Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Jan: Brewing in Manila

I’m not a coffee lover or should I say coffee is not healthy for my heart.  But with a lot of shops brewing here in the city, should I still not give it a shot?  Coming from three-peat short trips in South Korea in just 10 months, I started to yearn for coffee.  Initially because cafes there are everywhere. 

In 2006, I had a drink with my colleagues in Max Brenner, Greenbelt.  That was the most expensive coffee I ever had, 500php for a cup of white chocolate.  This week (2013) I noticed that it also started brewing in Mall of Asia, but this time with more affordable price.  This is also brewing in other countries such as USA, Australia, Singapore and Israel.

Philosophy: Chocolate, more than any other food is integrated in to many aspects of our lives. It is a symbol of contradicting emotions and sensations. On one hand, it is the most romantic gift; on the other hand it is a commodity which is traded on the stock exchange. It is sold like a prestigious piece of jewelry carefully selected from a glass case but also as an addictive snack available at every corner store. It is tasted like a fine wine and licked off of fingers dipped straight in to the bowl. It is sexy, nostalgic, and forever an object of fantasy for children and grownup children. These diverse chocolate associations are the inspiration behind Max Brenner's new chocolate culture. (

Across Max Brenner’s location in MOA, is espressamente illy (which is also present in NAIA Terminal 3).  I got familiar with this shop when I saw it from Hong Kong International Airport and Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan. 
Origin: Francesco Illy founded illycaffè in 1933.  His 1935 invention of the illetta, considered the blueprint for modern espresso machines, revolutionized coffee preparation.  His innovative method of packaging, based on pressurization, enabled illy’s initial exports to Sweden and Holland during the 1940s.  Francesco Illy’s method remains the standard for preserving and enhancing coffee’s freshness during transport and storage.  (

Last year (2012), after attending an expo in SMX I got surprised when I saw a tarpaulin saying future site of “Caffe Bene”.
Their Story: It all began in April 2008 at Eastern Seoul where Caffe Bene's first-ever store was opened. Founded by Mr. Kim Sun-Kwon, who has been notable for his other successful franchise endeavors. Since then, Caffé Bene has grown to more than 800 stores making it the Largest and Fastest Growing coffee shop chain in Korea.  In fact since it started, almost every other day a Caffé Bene shop is opened – continually even today.  Conquering the Philippines, Filipinos can now rave about the difference of Caffe Bene and get acquainted with so much reasons why the Bene brand has grown this far.

Their Brand: Bene means "good or well". European feels accentuated by Korean touches. Friendly, warm and cozy ambiance. Various menus and great coffee! (

Of course I have my reason why I fell in love with Caffe Bene, I learn about this café from a commercial when I was in Seoul (June 2011).  It was initially endorsed by Song Seung-Heon (aka “Kuya Johnny” from Autumn in my Heart and Summer Scent) together with Han Ye Seul (but for me his partner looks like Kim Tae Hee, his co-star in My Princess which was aired in abs-cbn during that time).  [watch: ]  Their next commercials are with Keun-suk Jang (from Love Rain) [watch:] and Kim Tae Hee (actress from Forbidden Love and Love Story in Harvard) [watch:].

So there goes my Korean addiction?  There’s more - if you watched SBS’s Secret Garden (aired in the Philippines by GMA), then you are familiar about this famous “crème kiss” of Hyun Bin to Ha Ji Won [watch:], that was also filmed in Café Bene (read related article in

Next shop, Holly’s Coffee also brewing in the Philippines at food strip in Southmall, Las Pinas. 
Hollys Style: Hollys Coffee is an international specialty coffee company with headquarters in Korea. Established in 1998, Hollys Coffee is known for superior quality fresh coffee, hot and cold specialty drinks, a wide selection of breads and pastries, with a unique romantic interior design.
Hollys Coffee has 251 branches in Korea. It also has branches in the United States, Malaysia, Peru, and now in the Philippines.,
Latest addition to this café invasion - I passed by Upper McKinley Road in Taguig and surprisingly saw the future site of Café Pascucci.
History: Caffè Pascucci is an Italian coffeehouse chain. The first branch in the USA was opened in 2011. The locations in South Korea are run by SPC Group. []

Caffè Pascucci is another café I learned from Korea, but was not able to taste it there.  Indeed that Manila is getting globalized.  How I wish that other Korean cafes such as Coffine Gurunaru ( and Angel in us Coffee ( also brewed here, I miss it a lot! 

There are a lot of foreign coffee brands coming here in our country and we should not forget to be proud our own trademark, following are to name a few:
For whatever reason you are just chillin’ out there in any cafe, let’s drink to that!