By Vernon Velasco
I READ somewhere that somebody’s not going to condescend dating someone who considers 3-in-1 as coffee. As to why, I don’t know. I surmise it’s because 3-in-1 is cheap, because 3-in-1 is instant, because 3-in-1 is nothing but sugar and sugar is bad for the heart.
But I learned that sharing a conversation over a cup of the real joe can also spell disaster, at least based on my experience. I invited a college “crushmate” to try with me a then-newly opened quaint coffee shop in the outskirts of the city that got raves as being “the best in town.” We both ordered the signature brew and, upon the first sip, she bit her lip and that seemed promising.
“How’s the coffee?” I asked.
“Uhm, it’s so like you.”
That’s the thing about a cup of coffee: It’s a conversation-starter. Another thing about caffeine is that it kills your inhibition—in this case, the inhibition to confirm, once and for all, the feelings I early on knew were mutual.
“Like me?” I said. “W-What do you mean?”
The last time I went to a coffee shop, though, I went unaccompanied and I went to on business. The No. 1 coffee chain in the UK, Costa Coffee, opened its first shop at Eastwood Libis and I was treated to Costa’s signature flat white, and mushroom and melted cheese in flat bread, along with all manners of pampering by the host and the house staff.
What’s so special about Costa Coffee, I was told, is that you could differentiate the sole coffee blend it uses, the Mocha Italia (a combination of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans), which is handcrafted, slow-roasted at a very low temperature, and created according to Costa’s 40 years of unadulterated tradition of doing things.
A bevy of ice-blended drinks, called Frostino, has been exclusively developed by Costa for the Philippines.
The habitué could either get the Mocha Cookie or Strawberry Pavlova—“Or me [cute barista]”—when you’re not in the mood for an Americano or cappuccino.
London-inspired, the Costa ambiance smells of Europe and draped with UK iconographies
and heritage, the Costa roasting facility and farm estates serving as the backdrop.
Coffee shops in the UK look basically like a gentlemen’s club, conservative, classic and replete with leather seats and dark furniture, the kind you see in noir films when bad guys pounce and breach into the barroom.
But, here, the dour-ish, suave-ish sensibility is refinished, and the design and space now speaks of what they call “the Metro design,” characteristic of more vibrant furniture and punctuated by some Philippine heritage pieces, like the brick wall panel made out of Mount Pinatubo lahar.
And there was a long-table centerpiece made out of salvaged wood from Sierra Madre, which I had all to myself. Intimacy my ass. Because I ordered the flat white and got just the right sweetness I wanted, with nary a pinch of sugar—nor a coffee mate I realized right there I don’t need in my life.