CAFÉ HAU is a great coffee shop with a purpose here in Changwon. I sat down with Cecile Hwang and Gyunghee Moon to ask some questions about this unique place.
Café Hau is a great place for coffee. What is your history?
After meeting Seoul City Mayor Park Won-Soon at a lecture about social enterprises and grassroots organizations in April of 2011, Prof. Moon Gyunghee (Dept. of International Relations, Changwon National University) was inspired to work on a project. Four other members joined –Hye Yeon, Tae Hyeon, Sujin (Changwon University graduates) and Cecile Hwang (English instructor) and the Hau project was born.
The word “Hau” means “a good gift” in Vietnamese and “the spirit of giving” in Maori language, and its meaning is significant to what the group wants to do—that is to share a good space with good food/coffee with the local community and give back something to society. Hau submitted a business proposal to Gyeongnam Social Enterprise Support Center and was chosen as one of the teams for “Young Social Entrepreneurs Business Development” Program by the Gyeongnam Provincial Government in June of 2011. In March of 2012, Café Hau coffee shop in Yongho-dong was opened. In June of the same year, Hau Social Enterprise Incorporated was established, and in December, Hau received a “Special Award in Communication” from the Office of Minister of Special Affairs for promoting communications among multicultural families. In March 2013, Café Hau celebrated its first year anniversary, and is still going strong.
What would you say is the café’s specialty?
Café Hau’s specialty is hand-drippred coffee. We don’t use espresso machines. We brew our coffee from Kalita pots only. We have three varieties of Arabica coffee: Mexican Chiapas, Kopakabi from Rwanda, and Pangkhorn from Thailand. We only serve Fair Trade coffee, and our coffee beans are roasted by a local roaster regularly, which guarantees freshness in every cup. At Café Hau, we use organic and fair trade products only. We also have vegan cookies, organic cheese cakes, chocolates, and a variety of locally produced teas and fruit juices.
Café Hau is more than just a coffee shop. What makes it special?
What makes us special is the fact that we are the only social enterprise coffee shop in Changwon, serving fresh roasted, fresh ground, high quality coffee at all times. We have friendly staff and excellent baristas, and we provide a space that encourages communication, social interaction, and creation. We also do our best to integrate with the local community by supporting local events and activities by different organizations. We also have special classes such as the recently concluded “Barista Class” for the “Association of the Disabled”. We also hold special events at the coffee shop, such as flea markets and single’s parties. Recently, we have started a fund-raising campaign for the flood victims of the super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We also do catering services. Café Hau definitely does more than serve coffee.
What kind of staff do you have? Do people volunteer?
Café Hau is lucky to have a staff composed of hardworking, dedicated, and socially-conscious people. As of now, we have a total of 10 staff members—2 managers, 1 baker, 3 baristas, 1 accountant, and 3 part-timers (2 Changwon University students and 1 foreign spouse from Kyrgyztan). We also have Prof. Moon Gyunghee and Cecile Hwang as advisors. Sometimes, we get help from friends who come to help us and volunteer their time whenever necessary. We are very thankful for that, really.
I noticed that you have a great room in the back. What do you use that for?
Café Hau is proud to have a seminar room, a space we designed for anyone who needs to use it, provided that they order drinks. The room is available for use after making a reservation. It has a beam projector, a screen, speakers, and a seating capacity of up to 30 people. This room is very popular among our clients. We have people who use it on a regular basis, like ukulele club, English club, local theater group, and other study groups.
The artwork seems to always be different, do you have local artists do work for you?
In support of local artists and photographers, we put their art work and photos on display in the coffee shop. Some of our art pieces and pictures are donated by friends and supporters. We encourage and welcome people to display their art work at the coffee shop. We’ve had sculptures, paintings, and even hand-painted fabric and Hanbok on display before. People can put up posters or announcements and sell tickets for their events at the coffee shop. Café Hau is an open space for people, and we welcome those who need a space to advertise their events.
//Posted by Heather Henrichs, Changwon Reporter Blogger