Coffee Talk: The Library Cafe

Starting a new posts series called ‘Coffee Talk’ where I will be featuring Q&A with cafe owners, coffee roasters, home brewers and coffee enthusiasts, which will hopefully foster constructive discussions on Brunei’s coffee scene and culture. First on the series is Q&A with Reza Mustappa of The Library Cafe.

Opened in September 2015, The Library Cafe is a cozy place with wall-length shelves filled with random selection of books. It’s a perfect place for individuals who want to read or work while enjoying a cup or two.

What is the history behind The Library Cafe?

  • My family had been thinking about starting up a business for a while. One day we were talking about my father’s book collection and how we needed more space for them. Then it hit us; why not put all those books in a place where people can read them all while enjoying some light food and drinks. To add to that, it just so happened that Brunei was seeing a rise in cafes due to the coffee wave. It just felt right to make that as one of our priorities so customers have more to look forward to.

The concept of the cafe is interesting. Can you elaborate on why you choose this concept?

  •  We were really into the idea of a cafe filled with books that you can’t really get here. And it made sense to start with the resources we already had. The culture of reading is not as we would like it to be here, so with this we’re hoping to at least make it a place where people feel comfortable to read a book in a public place. In the bigger picture, we hope that our books can inspire people and instill that desire to read.
What is your vision for The Library Cafe?
  • We simply hope that we are able to sustain our business while still aspiring for what we want to offer. One day we hope that the cafe will be able to give you a one-of-a-kind experience, somewhere you feel you are in a different mindset. Where the combination of a good cup of coffee, a good book and a good atmosphere may encourage your mind to come alive.
Would you ever think about opening a second location and where would it be?
  • It depends, although a second location would most likely have a slightly different concept since we mostly carry our personal collection of books. If we were to choose a place however.. Maybe KB for its unique vibe. Easy-going and more relaxed. But anywhere with a nice view would be great.

What are your hopes for Brunei coffee scene and culture?

  •  I do hope everyone will learn to appreciate coffee more. I hope that the cafes somehow find a way to work with each other, especially with the amount of cafes popping up.

What advice would you give to someone who is dreaming of opening their own coffee shop?

  • Always think about the value you can give a customer. Whether it be in the small details or big ones, even to the extent of imagining what a customer would experience from the moment they open the door. Always remember what it is you want to offer that no one can. Often times the small things make a big difference

Brunei Times has also written several articles on the cafe, you can find out about them more here and here. Details of the cafe is as follows:

Location: Unit 6, Block C, Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap

Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00 – 21:00, Fridays 15:00 – 21:00

Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelibrarycafebwn/

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