Saturday, March 27, 2010


STARBUCKS KAPE VINTA BLEND is an earthy, full-bodied and smooth coffee that is roasted to perfection. Every sip is a delightful experience that pleases the senses. The discovery begins with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel.... and ends with a lingering hint of spiciness.
The Starbucks Kape Vinta Blend celebrates the marriage of coffee and culture. This exclusive blend was introduced in 1997; the same year that the first store in the Philippines opened at 6750 Ayala Makati. It is a bold combination of Philippines (particularly South Cotabato and Benguet) and Indonesian coffees with a great personality that captures the spirit and character of the tradition of the Philippines.
Mr Mauro "Malang" Santos created the coffee stamp which evoke excitement that both Starbucks and the Philippines share for great coffee and great people. With every cup of kape VInta Blend, the splendor of the culture of the Philippines lives on.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


A washed Starbucks exclusive coffee from Latin America that features light to medium body with sparkling acidity and refreshing finish. Starbucks has an exclusive relationship with the Bella Vista farm (Spanish word for beautiful View) and has been nurtured for more than 10 years. The farm is located in Tres Rios region near Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose and is grown with meticulous care and attention to every detail. The result is a coffee of rare refinement and quality.
Bella Vista F.W. Tres Rios Costa Rica is best paired with strawberries, peaches, lemon and citrus. Similar coffees are House Blend, Guatemala and Lemon.

* F.W. stands for the name of origiinal owner of the Bella Vista farm - Fritz Willig.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Have a cup of this coffee. As you take a sip, imagine the place that it came from. Imagine the hands that carefully planted, grew and harvested it. Imagine the lives this coffee has made better. This is STARBUCKS Fair Trade Blend Coffee.
A blend of washed Arabica coffees. Fair Trade is part of Starbucks ongoing commitment to coffee growers in origin countries. This blend is subject to flavor variations due to the availability of high quality Fair Trade coffees. Fair Trade certification increases farmer's income through forming cooperatives and linking them directly to coffee importers and assuring them a fair price for coffee. This allows them to have a more sustainable way of life.
Have another sip - it's a pat on your back. You just made one's life better.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Starbucks Shared Planet is Starbucks way of doing business in ways that are good to each other and the planet. From the way they buy coffee, to minimizing environmental footprints and being involved in the communities.

It is the buying and serving of highest quality, responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee to help create a better future for the coffee farmers and a more stable climate for the planet. Coffee must meet additional ethical sourcing requirements verified by Scientific Certification Systems to ensure that it is grown in a manner that protects the environment and gives back to farming communities.

Starbucks is comitted in minimizing their environmental impact, tackling climate change and inspiring others to do the same. As a key component of the commitment, all new company-owned stores worldwide be third-party certified green, using the LEED certified green building program.

Their committed to being a good neighbor and a catalyst for change by bringing together their employees, the customers and the communities.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


French Roast is a light-bodied blend of Latin American coffee and roasted very dark. This coffee is unique because aside from the light-bodied characteristic, it also possesses a low in acidity. During the roasting process, the tendency of the coffee is to gain body and reduce its acidity but when it reaches the darkest roast there's no acidity to reduce so the roasting process lessen even the body of the coffee. But eventhough French Roast has light-body, it is still categorized as Extra Bold in thebline-up because of its very intense smoky flavor brought by the Roasting process.

French Roast is the Starbucks darkest roast. It was called French Roast because the French are known before for roasting their coffee dark to hide its poor qualities. This coffee is best paired with toasted nuts, roasted vegetable and caramelized sugar and can be substituted by Starbucks Italian Roast if its not available.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Worth of the entire coffee industry in the Philippines : P21 Billion*
Worth of gourmet coffee industry in the Philippines : 2.1 Billion*
Number of stores in the Philippines :

Figaro - 65
Bo's Coffee - 34
Gloria Jeans- 29
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf- 22
Seattle's Best - 10

Number of coffee chain outlets - 400+
Growth rate of entire coffee industry : 2% annually
Growth rate of gourmet coffee industry : 20% annually
Amount needed by the government to sustain coffee industry : P200 million
Total Coffee Demands : 65,000 tons in 2009; 70,350 tons this year, 75,000 tons by 2015
Total Coffee Production : 30,000 tons
Coffee Producing Provinces : 22
Coffee Varieties in the Philippines: Liberica, Robusta, Arabica and Excelsa


