Gen Z who failed to get accepted to dream university now manages own coffee shop


This Gen Z from Taguig is a living proof that when a door closes, another one opens.

Kezia Gene Orhen failed to secure a spot in her dream college institution. But when the COVID-19 happened, she started her own coffee business.

“Before establishing a business hindi talaga ako nakapasok to any college [or] university. ‘Yung iba kong mga batchmates, nagsimula na sila. nagpipicture na sila sa dream university nila and then wala ako. Gusto ko talagang maging aeronautical engineer. Isa lang kasi ‘yung pinasukan ko na school so I was so full of myself,” Kezia Gene Orhen told The Philippine STAR.

Instead of diving into too much sadness, Kezia thought of an idea to divert her attention from her academic heartbreak.

“I think it’s just one of my coping mechanisms na imbes na mag pity na lang sa self ko naghanap na lang ako ng ibang pinagkakaabalahan. Wala akong school so na bored lang talaga ako. Pero by that naman is naging blessing rin naman siya because nakilala ko or nakita ko ‘yung skills ko in entrepreneurial so I started Coffee Geney,” she said.

Kezia’s family is certified coffee lovers. In the middle of the lockdown, they wanted something new other than instant coffee. That’s the time when Kezia started crafting her own recipe.

“Nag-try lang ako ng one kilo of coffee but then ang dilemma naman is wala kaming coffee maker. We had to go to the process of boiling it and then straining it. Dun nagsimula ‘yung idea ko to have a coffee na easily brewing siya. I remember that time P5,000 lang talaga, ‘yun lang ang puhunan ko. [After] a month, nabalik ko na agad ‘yun and napalaki ko ‘yung business,” she recalled.

In June 2020, she launched Coffee Ganey with just ten kilos of coffee beans. She started selling coffee tea bags.

“Nakakakuha ako [ng orders] from [Facebook] Marketplace back then. It all started from 20 na coffee tea bags hanggang sa nagtuloy-tuloy na,” she added.

Kezia said that her family, friends and churchmates were her first customers and they showed interest in her products.

“Sila ‘yung nagsabing may potential, sila rin ‘yung tumitikim ng mga coffee ko, ‘yung unang nag-palpitate, ‘di nakatulog from the coffee that I made,” said Kezia.

After a few months, Kezia enrolled at a university and juggled her time between business and classes.

“Pumasok na ‘yung second term, nag-apply na rin [at] nag-enroll. Every step of the way, my family is very supportive of it. Kahit nung nalaman nila na wala akong college na pupuntahan they were so very comforting,” she noted.

Kezia stressed the importance of social media to her business.

“Naging malaki kami because of social media,” she said.

In April 2023, she opened her first physical store in Taguig.

“Nung 2021, one man team lang ako. Ngayon, meron na akong nine employees. At nakakabenta ng more than 100 cups of coffee per day. All the struggles, mga lessons, it is all worth it,” Kezia said.

Kezia hopes to inspire other Gen Zs to start building their own business.

“Age doesn’t matter if it is your calling, you have the will, you’re hardworking, and you’re passionate about it. Kapag nag-fail ka, iyak ka lang. Breakdown ka lang ng two seconds and then tayo agad,” Kezia said.

Janelle Lorzano
Janelle Lorzano
Janelle Lorzano likes long walks on the seaside and listening to people about their lives. When she isn't writing, she travels and discover new places.