Before we proceed, I need you to know 3 things. First, I don't take coffee shops and cafes lightly. Number two, I take coffee invitations ever so seriously. And lastly, I am a self-declared advocate of a certain coffee-related cause for all mankind. (I came across these lines from Hawaii Five-O during the usual banter between Steve and Danny and from then on, I declared myself as the founder of "coffee is not a relationship, it is a beverage" advocacy). That's how pretty serious I can get, boys and girls.
CAFE+ is probably the Bulacan's most hyped coffee shop for a while now. Or at least that's how I know it. There was even a time when all I can see and hear is "CAFE+ tayo!" from one too many people in my life and a whole lovely lot from my timeline and Instagram feed with tagged photos and check in details of the cafe's location. Me being the three things mentioned above, you're probably wondering why it took me so long to jump into the bandwagon. Well there's that and my ever reluctant self to indulge a hype while it's out there - I'm just uncool like that I guess? Hahaha, latebloomer forever. Until a perfect situation presented itself. Few friends from the South decided to come over The North to see what our humble province has to offer. I was lucky enough to be invited over for lunch and coffee so I am now a "CAFE+ virgin no more!"
CAFE+ as a whole is such a brilliant idea. I have mad admiration to the one who came up with the whole "coffee.brunch.dessert" idea because it's such a good and effective marketing strategy! Not to mention the place itself - in this day and age where everything is Instagramable or Pinterestesque, consumers are not just after how your products taste like, they have upped their standards, they are after the visuals and all that jazz too! And then after all that, you have to have a reasonable price for all of your offerings. The whole time I was there, I was obsessing over the whole lot! The menus written in typography. The lights strategically placed all over the counter and corners. The mirror walls creating an illusion of space and modern living. The way they cater you your orders - coffee served in Mason jars, cakes that are far too pretty to eat and meals that actually taste good and will actually make you full. Basically, it is our typical Pinterest coffee shop brought to life. And I guess right about now, it is safe to say that is well worth the hype after all.
However, outside of those technical things which are the defaults, I still have a particular checklist of my own. Shocker. The location has to be out of the ordinary. I want my cafe to be in a retreat site, where people would actually decide to go and not just a luring option. Needless to say, I'd rather not do fancy cafe and coffee anymore unless really called for. The ambiance has got be really chilled out and conducive to individuality. Even when I'm with good company and especially if I'm all by my lonesome self. It has to make me want to stay for a long time, even finish a book if I can and practice actual coffee shop etiquette. Which basically means, I can go there in the morning and then still be there till lunchtime and I actually order food from the counter as the time pass me by. The caffeine fix. I am very easy to please, I don't even judge the drink by its cuppa or its price tag. I just want a good conversation to go with any cuppa Joe every single time if possible. But it is always a welcome surprise to be wowed by a drink at first sip and/or at first sight.
The location. CAFE+ is strategically located along the highway. I think it is a private property turned into a business venture that's why it is not really a busy place to begin with, there's this homey feel to it. It can hold a good amount of crowd, it can grow big and small the whole time but it won't make you feel like you can't have your own little bubble of quite, there will always be enough for space for that. But oh, there's a very limited parking space though. The ambiance. We stayed there for an awful long time. Like we had brunch outside - we had the Tapsilog meal which is pretty decent. Not really remarkable but it's fine - literally. Since the beef strips are shredded and fine and sprinkled on top of the rice. And then eventually had our dessert time inside - I had the unforgiving Cookie Butter Cheesecake which is an instant favorite!!! I looooove love looooove cheesecakes and I usually just go for the usual berry cheesecakes but this one is just on another level guys! There were little kisses all over it!!! After some more time, we decided on getting Peach and Mango Waffle for the group and we all loved it too! I now think all waffles should be served that way! So you can really tell by now how we were able to maximize the experience and the place at once. The caffeine fix. Mine was love at first sip. I had the "chocnut" flavoured iced coffee, I think it's called Peanut Butter Iced Coffee or something. And this is an instant favorite! There's nothing big about it, but it tastes like Choc Nut boys and girls! Chocnut in a cuppa with caramel whip on top!!! That is all I'm saying. I think with this kind of cafes, you can't help but play favorites since they don't change the menu a lot, you tend to order the same thing over and over again and it's fine because it's worth it? CAFE+ is that kind.
See? I do love me a good chat about a cafe, especially if it tickles my fancy. So if I do extend a CAFE+ invitation your way, it also goes without saying that I basically just want to spend the rest of my day with you and your stories. And if I throw a coffee invitation your way at all, which I don't usually just throw around, you already know what it actually means to me. Still not a relationship, let us all be clear about that. HA! And I can already see myself coming back here some time soon with a good book that I'd probably finish in one CAFE+ sitting with a cuppa of that Peanut Butter flavoured coffee.Because, in the words of the legend that is Matthew Timothy Healy, "life's too short to drink crappy coffee and cry over boys who don't care".Or not, oooops! But yup. I can definitely smell the memory already!