Ilocos Norte
Negros Occidental
Sultan Kudarat
South Cotabato
Lanao Del Sur

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Cafe Verona is my 2nd most favorite Whole Bean coffee of Starbucks. It is a full-bodied blend of Latin American and Asia Pacific coffeess (Yukon Blend), with 20% Italian Roast. The first time I bought it about 2 years ago, the barista told me that it has a chocolaty flavor. But when I tasted it, I can't even taste a hint of choco. I found out that it is best paired with Milk chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Caramelized Sugar. You could also try Gold Coast blend as an alternative coffee.
There is this website I visited and found a story behind Cafe Verona. In the mid 1970's Starbucks began blending and selling whole bean coffee to a Restaurant named Jake O'Shaunessy's on lower Queen Anne. It was the very first "private label" for a restaurant and it was called Jake's Blend and nobody else had it on their menu. Customers started coming to the store and asked for Jake's Blend. Starbucks scooped out the coffees and weighed it on the scales and called it Jakes Blend. Starbucks sold enough of the coffee that they began to pre-blend and label the coffee 80/20. Starbucks added the 80/20 on their menu and if a customer asked for Jake's Blend they got 80/20 blend.
Baristas were told that if a customer asked the what Jake's Blend was, they were told it was a proprietary blend but much like 80/20 blend that was offered on the menu. When Howard Schultz bought the little company Starbucks, he wanted to trademark the name of all their coffees. For some reason, 80/20 Blend cannot be trademarked and so they renamed the coffee to Cafe' Verona. So the blend dates to about 1975 with the inception of Jake O'Shaunessy's, hand mixed in the stores and then pre-mixed under a different name on the whole bean menu board, but sold under two names and end up and finally trademarked with the enduring name Cafe Verona.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I went to another STARBUCKS Branch in Makati and i tried their new Full-Leaf Tea. The Barista showed me the laminated pamphlet to choose from their Full-Leaf Tea lineup. Since Earl Grey sounds good, I tried it. The Barista told me to drink it after 5 minutes because this is the standard steeping time of their full-leaf tea.
I went back to my seat and waited for 5 minutes. While waiting, I noticed that the Earl Grey Full Leaf tea has an amber red/golden brown color. The aroma is a bit citrusy because of the Bergamot essence included in the tea. After 5 minutes, I slurped the tea. Earl Grey is a heavy on the tongue so i decided to put milk in it. I again tasted it after mixing the milk and the taste is awesome. The body of the Earl Grey eventhough mixed with full-cream milk is still there. Most black teas, are like this that's why you can mix on it.
After the yummy tea drinking at Starbucks, I went back to my office and put the Earl Grey Full-Leaf Tea on one of my favorite beverages of Starbucks.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Fresh, Light, Vegetative Flavors.... This are some of the words to describe green tea. Pure Green Tea has a fresh, lively taste that is often described as vegetative. It is generally less brisk than black tea and is normally slightly sweet. Although both green and black teas are derived from the same plant, green tea's special flavor characteristics can be attributed to the lack of fermentation (oxidation) during its processing.
Once plucked, the leaves are steamed or been-fired to neutralize active enzymes and to stop oxidation.
Roiling is done by hand or by machine and gives the leaves their varied and distinctive shapes. Some leaves are rolled into thin, wiry forms, other into broader, flatter shapes.
Once rolled, the leaves are dried, either in a pan over fire or in a large dryer, until their moisture level is reduced to about 4% (freshly picked tea leaves contain 70-80% moisture). These dry tea leaves are now stable, their flavor locked inside unti contact with water. After being sorted by grades, they are packed and readied for shipment.

Matcha, the ceremonial green tea of Japan, is manufactured in a special way. Carefully selected leaves are steamed, dried and ground into a fine powder. Tea is prepared by placing the powder in a bowl with hot water and mixing it with a bamboo whisk to create a tea remarkable green color and fresh, vegetative taste. Matcha is the primary tea ingredient used in Green Tea Lattes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Art of Tasting Tea

A systematic approach to tasting fine teas has the marvelous result of broadening and educating the palate. For this reason, during your early stages of learning, treat every cup of tea you drink as a tasting, and make some notes to remind you of your experience.

The brewed tea (liquor) should be evaluated before the tea cools down. If at all possible, it should be done in porcelain or glass rather than a paper cup. When tasting teas, be sure to focus your attention on the appearance, aroma, body, and flavor of each tea.

How the tea looks. Note the intensity and brightness of the liquor's color. Tea comes in a variety of distinct hues. Depth and saturation of color provide a great starting point for defining and describing a tea's character.

How the tea smells. There are thousand of aromas in the world of tea. Spicy, floral, fruity, nutty and vegetative are just a few categories of aromas to be discovered. Aroma should be the first attribute you observe, because much of what we perceived as flavor directly related to our sense of smell. A tea's aroma can reveal not only quality but also subtle flavor notes that the mouth might overlook.

The "weight" of the tea. Does the tea feel thick and syrupy or thin and delicate in your mouth? Body describes the fullness that the brewed tea imparts. A tea may have light, medium or full-body. As a point of reference, English Breakfast feels thicker in your mouth than China Green Tips, meaning it has more body.

