Monday, March 30, 2009

1st Year Anniversary Teaser

We're open from 11 am to 2 am on April 14!

11 am - Free Mocha Frothiccino (75 pesos) and any pasta (50 pesos) for the first 10 (ten) groups to arrive (ang group ay 2 people and above, so kahit ilan man kayo isang meal at drink lang ang libre. Kilala namin kayo kaya walang dayaan ha!)

3 pm - Free Bowl of Chips for the first 5 (five) customers to arrive at this time.

7 pm - Free Iced Tea (regular) for the first 5 (five) customers to arrive at this time.

10 pm - Free Blueberry Cheesecake for the first 3 (three) customers to arrive at this time.

1 am - Free Flavor of the Month for the FIRST customer to arrive!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Summer Lag

The school year is almost over and that means we won't be seeing a lot of people this week. Last week wasn't really THAT exciting. I'm still getting used to my job as manager, it's a bit boring right now though since it's not the same work as being a barista. A barista is always on the move, staying active making drinks the whole day. A manager sits down the whole day and thinks of stuff to do. Then I'll get fat.

Starting this week, Neil will be working Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Kuya Ramhil will be taking over the rest of the week. I will be your cashier on Thursdays and your cook on Fridays. But what I enjoy most since hiring Kuya Ramhil are our "coffee sessions". It's part of the day where I will blabber about all things coffee, teaching Kuya Ramhil my tricks and techniques, plus stuff that I read from the Barista Techniques Guide I got from Phil Ho and Highlander Coffee. Bessy also joins our sessions because she enjoys the free drinks we're trying. Hehe. And now that I have more time than ever before, I can now obsessively clean the espresso machine every now and then. Since coming back from Singapore I've become paranoid about bitter coffee. You can't mask bitterness with milk or water. So I test the espresso every once in a while to check. A clean machine is one of the factors for a great-tasting cup of coffee. It's not the sole factor, ok? Only one of the important factors, only one.

I've been online all day. This Globe Tattoo contraption is doing wonders for me. It's not that fast but it has a strong signal at our apartment. And I'm from the "dial-up" generation, who am I to say what's fast and what's not? I survived with PLDT Vibe for years, I'm used to a slow connection. I made web pages on Geocities using a Vibe card, so this Globe Tattoo thing is a huge upgrade. I've finished the Anniversary AVP but I haven't uploaded it yet. Yes, it is because of the slow connection. But at least I can blog and check my e-mail at this speed. I've tried some stuff on Facebook too. I haven't really explored the features of Facebook so I spent time on it today.

This summer Cafe Antonio and Azzul Grapika will be teaming up to put up the Cafe Antonio Online Store on (we're not yet sure what to call it yet, you're welcome to offer suggestions). Through that store, we'll be selling Cafe Antonio merchandise like shirts, mugs, tumblers, coasters, and other stuff. We'll also be selling our Houseblend Beans through that store. We'll be posting our designs on Multiply as soon as we can.

Please suggest what other merchandise you would like us to sell. We'll appreciate your ideas, thanks!

Hey blog readers, I hope you could hangout at the cafe this week, if you haven't been there for a while, this week is perfect. Not much traffic. But that's what I think. Again, we can never predict stuff in business.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Look Crew (once again)

Our new menu board

Store Supervisor, Manong Retz (center), leading the new crew: (L-R)Bessy, Marc (OJT), Neil (guwapo), and Kuya Ramhil

Our newest barista, Ramhil Malabanan

Almost a year has passed. Let’s see how many crew lineup changes we’ve made during our first eleven months (for the sake of nostalgia):

1.) Cashier – Nica; Barista – Jabez; Cook – Joyce
2.) Cashier – Retz; Barista – Jabez/Julius; Cook – Dan
3.) Cashier – Retz; Barista – Jabez/Neil; Cook – Dan
4.) Cashier – Retz/Majals; Barista – Jabez/Neil; Cook – Tracy/Padeys
5.) Cashier – Retz/Padeys; Barista – Jabez/Neil/Tracy; Cook – Tracy/Dan
6.) Cashier – Retz; Barista – Jabez/Neil; Cook – Bessy/Marc
7.) Cashier – Retz; Barista – Neil/Ramhil; Cook – Bessy

Honorable mentions include Yell, our volunteer barista last summer, and Tonio, our first OJT busboy.

A lot has changed; most have moved on and pursued different careers apart from the café. And some have gone back to school to focus on their studies. It’s refreshing for us to remember and give props to those who have helped us get through it all during the course of this amazing year. We always thank our customers on our blogs but we seldom give kudos to those people on the “inside”. These people, no matter how long they’ve worked at the café and whatever position they’ve held, have made history by being one of those who have brought the café to where it stands today.

We’re turning 1 next month, and we couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you very much, Nica, Dan, Tonio, Majals, Tracy, Padeys, and Julius. Saka ka na Marc, isang linggo ka pa magtatarabaho dito, hehe.

Cafe Tour and Coffee Class
Last Thursday, the cafe conducted its very first coffee class. There were 16 HRM students from STI College-Calamba who attended. Special thanks to Sir Fercival for giving us an opportunity to share our knowledge and conduct the class at our cafe. The students learned about the basic fundamentals of coffee brewing and some of them experienced extracting espresso, steaming milk, and free-pouring.

