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Archive for December, 2012

An addition to the Korean craze just hit Manila. Last November 29 Caffe Bene, the biggest coffee chain in the land of Korean dramas held its grand opening in Eastwood City Walk 2.  From Seoul Caffe Bene has finally arrived in the Philippines, Yey!

Caffe Bene on it's grand opening at Eastwood

Caffe Bene on it’s grand opening at Eastwood

A lil bit of facts: Caffe Bene was established in April 2008 and now they have more than 800 stores all over Korea (beating the giant Starbucks).  It became a Korean sensation due to its key product offerings of: excellent medium roast coffee; their signature freshly made Liege waffles which are richer, denser, sweeter and chewier than traditional waffles; and authentic Italian gelatos that’s good on its own or better enjoyed if paired with coffee or waffles.  Aren’t those sounding mouth-watering already? Here’s a peek.

a peek on Caffe Bene menu

a peek on Caffe Bene menu

For Korean drama addicts, you may probably recognize it as the coffee shop of that infamous coffee “Crème Kiss” from the hit Secret Garden.  Yes, that super kilig romantic act of Hyun Bin kissing the cappuccino foam off Ha Ji Won’s lip was shot inside a Caffe Bene shop.

kilig scene from Secret Garden -- cr to http://nabilaraisyasays.blogspot.com

kilig scene from Secret Garden

cr to http://nabilaraisyasays.blogspot.com

On with the event proper, the grand opening program kicked-off with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines (leftmost in the picture below) and Ms. Diane Chua, Head of Operations (2nd from left).  The grand opening program was hosted by Korean expat and now a local Philippine personality, Sam Oh.

ribbon-cutting ceremony

ribbon-cutting ceremony

Ms. Sam Oh hosting the Caffe Bene grand opening in Eastwood

Ms. Sam Oh hosting the Caffe Bene grand opening in Eastwood

It was followed by a dedication and prayer by a pastor family friend of the Chuas.

Dedication

Dedication

The welcome speech by Mr. Desmond Chua came next and was full of emotions telling their journey towards opening of this Korean coffee chain in the Philippines.  Quoting some of his words “in this market full of established names we will strive and hope to make a niche”.  A loud applause logically came after a nice speech.

welcome speech by franchisee Pres. Desmond Chua

welcome speech by franchisee Pres. Desmond Chua

a loud applause after the welcome speech

a loud applause after the welcome speech

A toast followed and that gave us a first taste of their signature medium-roast coffee which is less bitter than other brands.  You have to try it for yourself and as for me who prefers a decaf version of coffee most of the time this one is worth it.  The less bitter taste makes a difference and just provides light acidity in the tummy.  I love it.

The

The “Toast”

Caffe Bene medium roast blend espresso for The Toast

Caffe Bene medium roast blend espresso for The Toast

As this new hang-out place was born and added to the huge Korean craze in Manila, I am dearly privileged as a certified K-addict to be invited to its grand opening.  The fruits of blogging led me to be part of this event (see my earlier post about Caffe Bene).  Dubbed as “my very first full event cover” of a Korean invasion and so that explains how my heart is smiling and hyperacidity attacks again in excitement on the day, hahaha.

Yey, I was there! :)

Yey, I was there! 🙂

And my dress did blend well with Caffe Bene earth and woody colors, wink, wink!

while waiting for the program to start

while waiting for the program to start

To complete the program the Director of Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, Mr. Seong Un Hwang also made his presence with a speech gearing towards a continuous good connection of Korea and the Philippines and welcoming the birth of Caffe Bene in our country.

Director of the Korean Cultural Center in Ph Mr. Mr. Seong Un Hwang

As we witness Caffe Bene being launched sumptuous cocktails are served to us guests.  I have barely eaten before the event (in excitement) so it’s like a feast. The iced tea given to each table is a luscious unique blend that tastes more of a mango juice to me and I think I had three glasses of it.  Apparently it was a Caffe Bene blend. 🙂

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IMG_4136 IMG_4082 IMG_4080

Family and friends of the Chua’s were present and it was well attended too by famous media personalities such as Tim Yap, Claudine Trillo and Franco Mabanta among others.