How the tea taste. Slurp your tea to make sure the full flavor spreads across your tongue. How does it compare to other flavors you're familiar with? The world of tea offers literally thousands of unique flavors. Teas can be floral, malty, buttery, silky, creamy, jammy, and/or fruity. Some flavors are straightforward, while others are complex and will evolve once the tea is on your tongue.


WATER - Water quality is extremely important for the perfect cup of tea. At STARBUCKS, i think they suggest using filtered water, like the one available from the filtration systems of STARBUCKS stores, to ensure the optimal taste experience.

TEMPERATURE - Begin the process of steeping tea by bringing cold water to a rapid, rolling boil. Black teas and herbal infusions brew best when steeped in water that is as close to boiling temperature as possible.

For green and white tea, virtually every tea guide recommends slightly cooler water, suggesting a temparature of around 180 degrees Farenheit. Practically speaking, the best way to approach green and white tea is to boil the water, allow it to cool slightly, then pour the water over the tea inside your cup.

STEEPING TIME - The biggest threat to tea quality is anticipation - that hard-to-resist temptation to drink your tea before it has steeped sufficiently. The resulting experience is weak tea with diluted taste. While personal preference will ultimately determine how long you steep your tea, the following suggestion can help you find a time that delivers optimal flavor.


STORAGE - To maintain loose tea's freshness, store it in a tightly closed container away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. The Starbucks filterbag envelope provides an excellent barrier to moisture, oxygen and light, and will keep the tea inside fresh.


Tea is native to the area where India, Tibet, China and Myanmar (formerly Burma) share a border. It also flourishes, along with a wide variety of herbs and spices, in othe tropical and subtropical climates around the world. Starbucks searches the globe to obtain the finest botanicals and teas, then artfully blends these exotic ingredients to create unparalleled taste experiences.
TEA is the common name for the evergreen shrub Camellia Sinensis. The term "tea" also refers to the aromatic beverage, or liquor, made by infusing the processed fermented and unfermented top two leaves and bud of the plant with boiling water.
Climate, altitude, soil and the time of harvesting all directly influence tea quality. Many of the best teas (but not all) come from elevations over 4,000 feet. Fluctuating weather and cooler climates at high elevations put stress on the tea plant, leading to slower growth and a lower yield. This stress allows the plant to develop more concentrated levels of the substances that produce great aroma and flavor.
TEA derived mainly from the top two hand-plucked leaves and bud from the Camelia Sinensis plant. For harvesting purposes, tea bushes are generally kept pruned to a height of about three feet, allowing the young leaves and buds that sprout from the top to be plucked more easily. With proper care, a tea bush can produce for more than 100 years.
Once the leaves are plucked, dried and processed, mechanical sorter sift, separate and classify the tea by leaf size, from ORANGE PEKOE (OP) classification that describes larger, more fully intact full-leaf tea used in Starbucks full-leaf sachets to the various broken leaves (BOP) and fannings (BOPH).
HERBAL TEA is the name given to range if beverages made by the infusion of various leaves, flowers, roots, peels, seeds, barks, berries and spices with boiling water. Technically speaking, herbal teas are not tru teas at all; they contain none of the actual Camelia Sinensis leaf and, with a few exceptions (such as infusions containing yerba mate'), are generally caffeine-free.
At STARBUCKS they believe that discovering authentic new tastes in tea makes the experience more enjoyable. STARBUCKS begin with the world's finest tea leaves, then artfully craft them with herbs, spices and fruit juices to create unexpectedly rich, truly memorable flavor experiences.
STARBUCKS tea buyers take regular trips to countries to taste and select the finest-quality teas and botanicals available. Unlike other large tea companies that use pre-blended teas sourced at origne, Starbucks buys only unblended teas. This allow them to acquire tea at its peak of freshness and to exercise greater control over the quality of the final blend. Starbucks have established long-standing relationship with the top tea gardens all over the world.


GUATEMALA ANTIGUA is an elegant complex coffee with great depth. Its refined acidity is balanced with subtle cocoa-powder texture and soft spice flavors. It is best paired with Cocoa, apples, caramel and nuts. Alternative coffees are House Blend and Colombia Narino Supremo.

GUATEMALA ANTIGUA is a long time favorite in the line-up of Latin American coffees. It is also an example of what we expect in the specialty coffee industry. Some of Starbucks longest-standing relationships are with farmers in Antigua. Though most coffee from GUATEMALA comes from the ANTIGUAN Region, Starbucks buys coffee from most of the seven distinct growing regions namely: HUEHUETANANGO, SAN MARCOS, and ATITLAN. STARBUCKS buys coffee from GUATEMALA than any other coffee-producing country.


