgium) and was fascinated by the concept of coffee and it's versatility. It was served cold, hot, blended, flavoured, spiced and many different ways."
Why 1000 cups...
"When I returned home, I opened a coffee shop and named it 1000 Cups; just to illustrate that coffee can be served in several unique ways [a thousand options to taking coffee]."
Five years later, 1000 Cups has a huge clientele base and is still loyal to coffee. "Because of our quality coffee, different hotels and restaurants learn from us how to prepare the best coffee, and we have since started training people on preparing, roasting and brewing coffee," he says.
Besides selling the beverage, 1000 Cups also sells assorted coffee equipment for roasting, brewing among other things.
Kijjambu says, "We also introduced a 'coffee safari' for customers; the journey of a coffee bean from the garden to the table so as to broaden their understanding of the beverage and to stir more passion about it."
Creating a lasting brand
Kijjambu says, "Our tag line is 'a cup for every nation' because we believe that no matter where you come from or who you are, you can find your type of coffee here."
Speaking of challenges, Kijjambu points out that despite the fact that there is a lot of coffee in Uganda, the culture and concept of drinking coffee is not widespread. "It is a huge problem to get the majority of the local people actively involved in consuming coffee."
Kijjambu would like to open more 1000 Cups branches and see more people drinking coffee. "My dream is for a greater coffee-drinking culture in the country. If every individual in Uganda takes a cup of coffee at least once a day, the industry would grow faster than we could imagine and spur the growth of the economy."