Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Latte Art For Everybody

"What goes around comes around." Such is the cycle of life, so I'm spreading the gift of caffeinated knowledge to my 9-year old this early without constraints. He may not drink my favorite elixir yet, but at last early on he gets to appreciate my happy passion.

This serves as a motivational blog post as well to all coffee lovers scouring the world-wide-web for leads, techniques and tutorials on "latte art" (from rosettas to basic hearts) in order to "belong" and be part of a cult or "ELITE" group. I'm saying this out loud through my blog that this is Basic Fallacy! Love for Coffee is for anyone and everyone.

Likewise, Latte Art is for all, not just the expert baristas, coffee geeks or coffee snobs. The milk foam on top of your cup serves as your canvass. Imagination is infinite - SIMPLY LET YOUR CREATIVE JUICES FLOW...

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Philippine Tea & Coffee Alert

Pardon the long absence dear readers as I took a much needed R&R, away from this maddening Philippine coffee & tea industry.

So what did I miss? To keep abreast I spent a whole afternoon chatting with close allies from the industry: an active coffee roaster GM, a cafe owner from the south, a milk tea giant, and an equipment supplier. Sorry, no photos since this is a no holds barred chat-fest. Here's our conclusion:

1) Among the BIG roasters, still no once could match the quality, technique/style and work/business ethic of "Retired Coffee Guru" who has long sailed into the sunset, happy with his invigorated psyche! We all envy your current state, and wish we could all jump into the "retired" bandwagon soon.

2) 3rd Wave Coffee is at its peak, despite claims of a decline in the US. Well, we are almost-aways 6 months to a year behind world beverage trends, so it's safe to say that we'll see them (more of them) still for a long period of time.

"3rd Wave for the 3rd World." Hmmm, nice slogan!
Just a small request to those in the 3rd wave brouhaha - "Brownie Points" to the latte art, but don't forget to extract good espresso shots too. The overall drink is rated not only in presentation, but taste as well.

3) Small-batch/micro roasters pride themselves with Product QUALITY and ACCOUNTABILITY. They do not resort to DOUBLE-STANDARDS by boasting HACCP or ISO accreditation, yet cower into possessing them once a customer complains about quality issues.  No wonder micro roasters are able to collectively swing tons of monthly volume away from the Big Guys.

4) Snooty Tea Salons are struggling, but Milk Tea Shops are here to stay. Nope, it's not a fad! Despite a slow-down as far as hype is concerned they have etched themselves in our beverage culture, just like the never ending Air Supply concert in our country.

To cap off our animated discussion, our caffeinated group vowed to meet again before the year ends. As a parting shot, we all agreed: "Money May Be The Desired End, But Passion Is Still The Key To One's Success!"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Trade Show Etiquette

It's the season for Trade Shows once again, and for the last 20 years I've been a loyal attendee and exhibitor. Over the years, the fee to exhibit has skyrocketed big time, thus each and every minute count in order to maximize the hefty cash you cough out for the 3-4 day event.

On the funny side, I, together with some friends who are regular exhibitors as well, gathered a handful of  S.M.B. (yup, "Style Mo Bulok") tactics of both attendees and exhibitors alike. Happy reading!

1) Attending trade shows even if you don't have a company to represent. In short, you are representing yourself (fake calling card et all) in getting first dibs from all the trade show freebies you can get your sneaky hands into. These include - food & beverage sampling (with take-home to boot), give-aways (pens, notepads, keychains, etc), brochures, plastic bags (yup SUPOT!). Yes, "You got it all, FOR YOU!"

2) My company serves beverages: coffee and juice products to be exact. We have espresso machines and juice dispensers containing the items we promote. Every year a few "select" attendees would bring their own cup and/or mug and help themselves to our stuff (without asking permission) like they're in a buffet or drink-all-you-can. A round of applause to an elderly man in his late 60's, who drank to his heart's content, getting brain freeze on his 2nd LARGE cup. After being escorted to the clinic, I never saw him again... What a "chilling" way to go - RIP gramps!

3) K.I.A. (know it all) Prospects who visit your booth, asks a rhetoric yet answers it himself/herself. We call this muscle flexing, or defense mech that he/she is smart - unconsciously knowing that "smart-ass" is the better adjective.

4) Competitors who befriend you and HANG OUT (TAMBAY) in your booth for a good 1-2 hours per trade show day (either one-time big time or installment basis). Chatting about non-sense stuff and sweet nothings, while his prying eyes make side-glances on the stuff you sell, your price points, your sales pitch, and checks out who visits your booth so he/she can swindle them when they make the round to his/her booth.

An annex to this is when competitors befriend the booth beside you and hang out there in order to check on you. S.M.B. to you S.O.B.!

As the old saying goes, keep your friends close, your enemies closer - BY SPYING ON THEM! Shame shame! Bigger does not necessarily mean better.

5) Competitors who befriend you and bring their clients and/or foreign principals to your booth. I mean, what's the big idea when all you can talk about is how HOT HOT Manila weather or the horrendous traffic he/she/they are experiencing.