This coffee has a floral aroma with lemony acidity, a rich flavor and smooth body, finishing with hints of dark cocoa. It is best paired with Chocolate, nuts, caramel, berry, lemon, herbs and cheeses. If the GUATEMALA CASI CIELO is not available, you could try GUATEMALA ANTIGUA or COLOMBIA NARINO SUPREMO as alternative coffees.

GUATEMALA CASI CIELO is a Starbucks Shared Planet coffee. It is an example of high quality, responsibly grown and ethically traded coffee. It is a blend of four distinct coffees from 4 farms with exclusive relationship with Starbucks in the Antigua Region namely:


GUATEMALA CASI CIELO was developed in 2003 and was exclusively offered for Canlis Restaurant in Seattle. It is served either using the drip brewer or the French Press. Try to taste this coffee using this method to see how the taste characteristics change.
Also try tasting GUATEMALA CASI CIELO with Kenya to see the difference between the coffees from Latin America and East Africa.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Most Recent Starbucks Visit

I'm a fan of Starbucks Frappuccino - a beverage made by Blending either coffee or cream with flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, java chips of flavored syrup and ice. On of my favorite Frappuccino drink is the Vanilla Affogatto Frappuccino until a Barista did a sampling with our group. They sampled a Honey Orange Cream Frappuccino and customized it by adding Java chips in it. The result, an orange chocolate concoction which is really a refreshing beverage especially in this very hot weather. I will surely comeback for more to get this Frappuccino. Thanks Starbucks for putting a twist in this orangy beverage.


STARBUCKS PANAMA LA FLORENTINA - This which was introduced in 1994 offers a medium-bodied cup, with crisp, clean sweet orange blossom notes. It grows at 1,400 meters in the region of Volcan, Chiriqui - near Ban'i Volcano in Panama. Much of the coffee farms there are shaded and consists of older root stock varietal coffee trees such as TYPICA and BOURBON.

STARBUCKS SPECIAL RESERVE KENYA PEABERRY - was grown in the rich soils of the magnificent mountain chains of Nyeri District. While most coffee cherries contain two beans (other wise called as "Elephant ear"), five to ten percent of the time only one bean is produced in the cherry. One of the two flat-sided beans within the cherry fails to grow, and the remaining small bean takes on a rounded pea shape and is thus called PEABERRY. Because the PEABERRY is so rare, many Nyeri cooperatives worked together to obtain enough of these beans to offer this very unique and special coffee in the Kenya Auction System. This vibrant coffee has a citrus aroma, and offers a juicy acidity with grapefruit highlights, as well as a very rich complexity and refined finish. This coffee pairs well with orange loaf, and other tangy foods.

STARBUCKS SPECIAL RESERVE SUMATRA LINTONG LAKE TAWAR - this coffee was the SPECIAL RESERVE ESTATE OFFERING OF 2003. This coffee starts with fascinating herbal and spice notes and finishes with subtle, earthy notes. With its smooth, syrupy mouthfeel, the coffee's flavor lingers on the tongue, creating one of the most intense cup of Sumatra you will ever experience.

STARBUCKS BURUNDI KAYANZA - this coffee is an astonishing discovery from East Africa; 3 degrees below the equator, the drums of Burundi welcomes coffee harvests. The microclimate of the country's rugged Kayanza Ridge creates an ideal setting for farmers to grow an absolutely amazing coffee. The first time it was roasted and cupped in the STARBUCKS TASTING ROOM, the COFFEE MASTERS were captivated by its complexity. Juicy and citrusy with unique herbal blackberry notes and brisk tea-like flavor are the characteristics of this coffee.


Have you ever tried drinking coffee and tea side-by-side with each other? Well if you haven't you should start it now especially if you are a coffee and tea drinker. When I went to Starbucks in Camp John Hay, one of the coffee masters there had a very unique way of doing the "coffee tasting activity"; unique because she is doing the tasting side-by-side with a full-leaf tea.
During my visit at this very cozy place, a coffee master invited me to taste El Salvador Estate Pacamara with Full-Leaf English Breakfast Tea (A new line-up of tea at Starbucks). When I smelled both brews prepared by the Coffee Master, I was surprised that both of them have similar aroma - they're kinda lemony but with a hint of herbal notes. When i slurped the El Salvador Estate Pacamara and the Full-Leaf English Breakfast tea and locate it in my tongue (I am guided by the Coffee Master through the 4 steps of Coffee Tasting), both are medium body, it hits the middle of my tongue but at the same time they also can be felt at the sides of your tongue.
After the tasting, the Coffee Master was so generous to pair the El Salvador Estate Pacamara and the Full-Leaf English Breakfast with a Sausage roll which I think a very nice pair for both. She even make her coffee and tea tasting personal by sharing a memorable story (which in her case was her trip to Tagaytay) which I think a best way to end the tasting Session.
So if someone approach you Coffee or Tea? Try saying both!