Claudine Trillo, Franco Mabanta and Sam Oh

Claudine Trillo, Franco Mabanta and Sam Oh

Tim Yap and Sam Oh

Tim Yap and Sam Oh

The cocktails part is just an appetizer.  The most fun part of the event is that the guests (and that includes me) were given the first taste of Caffe Bene’s famous coffees, gelatos and Liege waffles while enjoying the caffe concert of the Philippines’ only electronic rock band, Turbo Goth.  It’s a cozy party time!  Thrilled for the food tasting?  Details in the next few paragraphs. 🙂

Cocktails and and cozy Party time

Cocktails and and cozy Party time

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the classy yet hip electronic rock band, Turbo Goth

the classy yet hip electronic rock band, Turbo Goth

With Jef of Marketing, my bridge and contact into dealings with Caffe Bene Ph. Thanks Sir.

With Jef of Marketing, my bridge/contact into dealings with Caffe Bene Ph. Thanks Sir!

Let me take you now to some behind the scenes part.  Before the program started I was given a tour of the shop including its menu by no less than Mr. Derrick Chua, Head of Marketing of Caffe Bene Philippines.

with Mr. Derrick Chua, Citicup Corp Marketing Director

I can’t help but wear a big smile as I stepped inside.  It really has this cozy feel looking at its spacious woody designs.

entrance carpet view at the door woody insides the signature clock

The two-floor coffee shop boasts a vintage Europen design with cute Korean accents.  Feels like I’m in a Korean drama setting, hahaha.  It has this unique 2nd floor that features a free library for those who wants to study, have alone time and relax or just hang-out with friends over a great coffee.  If I’m not mistaken this part is called “book-caffe”.  Just a tip: bring your favorite jacket or cardigan with you here as it is a bit cold ala-autumn or pre-winter feel in Seoul . 🙂

book caffe 1 book caffe 2book caffe 3

And now let me share you the most exciting part, the menu. I’m on a high here guys. It’s a VIP mode-like feeling as I take my first look at the counter.  It’s not that pricey as I initially thought of.   Their coffee is at around 100-150 bucks just like the established names in the coffee shop market.  As I have mentioned their signature medium-roast blend makes a difference because it’s less bitter and leaves no much after-effect in the tummy for acidic person like me.

at the counter

at the counter

Caffe Bene Coffee Menu

Caffe Bene Coffee Menu

They have this specialty grain-based latte called “Misugaru” which is a healthier alternative to their espresso-based drinks.  As told by Mr. Derrick Chua this has became a favorite and bestseller at their New York City branch.  I have tried the hot version and it tastes goody healthy.  After all it is packed with fiber and anti-oxidants.

Misugaru Latte menu

More on their signature favorites. Their freshly made Liege waffle is a must try. You can have it plain or with gelato and various toppings.  I like the Blue Berry Cream Cheese, more than the best-seller Red Bean and Green Tea.  Other choices are Honey Nut, Strawberry Cream and Caramel Banana Cream.  Price ranges from 135-165 pesos for those with toppings, not bad to try and taste the difference.

waffles 1 waffles 2

Speaking of gelato, another favorite is their authentic Italian Gelatos that feels light but full of flavor (available in around 10 varieties).  Bestsellers are the chocolate and cream cheese though I keep coming back for the strawberry. 🙂

the many flavors of their Italian Gelato

the many flavors of their Italian Gelato

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trying the strawberry Gelato, Yummy!

trying the strawberry Gelato, Yummy!

And the last (but not the least) that I got to taste is the new to my ears “Bingsu”.  It’s a Korean Ice Parfait or simply Korean “halo-halo” in our native language.  This so far is the most priced in their menu starting at 165 pesos.  Its available in Large and the Huge size that’s meant for sharing.  I ordered the Huge one and its literally HUGE, hahaha.  This time I love the Red Bean flavor though I haven’t tried the Coffee and Strawberry.

