Friday, December 23, 2011

Sea Salt Caramel Latte ☕

"Salted Caramel" has been gaining rapid populartity in the java maket and beyond... from espresso based drinks it has transcended into the milk tea, confectionary, and ice cream market among many others...

There's no better way to excite one's taste buds than with a little sprinkle of premium sea salt just before sipping something buttery-sweet; where one feels a tingling sensation quite similar to Tinker Bell's magic pixie dust.  The leading coffee shops have launched their respective versions yet they are all sugar and calorie laden, ranging from 60-80 grams of sugar, and 400-700 calories per drink.

Here's a "healthier" version versus the coffee shop standard, not to mention a more cost effective one which could be enjoyed in the comforts of one's humble abode...

To make an 8-ounce drink: Ingredients...

1 tablespoon Far Skyes Vanilla Frappe Powder
2-shots Espresso
15ml Stasero Caramel Syrup
2-ounces (60ml) low fat or skimmed milk (steamed); milk froth set aside
Stasero Caramel Sauce for garnish
Premium Sea Salt


1) Dissolve 1-tablespoon Stasero Vanilla Frappe Powder over 2-shots Espresso

2) Add 15ml Stasero Caramel Syrup

3) Fill mug/cup with 2-ounces steamed milk

4) Cover the top of the mug/cup with milk froth (instead of whipped cream); drizzle Stasero Caramel Sauce; sprinkle a pinch of Premium Sea Salt

Serve and enjoy! Happy holidays!!!! ♥

* as a healthier alternative, whipped cream was omitted, and replaced with milk froth to top the mug/cup
* skim/low-fat milk was used in place of whole milk

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Cheers!

The year of the rabbit  is coming to a close and looking back, it's been a year filled with cascading ups and several downs...

2011 for me will best be remembered as the year that I celebrated my 40th birthday. Where I took time to huddle my inner troops and ponder about what I've accomplished upon reaching "mid-life"; and realizing that what I currently possess is more than enough to make me a contented cow!

2011 also blessed me with several travel sprees, both internationally and locally. First off a big Thank You! to my favorite Mother-In-Law for the US trip in March (San Francisco, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Dallas, San Francisco) to celebrate her 60th birthday. It was the perfect bonding experience as a family, and it created fond memories that will last more than a lifetime... October also ushered in my (wait for iiittttt...) FIRST Boracay experience - and Shangri-la Resort at that; our gratitude to lady luck since my Wife won it in a raffle (2 nights stay with airfare for 2). The experience is tough to top, so much so that we're scheduled to go back there soon in the coming year!

Business-wise though it's been rough, no thanks to the bad weather and other natural disasters that our country experienced. True to my oath of being the "best supplier" possible, I am one with our clients who got affected one way or another; a special shout-out to those from Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, and Isabela. The world is small and interconnected, it's difficult not to say "ouch" when they bleed... We lost quite a few as well, either to a pesky competitor (*%$@#%) or simply to the bad economy. Here's hoping for a better year ahead for all our sake... Though I guess there's nowhere else to go but UP as the dawn of each new year brings new hope...

Honorable mention to the following events:

1) My first "Coffee, Tea By ME!!!" Seminar  courtesy of Studio SnR Workshop. It was a fun-filled "hands-on" experience and I'm glad to have hurdled such a task with flying colors. Thank you Sydney Go (Studio SnR's Marketing Director) for believing in our company, our brand and our vision; and Thank You to our Brand Partners/Sponsors - Boyd Coffee, Evergood Marketing, Yummy Magazine and Appetite Magazine! More caffeinated and creamy cheers ahead...

2) Participating in two major trade shows of the Food & Beverage Industry: the Fil-Chi Bakery Show and World's Food Expo (Wofex). To our booth sponsor Robert Francisco (President of Boyd Coffee). Thank you for another year of friendship and trust, best of all for your never ending generosity.

3) The launch of, our very own website. Thank you again Robert Francisco for food- styling our drinks and taking product shots. Special pat-in-the-back to Kelvin Tee for the splendid design and layout...

Good year or bad, there's still a lot to cheer about... What matters is we're still standing on our toes, ready to keep walking in life's long and winding road. Here's wishing everyone a better year ahead... Enter the (Year of The) Dragon!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fair Trade - My Take On It...

Photo Courtesy of Google Photobucket

It's the season to be jolly, carefree and generous... No better time to scour the weekend markets, holiday bazaars, and what have yous.

In one of my shopping sprees last week, I came across a local coffee roaster who claims his coffee is roasted fresh twice-weekly AND they practice FAIR TRADE. This got my noggins abuzz again (my spider senses tingling even) and after immediate consultation with several of my "coffee gods", here' s my two-cents' worth on the whole Fair Trade issue...

In a perfect world, Fair Trade's primary mission is to provide healthier working conditions and greater economic incentive for producers (farmers). The end-goal is to benefit and properly compensate them from their line of work - providing an improved working environment and better equipment in order to obtain vaster-yielding crops. Such is the system practiced by large and reputable companies like Starbucks, Green Mountain, and Nestle.

Locally though, it is difficult (close to impossible even) to judge whether the extra amount of money spent by the consumers acually go to the farmers. Simply said, not because it has a "Fair Trade" label it means your money will reach the supposed beneficiaries. Worse, Fair Trade is a powerful word misused and abuised  as a skillfully orchestrated marketing tactic by the roaster (or traders) in order to charge more, appealing to the buyer's soft spot.

So while we're into the festive mood of making lists and checking twice-even, it's good to be educated whether the coffee beans you are about to purchase are naughty or nice...♪♫♪