Let's take this a notch higher, at times my competitors with foreign principals in tow would come to my booth without minding me. They look at my stuff displayed, talk in a hush hush tone, and take photos of it discretely or vulgarly. Low and behold, they have a similar item to sell in 2-3 months time. Tsk tsk!

Im sure you have your own stories to share - either from an exhibitor's standpoint or as a trade show delegate (legit or otherwise). Whoever you may be, simply mind your manners, or better yet - M.Y.O.B. Mind your own business!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Far Skyes Enterprise Announcement!!!

Far Skyes Enterprise
formally announces our independence from any form of alliance with any entity in the Philippine Food and Beverage Industry, co-terminus with the retirement of our long-time ally Mr. Robert Francisco.

We're taking this opportunity to profusely thank our loyal customers and well-meaning friends for your patronage. Big and even Bigger things await...

Cheers to all!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

House-Hubby Diary 1: Pests

House-Husband Diary #1:

So we finally caught the tiny little mouse, stuck in the Baygon fly paper trap we neatly set with Italian parmesan cheese as enticement (a.k.a. BAIT). Classy huh? As far back as I can recall my disdain for the "nippy kind" is intense. Fear became hatred, or that's how I coped to outgrow it.

No idea where the hell(hole) it came from! Since the day we moved into our humble abode in 2003 this is the first of its sort, so we made it extra special for our unwanted pest, oops i mean "guest." A little something extra to remember us by. Or a classy meal before you go,  just like a last cigarette puff before you get executed!

Hopefully other uninvited "guests" would learn from this and won't follow its example. We are, after all, just protecting our turf before we get infected by the bubonic plague. NIP it in the bud as they say. Haha, sorry had to insert that word-play! Been itching since the first paragraph... My Blog My Rules right???

But then again, animal instinct dictates otherwise... A rat would always be a rat according to my concerned friends! Oh well, might just invest in a Pest Control company or a pet cat?  Hmmm... Let's see whose patience is longer. "MAPECON nalang ang talo" (The loser is the sour PUSS)!

Smile everyone, the weekend is almost here!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Trojan Horse - A Philippine Coffee Industry Alert

Philippine Coffee Industry Alert:

It's sad how a coffee roasting company with rock-solid foundation could crumble down in less than a year since a new owner took over. And mind you the acquisition price is a hefty-sum!

Immediately, customers noticed a change for the WORSE in the quality of beans (taste, aroma and uniformity of size), consistency of blends/roasts, AND the company's image has gone from reputable and classy to "bakya" (cheap).

Like a plague hitting a town, their old allies left in haste, refusing to be associated with their unscrupulous ways. And so the merry-go-round begins, as new partnerships are formed among those who scampered to a better relationship. This year's trade shows will definitely be an exciting one!

Some words of wisdom as the Year Of The Horse gallops in:

1) Respect your elders

2) Be true to your word (have integrity)

3) Focus on your core competence. Don't be a jack of all trades, master of none

4) Be nice to the people you meet on the way up, so they'll reciprocate it to you as you spiral down to the abyss

5) Money is not an end in itself. You may be loaded with cash, but imagination and true friends can never be bought

These are basic rules your parents should have taught you...

Oh and as a fitting tribute to the HORSE Year, take a cue from  the famous Trojan Horse story - your friend is your worse enemy! So behave-behave!!!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!!!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mr. C's Premium Syrups & Cocktail Mixers

Far Skyes Enterprise ushers in 2014 with a BANG!!! by unveiling the latest member of its growing family - MR. C's Premium Syrups & Cocktail Mixers.

Proudly manufactured in Seattle, WA, this syrup line spells "Quality Make" with no less than 12% fruit puree infused in pure cane sugar. More reason to toast life's simple joys, MR. C's is the perfect base for smoothies, fruit-inspired drinks, cocktails, mocktails and many more. The possibilities are endless... So what are you waiting for? Let your CREATIVE JUICES flow!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coffee Review: Ristretto Roasters Beaumont Blend

The perks of having a well-traveled and generous (ahem) sister-in-law is being able to sample first-hand most of  her destination foodie finds. On her recent vacation from Portland, Oregon, lucky me was given (among others) a bag of Beaumont Blend from Ristretto Roasters. It's been quite a while since I did a coffee review, so allow me to share this one with you.

photo courtesy of
Beaumont Blend is a special seasonal roast that has full body, low acidity, and tasting notes of Baker's Chocolate, Clove and Dried Cherry. Straightforward and robust, yet surprisingly complex! An ode to Ristretto Roasters' opening its first minuscule roasting facility and cafe in the Beaumont neighborhood at NE 42nd & Fremont, Portland Oregon  in 2005. Since then, it paved the way for the full "flowering" (pun intended) of the roasting scene in the Rose City.

In 2009, Ristretto opened its second branch in North Portland, this time imbibing a sexier-hip appeal, yet still maintaining it's well-known warm and welcoming (not snobbish) ambiance.  The road still looks "rosy" for the them, thereby benefiting its loyal followers!

Best served as straight espresso, or brewed in a French press to unleash its full flavors. Happy sipping!