I’ve never live-blogged before… pardon the rockstar-ing, but live from UCC Cafe Terrace in TriNoma, this is TMX. (Shhh… I’m pirating free wi-fi.)
I’m here at the invitation of Abbey Tomas of Protege, where, together with some bloggers, I’ll sample UCC Cafe Terrace’s coffees and stuff. Not my first time in UCC: my favorite stuff here include:
- Hawaiian blue soda
- Air-conditioned smoking area.
Small cups. Servings bigger.
10:20 AM: I just had UCC Blended for this coffee sampling routine. I doubt the caramel cubes, but that coffee was a great way to kill a bad hangover. UCC apparently first opened in Quezon City, says Abbey: it’s not just about good coffee, but also about a good meal. The Blended tastes a bit like, well, coffee. Nothing the coffee aficionado would like. I hate to be harsh, but I like my coffee kick-ass.
Cost: P129. It’s the David Cook of UCC’s coffees. I don’t necessarily like, but other people may like it.
UCC gets their own coffee from their own plantations in places like Indonesia and Hawaii. Arabica, by the way; the Japanese can be very obsessive with their coffee quality.
Arpee says that Starbucks doesn’t serve food, which makes it lose compared to other coffee shops (like Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Seattle’s Best Coffee). This is UCC’s distinct advantage.
Candy says that if coffee shops offer free wi-fi, then they’ll have free customers. This UCC doesn’t offer free wi-fi yet, but hey; I’m pirating. I think the wi-fi thingy is just from the other store.
10:31 AM: I just had UCC’s Sumiyaki. I want more; I like it! The coffee is very, very strong; it makes me want to do the King Leonidas outside. That coffee is extreme, baby! Not for those who like frappucinos from Starbucks; Sumiyaki is coffee that will kick your ass, and will make you kick people’s asses. I love it.
UCC Vienna has a European feel. UCC Terrace mimics a country club. It’s kind of intimidating; so… upper-class. Your P500 probably won’t get you far here (although I would date a certain person at UCC).
Cost: P159. It’s the Zach de la Rocha of UCC’s coffees. I heart Sumiyaki, definitely a must.
Roch says that the lunch menus are great here. I don’t know: I’m a MiniStop fellow. She also says that UCC is a comparatively affordable place. It’s a great place to eat, because you would pay for really great food.
We’ll see… just ordered breakfast.
I’ve been browsing UCC’s menus, and boy, when they said expensive, they meant it. Consider these prices:
- Cafe au lait (i.e. coffee with cream and sugar): P139
- Iced cafe cappuccino (i.e. what you get at Starbucks): P179
- Oreo smoothie (i.e. stuff you get at Starbucks): P129
- Filipino breakfast of beef tapa served with garlic rice, Japanese salad, and egg (i.e., tapsilog): P289
Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. We all need luxury goods one way or another, y’know.
10:41 AM: I’m sampling UCC’s Blue Mountain coffee. It’s kind of… sour for hot coffee. I hear it’s their most expensive coffee, but I’m very partial towards that kick-ass Sumiyaki. Blue Mountain kind of feels like emo coffee; it’s a medley of sourness. Bitterness. The mood swing, the PMS, the emo episode.
It’s the kind of coffee that reminds you of the tenuousness of life… or if you take your coffee that seriously. I’d like to think that those who appreciate depth and contrast with their coffee would really like Blue Mountain.
Cost: P399. Musical comparison: Chris Carrabba. Note, this is the most expensive siphon-brewed coffee available at UCC.
Chrissie just gave me her calling card. Note to self: must get one.
I’m eavesdropping at the conversation at the other table, and as it seems, they’re talking about the different kinds of bloggers.
When an impromptu blogging thing takes place, expect a lot of gadgetry. I see digital cameras, a new iPhone, a Canon EOS digital SLR, and my laptop. It’s one of two things: pretentiousness (admit it) or necessity.
UCC will expand to 18 stores, says Abbey: including Cebu, Pampanga and Greenbelt 5. No plans yet to expand to Baguio City. Slow but sure. Too bad… oh well.
Arpee asks how UCC measures up. Abbey insists that they focus more on “Sit down, forget what’s happening outside.” Target market of UCC: professionals. At UCC Tomas Morato, their main customers are the Chinese-Filipinos. At EDSA Connecticut: golfers. At UCC Podium: bankers of ADB. At UCC Paseo de Roxas: executives.
Swank? You tell me.
11:15 AM: Had a Classic Breakfast with English Bangers, scrambled eggs, Japanese salad, and wheat bread. The salad was made of tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. I liked the wheat bread – no butter, I like my bread without palaman – and the scrambled eggs and salad were so-so. I ordered the bangers for the pornographic connotations in it. Really.
The bangers were terrific. I know they’re a swanky version of longganisa, but hey, they taste really good. You can imagine making a sandwich out of the wheat bread, the lettuce, the eggs, and the bangers… but I have bad table manners. (I have RSI, so I can’t handle cutlery properly).
Cost: P289. What strikes me as rather queer about it is that the Blue Mountain coffee costs P100 more than the meal. I ordered orange juice with the breakfast meal, because I drank a bucket of San Miguel Pale Pilsen last night. I need detoxification. The orange juice is not Tang or Eight O’Clock or bad orange-flavored garbage; it’s freshly-squeezed. Excellent.
Time for dessert; the problem is, I’m not a dessert eater, so I just decided to take a photograph of the P165 Coffee Jelly Cooler:
I’m not a dessert-eater… I hate dessert. I despise dessert with the wrath and the fury of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I loathe dessert. Under duress, I took a few bites of ice cream and coffee jelly. It didn’t make a convert out of me, but I suppose that if you revel in the decadence of sweet vanilla ice cream and jelly made from brewed coffee, you’ll like it.
You’ll really like it.
After that we got some gift certificates (I think), UCC instant coffee (I’m giving them away to the first five people to tell me I’m sexy… whatever), pens, and a coffee cup.
Anyway, for the lowdown on UCC…
I could rant and rave about how much I don’t like coffee shops for the annoying swankiness and poseur wealth that comes with people drinking just one coffee for three hours, but UCC is different. UCC prides itself on its coffee, but it’s more of an experience than anything else. Granted that it’s not exactly the cheapest place to eat, much less have a coffee, but excellence has a price. It is pricey, but with big servings and great coffee, it’s really a good place to have an experience like no other. It will dent your budget if you don’t make enough, but everyone needs their own bits of luxury every now and then. That – including terrific sausage and the chemistry of 133t siphoned coffee – is enough reason to make UCC a monthly treat.
Many thanks to UCC Trinoma. You ain’t seen the last of me.