30 April 2008

Chai Latte, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Speaking of Chai, this is one of my all-time comfort drinks. I first got to experience this drink over 4 years ago when I was doing my research for an article on teas for Cathy Babao's Me Mag. The TCB&TL peeps were so helpful and very generously treated me to a cup of this hot, rich, creamy and foamy concoction of steeped black tea with vanilla cream powder, and 14 spices -- cinnamon, cloves, anise, nutmeg (I think?), etc. 

It was love at first sip. That very first taste took me back to Christmases past, cold and rainy nights, comfort after a heartbreak, tete-a-tetes with my late grandmother before the sun came up. It was probably the eggnog-y flavor, or the vanilla, but it was definitely magical.

This is as close as this coffee drinker can get to a glass of warm milk. I turn to this beverage everytime I need a dose of caffeine with a heart.

20 April 2008

Cafe Americano, Chaikofi

Found this new place on the 2L of Robinson's Galleria, along the wing that faces EDSA. You can't miss it because it's this free-standing mid-sized yellow and black structure that'll make you stop in your tracks if you've never seen it there before. There were also banners posted around it, showing some of their specials that made me remember that it was almost dinner time. It can seat about 50 people. Couldn't pin down their look -- funky, hip, cosmo, or asian with a hint of persian, even clubbish, with its semi-private area that has sheer black curtains enclosing it. They had some wall art with a fantasy, yellow submarine-ish touch, and the seats were cozy. Whatever, you can't mistake it for a yellowcab resto. Different enough to intrigue me. So I got the rest of the fam to agree to try the place out.

Their food was good --esp the adobo-rice (sorry for the segue) -- now I know they have to be asian: see, they had adobo and they also had pork and chicken sate. So maybe neo-asian? The prices were not too expensive for an unplanned dinner. Of course, I had to try the coffee, since the unique name called out to me before the smell of the food.

I wonder now, though -- is there chai tea in their coffee? I never got to find out. I didn't dare order a cappuccino or latte or mocha, since they didn't use, nor did they have any, non-fat or soy milk (I am lactose-intolerant). So I had to choose between a single or double-shot espresso, but I already had several cups of coffee by that time of the night, so ... what the heck, get the basic coffee, right? So I ordered an Americano.

The presentation was ok, in a no-nonsense crystal (or glass) cup-and-saucer set, which was meant to show that the coffee had a good color and was freshly-made (notice the froth). It came with a good-sized gingersnapish cookie (good thing, because the dessert we chose to order was --- "out of stock" Welcome to the Philippines!). The brew was relatively mild, just right as an ender for the heavy dinner, and the flavor was alright -- no bitterness that will make hair come out of your chest. Nothing to go jumping around about, but I won't say I was disappointed.

Nice alternative, especially if I find myself in that side of the mall, unwilling to walk to the center or the other end for my usual soy mocha or latte from Figaro. I will have to go back to find out if the cafe does have chai tea.

15 April 2008

Grande Soy Caramel Macchiato, Starbucks

Like I said, I planned on having another one of this refreshing iced drink variant, and I did... more than once, in fact.

The most recent one was last weekend, and I decided, as it was a really hot sluggish afternoon, to get a bigger size -- grande, I believe. I took my time with this one to enjoy the flavor, the chill -- no brain freeze with iced drinks! --, and the caffeine fix. What a way to snap out of my near-slumber state!

I was able to appreciate how -- and I had to hold back a bit -- if I allow the caramel that tops the drink to melt slowly through the ice and, swirling, blend with the black espresso, there won't be that adjustment of the straw as you try to hit the right level for the (a) sweet vanilla syrup (which, on its own reminds me of paracetamol syrup) with some bitter coffee with creamy soy milk, (b) colder, watered down bitter vanilla-flavored coffee with creamy soy milk, and (c) sweet sticky caramel. Once actually allowed to combine, and having been chilled by the ice as well, it becomes the perfect coffee drink for a hot day. 

And because I got a larger cup, there was more of this delicious thirst quencher and more buzz. Fabness!

09 April 2008

Brewed Coffee, Energy Lounge

Energy Lounge is on 4L, Crossroads Bldg.
Mo. Ignacia Ave., Quezon City, Phil.

Very strong, just the way I want coffee before my workout. I need coffee before hitting the gym because it gives me the boost of energy to begin my workout, and, as I learned from one of the reading materials posted in the gym on the same floor (Planet Infinity), having a cup at that specific time helps burn fat while doing the resistance and cardio exercises.

To help contrast the strong flavor -- or to complement it -- each cup of brew is served with a yummy, melt-in-your-mouth snow cookie. Just one, though, so it's safe. I choose to have it with a packet of creamer, (oops) which makes it just right for me. 

Fifty bucks a cup; super worth it. I see some people water their coffees down, so it's like a cup and a half for the same price. Other fab reasons to enjoy this coffee in this resto-lounge are, I get to (a) go online to surf, work, answer email, or chat -- wifi access comes free with anything you order, (b) read from of their selection of well-looked after fitness books, magazines, and daily broadsheets, or (c) watch a fave show on any of their 4 (if I remember right) TV sets.

05 April 2008

3-in-1 instant coffee, Pan de Manila's Cafe con Leche

As far as 3-in-1 coffees go, this is very good -- creamy and not very sweet. I discovered this on the shelves of the friendly neighborhood pan de sal place. I'll be happy to settle for this mix when there's no brewed coffee available. In our home, in spite of the many coffeemakers on the counter, the instant 3-in-1 varieties are a frequent choice over washing the different, sometimes delicate, components of a coffeemaker. Just boil some water, then voila! A taste (if not the same buzz) of coffee. Coffee helps wake me up. I am often nearly catatonic when I feel the need for coffee, so these are the times when instant works. Unfortunately, you'll be needing the buzz in -- you guessed it -- an instant as well.

P9.00 for each sachet. Not bad.