Coffee
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A Taste of Seoul: Caffe Bene

After months of waiting for the Philippine branch in Eastwood to open, it finally did–just in time for the holidays!

Just a little backstory, when we were in S. Korea last summer, and every time we were on a bus of sorts, we’d keep seeing Caffe Bene. My sister’s Korean friend, Sue, told us that it was one of their main local coffeehouses, so of course I made up my mind to try it at least once before I left. Alas, as such things often seem to work out, once we were actively looking for it, we couldn’t find it. On the Sunday before my departure, my siblings and I planned to have breakfast at the branch nearest our meet-up point with Sue. We followed the directions we looked up online, to no avail. Ended up at Waffle Bant which, to be fair, did come recommended.

The next day, on my last night in Seoul, we had several things to accomplish: 1) Hit up Etude House & Missha for our friends; 2) Buy myself a pair of shoes to replace my battered sneakers; 3) Find Caffe Bene. Guess which one was the most important in my list? 😉

Caffe Bene in Dongdaemun, Seoul

Caffe Bene in Dongdaemun, Seoul

First taste in S. Korea

To make the long story short, we crossed off the first item in Myeongdong and, after several failed attempts at communicating with random locals, decided to head off to Dongdaemun to try our luck with items 2 and 3. Thanks to a very helpful lady at the information desk we passed, we FINALLY found Caffe Bene–and a rather big branch, at that! I can’t even describe the elation I felt when I saw that glass and metal structure from a distance. Mission accomplished!

 

For our first taste of Caffe Bene, we ordered the following: Mocha Frappeno for me, Iced Caffe Mocha for my sister, and an Americano (I think) and a Caramel Banana Cream Waffle for my brother. I found the Frappeno a touch too sweet, a sentiment that my sister agreed with about her beverage. Still, I wasn’t ready to write it off, and hoped to get the chance to try a different drink on their menu.

Caffe Bene in Eastwood, MLA

Caffe Bene in Eastwood, Metro Manila

Well, it looked like the Gods of Coffee heard my request. A month or so after our arrival in Manila, I discovered that Caffe Bene was opening its first branch here in Eastwood. I just didn’t expect it would take so long to finish. Now that it has, I felt the same excitement and anticipation that I did back in Dongdaemun. The design concept of the store is pretty much the same as that in Korea. This time around, I went for the iced Caramel Macchiato (R=P140 / L=P155), as per the recommendation of the barista. As a nod to my GERD, I specified non-fat milk.

Every time I order a macchiato, I make it a point to try it first without stirring the beverage. My first sip of it was like a rush of golden honey — sweet, but not nauseating. After mixing it up, I discovered a liqueur-ish taste to it that reminded me of Bailey’s. Yum. Usually, when I get non-fat milk, the flavor isn’t as full or rich as I’d like it to be, but this time, I think it was just right. Kudos to the barista, she definitely knew her stuff!

Iced Caramel Macchiato My tray

About halfway through my drink, I realized that my tummy was starting to protest the absence of solid food. Since my friends were still stuck in Friday Christmas traffic (funny how those three words seem to be redundant!), I decided to go ahead and order a Classic Liege Waffle (P95). I wondered about its name and found out via Wikipedia that it’s a specific type of waffle that’s richer and denser than regular. Unlike those served in most breakfast places I’ve tried, it doesn’t need butter, cream or syrup because it already has a caramelized sugar layer. It’s also chewier and more substantial, a far cry from the light and fluffy waffles made of grocery mixes.

Next time, I plan to try their gelato–maybe with the waffle?–and the coffee Bingsu (this special iced parfait that looks oh-so-tempting). I cannot wait!!! Here’s to more new coffeehouses in the Philippines and beyond! 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. Ysabel says

    Can’t wait to check it out!!!:) let’s see if it turns out better than our KR experience!;)

    • Yupyup! I told Kuya that we have to go there when you come home 😀 BTW, I still haven’t been able to try J.Co! Hanep ang pila ’til now :I

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