“It’s been three years since we opened the first Starbucks Reserve Store in the Philippines,” Quito Lopez, store development manager of Starbucks Reserve, told me as we sat in the 14th store located at the SM North City Towers in Quezon City.
I recall that inaugural shop On Tomas Morato, where my jaw dropped upon seeing and tasting their Nitro Cold Brew coffee. Now, looking through the menu at the Experience Bar (the bar where Reserve “magic” is made), I see meticulously crafted drinks with a recent addition of ice cream beverages such as Affogato and Cold Brew Malt.
Rare, extraordinary coffee
Lopez explains how Reserve stores differ from the regular stores. “In the Experience Bar, we serve rare and extraordinary coffee from our partner farms in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Sumatra, and brew them using different methods.”
One of these methods is the use of a siphon—a personal favorite because it’s a visual treat. After a seemingly complex but aesthetically pleasing procedure, the end result is a modest cup containing every ounce of flavor one can extract from premium coffee beans.
Through the siphon, it’s amazing to see how chemistry and physics work together to create a delicious serving of coffee.
Adding to your amazement as you sip your cup of joe are captivating sculptures looming over you. This time, the elevated version of the coffee chain wanted to showcase local talent so it brought in Patrick Cabral.
Cabral is a talented artist renowned worldwide for his “Endangered Species” collection, a series of multilayered paper sculptures of 11 of the world’s threatened species.
“A couple of years ago, I decided to create animal sculptures as a personal project while waiting for a commissioned project to finalize,” Cabral says. “Luckily, it got picked up by a lot of design blogs. But the problem was it never really had a purpose aside from aesthetic.
“As a designer, I felt like it was incomplete because the concept wasn’t fully realized so I decided to relate it to endangered species. I initially started doing paper-cut sculptures since it’s very delicate and it kind of represents the status of the endangered species.”
For his team-up with Starbucks, he crafted animal sculptures representing the three main coffee-growing regions: the Sumatran tiger for Asia Pacific, the Kenyan elephant for Africa and the Guatamelan queztal bird for Latin America.
Each piece takes about 20 to 30 days to complete.
As I sipped what was left of the best coffee I’ve ever had so far, appreciating the sculptures, and going over my notes, I realized that Cabral and the Reserve brand had something in common: the courage to innovate. Both continue to push boundaries and create, leading to their continued success. —CONTRIBUTED