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Just Coffee

Recently, our retail group opened the first branch of Caffeena, a minimalist coffee shop focused on one thing only — allowing you to get your good, quality caffeine fix. It is as straightforward a coffee shop as you can get. Get your high-quality coffee drink, sit down in a cozy corner then work, people-watch, or just stare into nothingness. No frills.


I usually hold my meetings in my coffee shops. If I have no meetings, I like to just sit down, have my coffee and observe.


This habit of mine has been made more difficult lately because my hyperacidity which precludes me from having my normal dose of coffee for the whole day. But just like a good patient, I still drink coffee even if it triggers my hyperacidity. Some things are just too good to let go. I can stay away from other foods that cause hyperacidity but not coffee.


Anyway, I like observing my surroundings. I like observing people. In the thousands of times that I have been to coffee shops, I have observed how different people enjoy their coffee. For instance, there are the solitary coffee drinkers — individuals who go to our coffee shops alone. They would order a cup of joe, sit in a corner and just enjoy their drink alone with their thoughts. Some are focused into their mobile phones while some are just happy to enjoy their moment of solitude.


There are those who come in a group and there are two types. The typical bunch is a group of friends who order coffee and share stories till kingdom come. Sometimes they let out a loud laugh or a roar that invites stares from the quiet crowd. Then there are those who come in as a group but retreat to their solitary selves and their phones. They might as well be alone. But hey, different strokes for different folks.


There are those who use coffee shops as their office. They come in and order a large cup of joe, scout for a table that is near an electrical outlet so they can juice up their laptops. They settle in and type away — sip, type, sip, type — it is the modern workforce at work. There are of course those who use the coffeeshops as their boardroom. Oftentimes, I would see a group of office workers gathered together in a long table focused on one of their colleagues who is presenting something to the group.


This should not be a problem in Caffeena with its numerous electrical outlets, comfy seats, lowered tables and an ambience conducive to just focusing on whatever it is you want to do.


Sometimes we enjoy places that has an eclectic decor like Coffee Project. Every time I go to our different branches, I see something different. Something I have never noticed before. I like that sense of surprise and wonder. But there are times when we just want something simple and minimalist.


This is the reason why I go to coffee shops for meetings. Even before we put up the first branch of Coffee Project, I would meet my team in the various coffee shops in Metro Manila. There is so much variety. You have a lot of options. If you get tired just step out for awhile and enjoy the ambience. I do not know if it is the smell of coffee or the actual caffeine but my brain works better in these settings.


And this is the reason why we put up Caffeena and why we will continue to expand our coffee shop branches. Whether you are the solitary type of coffee drinker or the kind who conducts meetings or work in cafes, you need to have the option to get to a really nice, quality coffee shop. I believe that our coffee enthusiasts deserve world class cafes where they can enjoy high quality coffees and the perfect ambience.


I remember a TV sitcom called Cafeteria Aroma with Apeng Daldal, Minyong Villegas and Manok. It was actually based on an actual coffee shop named Cafe Aroma located at the corner of Recto and Avenida.


Theater performers, stage crews, artists, writers from the Manila Opera House would gather there to share stories over a cup of coffee. Sadly, we don’t have those historic places anymore.


But that should not prevent us from opening up new cafes that are more in tune to the tastes and dispositions of a young generation of coffee drinkers.



Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar