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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Caffe Bene:The Art of Cupping Coffee

Caffe Bene:The Art of Cupping Coffee
Caffe Bene is pronounced as Ca-fe Be-ne, as in benevolent.  The word "Bene" in the brand name comes from the Italian word for "good."  So Caffe Bene means good coffee!  It was founded by Kim Sun-Kwon, chairman and CEO.  Caffé Bene was established in April 2008 and it now has more than 900 stores all over Korea (beating the giant Starbucks). It became a Korean sensation due to its key product of excellent medium roast coffee and its signature freshly made Liege waffles which is richer, denser, sweeter and chewier than traditional waffles. 

The famous "The First Shop" of the Korean movie "Coffee Prince" was shot in Caffe Bene.  For Korean drama addicts, you have probably recognized it also as the coffee shop of that infamous coffee “Crème Kiss” from the hit Secret Garden. Yes, that superkilig romantic act of Hyun Bin kissing the cappuccino foam off Ha Ji Won’s lip was also shot inside a Caffe Bene shop. Caffe Bene has Korean pretty boy "Prince of Asia" Jang Keun Suk as its poster boy.

I was so impressed the first time I walked at Caffe Bene. It is absolutely gorgeous all over, a super nice spot to go and chill with friends! It has a good atmosphere, cozy decors and small intimate setting. The giant clock decor, chairs and bookshelves are a nice touch. You can say that Caffe Bene is nice, charming and understated. Hmmmm....kind of wood-y and well laid-out too. It has a cozy feel with its wood floors and wood tables. I absolutely love how the walls are filled with bookshelves with random books and cute ornaments!

Caffe Bene invited me for its triangulation challenge.  I arrived early at its Eastwood Citywalk 2 branch on the day of the triangulation challenge. There was a little confusion though when I asked for directions because the people in the area told me that Caffe Bene had closed already.  The place maybe is under renovation but inside has a homey European ambiance that is accentuated by Korean touches.  It exudes warmth and cozy vibe.

The owner of Caffe Bene Philippines, Mr. Desmond Chua, hosted the event together with a European accredited coffee expert. They explained to us everything there is to know about coffee and Caffe Bene’s coffee.

Mr. Chua also taught us how to do the art of cupping. Cupping is the specialty coffee industry’s standard for coffee evaluation. It is a method where individual cups of coffee are prepared according to established guidelines for the purpose of assessing the aroma, taste, texture of a sample coffee.

Hot water was poured into three different cups with ground coffee. After four minutes, the grounds have risen on top of the glass and you have to “break” the coffee with a spoon and then remove those grounds until there’s nothing left. After that, you can now taste the coffee.

At the Triangulation Challenge, we tried ten sets of a 3-coffee cup combinations and wrote on a piece of paper which among the three was Caffe Bene Blend. It was fun and exciting at the same time. I was on my fourth set when all the coffee began tasting the same. I think my tongue became numb with the taste of coffee. I had to drink water to neutralize my tongue. Fortunately, I got 6 out of 10. Not bad for a first timer.

According to Mr. Chua, Caffé Bene’s secret in getting the most flavor out of its coffee is how it roasts the coffee grounds.  All of its coffees are Medium Roast and that’s what makes it different from most coffee shops. Unlike the strong bitter taste of dark roast coffee, medium roast coffee is not bitter and you’ll need less additives like sugar. That’s the “Bene Difference“.

Caffe Bene's staff also served Liège Waffle, which is made only when you order it to ensure that customers get the exact same fresh waffles as served in the city of Liège, Belgium.  It is crunchy, soft and chewy. Its sweetness is just right. I love waffles!

I would like to try Caffe Bene's Bingsu (a Korean iced parfait similar to our halo-halo)
and Frappes and its other food offerings so I’ll definitely be back. 


Caffe Bene Facebook Page:

I have tasted the Bene Difference!  It is now your turn to try it for yourself. Korean novela fanatics and coffee-lovers should come and visit Caffe Bene at any of its branches. Its Eastwood Citywalk 2 branch store hours is from 7am to 1am Mon-Th, then from 7am to 3:30am during Fri-Sat and from 10am to1am on Sundays. Free wifi access is available.

#coffee #waffle #koreancafe #korea



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