He is homegrown and multi-talented. James Koh is realistic to a fault and that’s how he approaches his business ventures. He chooses the locations for his Hometown Hainan Coffee outlets based on enhancing lifestyle of a community rather than fighting with competitors.
If you get to sit James Koh down for a chat, you would find that you could hardly get a word in. And you wouldn’t need to.
James Koh, at 38, seems like he has already lived a lifetime as the events in his life includes witnessing the twin towers fell on 9/11, founding Hometown Hainan Coffee (a local chain of coffee outlets), dabbling in blockchain cryptocurrency and having a foot in the film-making business.
He confesses that there isn’t a moment that he doesn’t think about business and his mind frames everything he sees into business opportunities.
After a short-lived career in Wall Street, New York, James came home and subsequently went into business with his family to start Hometown Hainan Coffee 10 years ago.
Birth of Hometown Hainan coffee
“We had intended to buy an existing franchise but found that we couldn’t afford that. Our hometown was in Kuantan and we missed the taste of the hainan coffee there. So the family decided that we should start a business to bring back the taste of good coffee and food from home,” said James.
The siblings embarked on the business venture collecting recipes from relatives and working to perfect the taste of the original Hainan coffee. Finally after two years, the business rolled out to assert its presence in the coffee scene.
“Hainan coffee has a longer history (compared with other local coffee) and we wanted to bring this traditional coffee into a local setting,” James assures that the coffee taste is similar to that of 30-40 years ago.
Quality control, he insists, is a priority and across the 14 outlets, the coffee beans are ground just before the coffee is brewed in a special machine that maintains quality.