Bingsu

trying on the Red Bean Bingsu

trying on the Red Bean Bingsu

After this I’m really so happily stuffed.  All those are for free-tasting at least before they opened to public at around 9pm. The only thing I paid for is the Bingsu but I used the GCs that they gave to me earlier so technically its free, paying only around 30 bucks. It’s really fun at this Caffe Bene grand opening right? 🙂  By the way they still have a lot of other offerings like Signature Mocktails, Honey Bread, Yogurt smoothies, teas and cakes..can’t taste them all at the same time hahaha.

waiting for our FREE orders to come

waiting for our FREE orders to come

Ok, it’s time for the blogger mode to be switched off.  Fangirl mode on!  You really thought I forgot this part? Of course, not! In fact I tag along a fellow fangirl friend as my companion for this event. And most of the pictures I credit to her, thanks super Digi Arlene.  So aside from Caffe Bene being a Korean coffee shop what really made me aware of them is the fact that the Korean star and Asia Prince Jang Keun Suk is their current ambassador. I am a super fan of him since the 2009 hit k-drama You’re Beautiful days where he played the main role Taekyung.

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to owner)

Jang Keun Suk for Caffe Bene (credits to owner)

My friends from Eels Philippines (a Jang Keun Suk fan club) swarmed the shop as long as it was opened to public.  We may be a bit disappointed that no single poster or tarp of Jang Keun Suk appeared in the shop but we are still there to support nevertheless.  JKS is still there for us, and literally he is there as we never fail to bring a picture of him along.  See evidences below. 🙂

me as a JKS fan JKS and Caffe Bene the Eels Philippines gang 2

the Eels Philippines gang

the Eels Philippines gang

Eels PH gang again

We have endlessly asked every barista and even Mr. Desmond and Derrick Chua when would the JKS items be available.  We are kinda “makulit” already but they gladly answered our queries and told us that they are very much aware of the fans’ countless request for those mugs and other souvenir JKS items.  They are still discussing it among themselves and coordinating with Korea on this matter as of my latest knowing.  So for the mean time let us just wait, patience is a virtue. 🙂  Anyway some Caffe Bene cups and tumblers are now available on sale.

espresso cup set cappuccino cup set

tumblers, cups and coffee beans for sale

tumblers, cups and coffee beans for sale

And last but not the least I wouldn’t miss the chance to pose along-side with the media personalites present and the people behind Caffe Bene Philippines.

with Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines

with Mr. Desmond Chua, President of Caffe Bene Philippines

with Ms. Sam Oh, the host of the event

with Ms. Sam Oh, the host of the event

with Tim Yap (he is so nice pala in person)

with Tim Yap (he is so nice pala in person)

with Mr. Seong Un Hwang, Korean Cultural Center Ph Director

with Mr. Seong Un Hwang, Korean Cultural Center Ph Director

with Jef of Marketing, Ms. Jenny (Caffe Bene Korea rep) and my fellow fangirl friend Arlene

with Jef of Marketing, Ms. Jenny (Caffe Bene Korea representative) and my fellow fangirl friend Arlene

The event launch was really a successful one, Congrats to Caffe Bene.  I went home not just with a box of freebies but an experience.  Thanks again for the invite.

photo booth souvenir pic

photo booth souvenir pic

box of freebies 1 IMG_4170

box of freebies

box of freebies

I have tasted the Bene Difference and now it’s time for you to try it for yourselves.  Korean fanatics and coffee-lovers come and visit them at the G/F of Eastwood Citywalk 2. Store hours are from 7am-1am Mon-Th, 7am-3:30am during Fri-Sat and at 10am-1am on Sundays.  Free wifi access is available.  After this grand opening night I have visited the shop for a couple of times more and they have pretty much a lot of customers already, both Korean and Filipino. Good luck Caffe Bene and again Kamsahamnida! 🙂

Caffe Bene Now Open at Eastwood

Taste the Bene Difference

Taste the Bene Difference

For more info check them out on their website at www.caffebene.com.ph, like them on Facebook caffebeneph or follow them on twitter @CaffeBenePH.

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