Sip your way to wellness with ‘Starkaffea’

The Philippines has seen the incredible rise of Pinoy businesses in recent years as they have achieved success on a global scale. Starkaffea Corporation, the manufacturer of Kaffea and Chocolea, has joined the ranks of these prosperous companies.

Thelma Gecolea, a former journalist and scholar from the University of Technology in Sydney, is the marketing leader of this relatively new player in the industry.

Gecolea, who now serves as a public affairs officer for the European Union delegation to the Philippines, is also a co-owner of the brand. She recently made an appearance on Daily Tribune’s Spotlight, where she discussed her entry into the coffee and chocolate business.

Gecolea recalled how she got in touch with a former student at the Centro Escolar University, where she used to teach part-time.

“I reconnected with my former student, Cheng Pabilonia, before the pandemic,” she said.

Pabilonia, who had just started a coffee business called Starkaffea, invited Gecolea to join her venture.

Gecolea, who loves chocolate, agreed to take part under the condition that they also create a chocolate brand.

As a result of extensive research and development, Chocolea, an original beverage enriched with coconut sugar, was developed during the pandemic.

“Chocolea was born,” shared Gecolea, pointing out that aside from the fact that it rhymes with her name, “choco” indicates chocolate and “lea” means bearer of good news in Greek.

This unique beverage was the country’s first coconut sugar-sweetened chocolate.



The benefits of using coconut sugar in chocolates were discussed by Gecolea. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than the standard table sugar. Chocolea is a fortified beverage that appeals to health-conscious people, particularly those with diabetes. It is rich with vitamins A, C and calcium.

Gecolea said that although the beverage is a healthier alternative, people should still consult their doctors.

When asked about what makes Starkaffea unique, she said that it wasn’t just about the taste but also about their dedication to using top-notch products.

With 10 unique components and fortified nutrients, their products are designed to revitalize and fortify users. “It’s the taste and the ingredients,” she affirmed.

Starkaffea also aims to help local farmers.

Gecolea, who comes from a family with a diabetic history, saw an opportunity to make a drink with ingredients available locally, such as coconut sugar from Davao and other provinces. Her advocacy, which she formed while working with the EU delegation, is in line with the brand’s commitment to assisting farmers.

Starkaffea also got assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology. Starkaffea also acquired a US distributor, extending its market reach and establishing a presence in San Francisco.

Products from Starkaffea are available in selected stores, including Real Food PH and the Kultura locations at SM malls. It has also increased its reach to San Francisco, thanks to Shopify and “Cafe Gold USA” Facebook page.

Customers can their place orders at