23 November 2008

Cafe Americano, Cordillera Coffee, University of the Philippines

Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Q.C.

My husband and I took our son to U.P.'s Vargas Museum to view some of the works of Amorsolo and his contemporaries during WWII, part of the Amorsolo Retrospective 7-Museum Exhibition. It was a school requirement, but a good time as any to infuse some culture into our weekend. 

It was such a treat for me to discover an al fresco coffee place right there at the left corner of the museum calling to me as we got off our vehicle. Cordillera Coffee, hmmm, seeing it printed on all the canvass umbrellas over each table. I've heard and read only good things about this coffee brand so far Coffee for a cause, if I recall. I just had to try it. The thought of savoring a steaming cup of the local brew didn't leave my mind throughout our educational half hour or so in Vargas Museum's 2nd floor. Sorry F.C. Amorsolo, sir. So right after re-claiming my purse at the reception area, I headed straight for the cafe.

Ok, I won't get too effusive about the service, which was not so great, or the food, which was not so great, but the ambience -- how cool can it get? Right outside a University Museum and with lush greenery running along the driveway parallel to the side dining area? Beautiful wooden tables and chairs, and runners with the unmistakable weave and colors of the North adorning each table. No smoking allowed, even if it was outdoors. I see why. It's a good venue for quiet talks, post-exhibit discussions, moments of solitude, writing, or just finding some creative inspiration.

The coffee? Super! I got an Americano, and it was delivered to our table with steamed milk and muscovado. I was not disappointed at all. It was full-bodied, looked like it was very strong, but was actually very flavorful, and almost cocoa-ish. It didn't have any of that sour aftertaste of some full-bodied coffees I've had. A really pleasurable brew.

Now I know. I'll definitely crave for this coffee, so I know I'll be back there. I will absolutely get myself a pack of their coffee for my own use at home next time.
I wish, though, that  I didn't have to take so much time setting up for the photo. By the time I took the shot, the froth had already began to subside. My apologies.

Christmas Specials, Starbucks

I love little reminders that Christmas is coming. One of them would be Starbucks Coffee's Christmas Specials (or whatever they call them). Allow me to do a top 5 here even just for this single entry in my caffeine fix section. Though they've been available for some weeks now, I didn't rush to try them out as I used to. Nor do I have any compelling reason to go get a cup every day. Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. There wasn't much fanfare. At least I didn't get to hear of any fanfare.
2. The planner you get for free after consuming X number of a variety of Starbucks beverages is not as instantly appealing as those in the previous years. I only filled out a few pages from this year's planner, so I don't exactly see how I can use another set next year. I noticed there were more colorful pages and beautiful illustrations in this year's offer, and it's less bulky, and -yay!- they brought back the ballpoint pen. But I think I can do without one in 2009. What if... they try doing away with lined pages next year? Then we can actually doodle and do mind maps and such.
3. Didn't they already offer the Toffee Nut Latte before the season began? It's not that special then.
4. The Praline Mocha is not such a great Christmas beverage. It's good and you can really appreciate the extra nutty flavor, and it offers a good break from my usual soy mocha, but it doesn't take me to any Christmas place or bring about any feeling of Christmas, unlike the Gingerbread Latte and the highly popular Peppermint Mocha (to mention just a couple) of seasons past.
5. The Dark Cherry Mocha is good, but nothing I would look forward to having everyday, every other day, or even once a week.

Sorry, didn't mean to come across as a disgruntled customer. *gasp* Am I turning into a scrooge?! I was just hoping they would have better coffees to offer. But, to each his own Christmas fave. I say, bring back more Christmas-y Coffee specials!
Bring back the Gingerbread Latte!

07 November 2008

Smooth brew, Krispy Kreme

I'm not a doughnut person, but once in a while, I figure, what the heck, if I have just one, all that sugar, grease, and white flour can't kill me. I can even enjoy it, especially if I have just one and most definitely when it comes with good coffee. 

Krispy Kreme has this Arabica blend that is freshly brewed, quite strong, but very good. They call it, "smooth". It so makes up for all the sugar in even just their regular glazed donut. I was told that they use a robusta for their decaf, so either way, you get good coffee to complement your donut.

I thought the day would never come for me to visit a Krispy Kreme branch more than once a year, but, well, it has come. Because of their full-bodied, freshly brewed coffee. Now the challenge will be staying away from their donuts, because you need something to complement the strong brew. *sigh*... chicken and egg.