It was a fine normal day when I received an invitation from a PR agency that i was selected to be one of the few people who can participate and be part of the Starbucks Coffee College 2017 in the newest and biggest Starbucks branch by far; along 9 Macapagal Blvd. corner Bradco Avenue, Parañaque City. It's really an overwhelming feeling that I was able to have this rare opportunity.

Our senses were awaken through the Starbucks Philippines' Coffee College, and it was really awesome. We all know that coffee is naturally an accompaniment to desserts, but the unique nuances of coffee bring out the flavors in savory dishes as well – much like wine. When paired with different food, the flavors dispersed by each coffee can enhance every bite, elevating the culinary experience with memorable taste sensations. It's crazy but really amazing! I never thought that there's more to coffee than what we usually experience.

“Coffee is not just about drinking it. It’s about savoring each sip and enjoying the experience. Every pairing is unique and will take your coffee experience to new heights.” said Keith Cole, Marketing Head for Starbucks Philippines.
Keith Cole, Marketing Head for Starbucks Philippines
Starbucks Philippines led select media partners and My Starbucks Rewards® members on an unparalleled coffee journey, to showcase Starbucks heritage as the leading purveyor and roaster of the best Arabica coffee in the world. These, coupled with the passion of Starbucks partners (employees) around the world, are the key factors that have differentiated the brand over the past four decades. 

The Starbucks Philippines Coffee College, is an immersive coffee journey, and took its participants through a 4-course coffee and food pairing lunch. Wherein the menu was conceptualized by Celine Lichauco, the Starbucks Philippines - Assistant manager for food with the help of Third VillaflorStarbucks Philippines, Senior learning specialist and in partnership with Chef Booj Supe of Gourmet Garage

Before we started our lunch, we were graced by one of the Starbucks Global Coffee Masters, Mr. MIGUEL BAUTISTA. He is the Shift Supervisor of Venice Grand Canal Mall and the 2017 Starbucks China & Asia Pacific Regional Barista Champion. He showed us the proper way of brewing the perfect coffee to achieve its full flavor and appreciate the coffee a lot better.

2017 Starbucks China & Asia Pacific Regional Barista Champion
I am thrilled to have my lunch knowing that the lunch menu was delightfully paired with the different coffees of Starbucks. The exciting line-up of dishes started off with a refreshing Petite Mesclun and Raspberry Salad paired with Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee

fresh green mesclun, green apple wedges, pears and orange supremes tossed in light raspberry vinaigrette
Cold Brew Coffee is balanced and smooth which makes it easy to pair with most food. Since the salad had a variety of citrus notes, this made the Cold Brew even more refreshing.

While eating we were instructed to eat the dish piece by piece and feel the taste and see effect of coffee into our palates and taste buds while eating a certain ingredient of the dish. It made us taste and appreciate the dish better.

Before the entrées were served, Another Starbucks Global Coffee Master CES RANILLO, the Store Manager, Philcom Bldg. - Paseo De Roxas and the 2017 Starbucks China & Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championship -  Barista Support, as well as the 2017 Starbucks Philippines Barista Championship 1st Runner Up guided us to brew our own cup of Starbucks Kati-Kati™ Blend brewed using the classic coffee press prior to consuming the first entrée dish.

2017 Starbucks & Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championship - Barista Support
2017 Starbucks Philippines Barista Championship 1st Runner Up

Brewing a Starbucks Kati-Kati™ Blend in a classic coffee press
The first main dish, a Sous Vide Angus Beef with Almond Gouda Crumbs paired with a cup of Starbucks Kati-Kati™ Blend
sous vide angus beef, chocolae dem-glace, baby vegetables, potato puree, and gouda infused ground almond crumbs
The Kati-Kati Blend is a medium-bodied coffee originating from Kenya and Ethiopia. When brewed using the coffee press, the citrus notes of the coffee are intensified due to the dark chocolate demi-glace while the gouda cheese brings out the spicy notes of the coffee.

Starbucks Kati-Kati™ Blend
bright with citrus and spice notes
In between entrees, Starbucks Global Coffee Masteres are showcasing the ways on how we can brew our own coffee at home or in the office. They introduced us two (2) brewing methods; the Pour-Over Cone brew and Chemex.

Starbucks Global Coffee Masters: Ces Ranillo and Ana Mendoza
Ana Mendoza
Assistant Store Manager, Starbucks Reserve® 14 Jupiter
2017 Starbucks Philippines Barista Championship 2nd Runner Up

2017 Starbucks & Asia Pacific Regional Barista Championship - Barista Support
2017 Starbucks Philippines Barista Championship 1st Runner Up
Although the same coffee, both brewing methods drew comparison in flavor and body. The pour-over brewing method is a beautifully simple and accessible way to brew a single cup of coffee with clean, fully developed flavor. With this method, the bright citrusy notes of the coffee were brought out and had a lighter feel.

Pour-over method of brewing coffee
While with the Chemex combines elegance and function using a pour over method with a beautiful glass decanter. The Chemex amplified the body of the coffee giving it more of dark cherry citrus notes.

Chemex Method of brewing Coffee
The second main dish was a juicy Grilled Cilantro Chicken with Lime Buerre Blanc which was paired with a Starbucks Reserve® Rwanda Musasa to complement its lemon acidity flavor. The coffee also had a bolder and smoky feel due to the grilled chicken flavor.

grilled chicken fillet lighty rubbed wth cilantro, buttered cauliflower, and lime buerre blanc
Starbucks Reserve® Rwanda Musasa
lemon acidity with notes of black plum and a syrupy, sweet finish
Lastly, the hearty lunch was capped off with an interesting take on a dessert - Coffee Jelly made from Starbucks VIA® Italian Roast topped with Vanilla Ice Cream. Guests were then given a sachet of Starbucks VIA® Matcha to sprinkle on top of the ice cream. This created a wonderful combination of the boldness of coffee and the goodness of green tea with the sweet and creamy taste of vanilla ice cream.

Starbucks VIA® Italian Roast Coffee Jelly & Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Starbucks VIA® Matcha
As the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee, Starbucks has always been defined by its ability to showcase its coffee passion, consistently serving each of their customers the best cup of coffee every time for the ultimate Starbucks Experience. 

Thank you Starbucks Philippines and GrupoAgatep for choosing me as one of the participants for this year's Starbucks Philippines' Coffee College! I really learned a lot with this experience and it made me appreciate coffee a lot more. I didn't know that there's more to coffee than just a morning energy booster or a drink  that is naturally an accompaniment to desserts. Well coffee brings out the flavors in savory dishes as well – much like wine and it's amazing! 

'til the next Coffee College!

for more info and updates on upcoming events from Starbucks Philippines
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