If your school is interested in having a cafe tour and/or conducting a basic coffee appreciation class, our cafe is available upon your request. For more questions and further inquiries, contact Jabez Flores (0917-3406945). We will try to arrange something for you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Upgrading, Rebuilding, Improvising - Welcome to Our World

I was still in Singapore the last time I wrote a blog entry. That was early in the morning in our room at the YMCA. Since then a lot has happened.

I went to Singapore for the sole purpose of upgrading my skills as a barista. I knew that it would be beneficial for both our cafe and myself. When I came back last, last Saturday I went straight to the cafe and immediately taught Neil (our barista) the things I learned. Coming back to Highlander after 2 years got me inspired to work again at our cafe with renewed excitement and a revived passion for what I do and what I like. When things get dull and routine takes over your life, it's good to take a step back and get a bird's eye view of your whole life. Then you will tell yourself, "So this is what I'm living for, I haven't seen it this way for a long time."

I would like to thank my instructors at Highlander, Phil and Cedric Ho, and their very talented barista, Li. Thanks guys, hope we could come up with something here soon.

We've been working at the cafe for almost a year now, next month will be our 1st year anniversary (April 14). And it's really an achievement that we've been able to maintain an establishment for that long. We're kids with big dreams, and getting stuck in a hole doing the same thing everyday is really quite challenging. But what's good is that we're learning to persevere believing that everthing we have sacrificed will be all worth it in the end.

The cafe's been doing very well this March. We had back-to-back 11k Fridays for the past two weeks (117 and 113 customers respectively). That's something new to us and we're very thankful for the support of our customers despite the "hell month".

Neil and I are training a new barista to replace me full-time in the near future. You might have seen him last week helping us out, his name is Kuya Ramhil. I decided to hire him and really concentrate on developing him as a barista so that I could focus fully on managing the cafe.

The MOCHACCINO DIABLO is becoming very popular thanks to its exotic spicy flavor. It's still available until the end of March.

Yummings ( has new creations for sale at the cafe: blueberry cheesecake and chocolate mousse, both only 35 pesos each.

If you've noticed we had smaller cups last week, and our frothiccinos tasted a little different. That's because we ran out of supplies last week, we had to improvise a little. But don't worry, our supplies came yesterday so everything's back to normal. We apologize for the inconvenience. I apologize to my friend, Kim, he didn't get to order his white mocha frothiccino.

Cafe Antonio Crew bonding at Starbucks, Petron, SLEX

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Early Morning Updates from Singapore

Yesterday I attended my workshop at the Highlander Academy of Coffee here in Singapore. I arrived there at 9 in the morning then went home at eleven in the evening. It was really fun and I learned a lot of cool stuff. But I had too much coffee to drink, the espresso was so good I think I downed about 8 shots. I'm really quite ready and excited to go back home now and teach the techniques I learned here to our staff. It would really help the cafe a lot. Plus I'm really excited about the Red Jumpsuit mall tour. Hehe. Jason Mraz is here, he performed last night but I didn't get to watch.

Dan and I are staying at the YMCA. It's really quite nice, we've got cable, flat screen TV, and WiFi. Very convenient. We'll be having our buffet breakfast after I take a bath then we'll head back to my school to get my certificate and practice a little. I'm planning to stay at our room for most of the day just to rest and watch TV.

For Joyce and the cafe staff, I didn't get you guys anything, anything personal at least. Dan and I ended up spending a fortune on our first day here, long story. We paid a lot of additional fees that was not in our budget. But I will get a JBL speaker for the cafe to replace Dan's speakers. It's a small round iPod speaker and it has excellent sound. It's amazing. It's so small but the sound beats the quality of the larger Sony speakers we tested. JBL's a good brand. I think I'll put the speaker in the bookshelf so that people won't figure out where the music is coming from. Really cool.

Ok see you guys on Saturday, it's very cool here, especially if you like toys, gadgets, and stuff, but I really miss our hill billy lifestyle back in ELBI. God bless!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March On March!

It's time to use those Loyalty Mugs! Now that the Loyalty Program is over (that means you can no longer get those cards signed, sorry!), you can now use your mugs to get insane discounts! You can start bringing your friends on Monday to get your free drinks.

Our FoM for March is the MOCHACINNO DIABLO. A drink inspired by the month of March being the "hell month" for students. For the first time, we didn't use our signature frothiccino mix for this drink. Instead, we used the sheeeer powerrrrr of our houseblend espresso. For those looking for a kick for that extra energy to stay awake, this drink is definitely for you. Try it starting Monday, March 2, for only 120 pesos.

We've been having multi-cab adventures for the past few days, just to try something different. Last Friday, the staff and a few of our friends played charades at the Jollibee parking lot in Paseo de Sta. Rosa. The next day we went to Burger King in Calamba and then passed the time at Starbucks at Petron, SLEX.

This week, Dan and I will be in Singapore. I'll be attending a workshop in the same school I went to 2 years ago, the Highlander Academy of Coffee. Dan will be applying in a photography workshop. So you won't be seeing me for quite a while.

Please pray for my trip, see you soon!