Coffee Love

It’s very seldom that I go to Starbucks now. If you follow this blog, you’d know that I’ve been frequenting other cafes when I go out. But when I had my “Me” time yesterday, I decided to reunite with my favourite seasonal beverage “Toffee Nut Latte“. Drinking this helps me feel the Christmas spirit and somehow brings me to happy memories from my other home, Manila.

The Starbucks I used to frequent had a new set of staff. I was kind of sad and missed my old barista but the new one was good as well. He made my Toffee Nut Latte perfectly sweet (no need to add sugar). 

A few musings while I was enjoying my cuppa:
Starbucks coffee is really expensive. My tall latte with whipped cream cost me about $5.30. Most cafes here charge less and taste better. I find more value buying their coffee beans and making coffee the way I like it.

Husband and I unconsciously choose to have coffee at home since we’ve had the Nespresso. And because of that we are saving money. How? We save on petrol, we save on time going out, we save on money because we are not tempted to buy things we don’t need when we’re out and most of all, the Nespresso coffee pods are cheap (a coffee pod costs between 68cents-70cents) and yet we get great quality coffee.

Drinking coffee in the Philippines is expensive. Yes while having coffee, I thought of how expensive it is to maintain a “coffee lifestyle” in the Phils. Wala lang, naisip ko lang. Let’s not do the converting of dollars to peso because that’s not the point. I just have this comparison. The money you pay to buy a tall latte in the Philippines is equivalent to a few  train rides in the MRT; while in Australia, a tall latte is equivalent to one train ride. Also, we can find a good cup of coffee in Australia from AUD$2.70 to $3.50. The Phils has cheaper alternatives but in general it still seems expensive to me. While drinking coffee (in cafes) in Australia is likened to a basic commodity, drinking coffee (in cafes) in the Phils seems like a luxury. 

So there, just a few idle thoughts of mine yesterday. Have a lovely day today!

Nothing beats starting my weekend mornings with great tasting coffee. Once or twice a week, I let myself indulge with a cup of coffee. I wake up early and spend my first hour grinding coffee beans (if I’m not having Nespresso, that is.), french pressing coffee granules and savouring a hot cup of strong, black coffee.

Thanks to my dear friend Majo, who recently sent me my favourite coffee from the Philippines, the Barista Blend of Bo’s Coffee. I’ve missed this old friend of mine and I’m glad that thru my friend’s thoughtfulness (she also got me a Bo’s Coffee mug!), I’m able to have a feel of my other home by just sipping this rich blend.
Mornings with Bo's Coffee
Mornings with Bo's Coffee

“I met Bo” during the time I’ve worked in Cebu. Bo’s Coffee was a humble cafe in Ayala Centre Cebu. When the Husband and I were still dating, one of our favourite cafes then was Bo’s Coffee in Robinson’s Galleria. Numerous lunch/dinner dates end at Bo’s Coffee for dessert or nightcap.

When I visited Manila last year,I was glad to know that Bo’s Coffee has more branches in Metro Manila. It meant more chance to have “coffee klatches with Bo“.

Mornings with Bo's Coffee
Mornings with Bo's Coffee
Mornings with Bo's Coffee
When we were in Manila and there’s a nearby Bo’s Coffee, we’d make time for a cuppa so I can have my fill  of Bo’s Coffee, and yes, sneak in for a few of their desserts too.
So how was your weekend? I hope you were able to do some things you loved, spend time with family or friends and still had time to rest and relax.

My weekend was a mixture of spending time with friends, sending care boxes to our families in the Philippines and hanging out at home with the Husband. It was one of those busy weekends but thankfully we found time to relax as the weekend came to a halt. 

I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I met up with Meds for coffee at a Starbucks near her place. Meds and I met via a common friend and we also found out that her cousin Rachel was an ex-workmate of my Husband when he worked in Dubai. Thru shared interests and coffee dates once once in a while, Meds and I have became closer thru time and I’m very grateful for her gift of friendship and positivity. 

It was fortunate that for the first few hours, Starbucks was quiet when we were there. We were able to enjoy our coffee while we chat non-stop about anything and everything we can think of.  

Funny that we wanted to try the Salted Caramel Frappuccino but wasn’t available when we were there. So I opted to try a Caramel Macchiato Frappuccino. It was my first time to try it and I was happy to know that it tasted good. I enjoyed it with a slice of New York Cheesecake which I haven’t eaten for long while.

Starbucks
Pad Site 1, Westfield Mt Druitt
Carlisle Avenue, Mt Druitt NSW
Phone: (02) 9625 9800

Our visit to Cabramatta always starts at Cafe 86 to have our fill of coffee. Cafe 86, used to be owned by parents of Luke Nguyen, is well-known for their Vietnamese Coffee. We usually get here at around 10ish in the morning and there would always be a few tables occupied by people chilling and chatting with friends while having a glass of coffee or fruit juice.

The ambiance is reminiscent of simple cafes in Asia. There’s nothing very fancy with the interiors of this cafe but it is homey and relaxing. I always feel like the world stops while we enjoy our drinks whenever we are here and the vibe to stay is always alluring.
Cafe 86 (Cabramatta, NSW)

The Husband always orders the Hot Cup of Vietnamese Coffee so I get to have a taste of both everytime we’re here.  It’s strong and very creamy.

Cafe 86 (Cabramatta, NSW)

Their Iced Vietnamese Coffee is considered the best that’s why people come here just to have a drink of this rich, sweet and smooth beverage. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s very strong compared to other coffees but it’s bitterness and is greatly balanced with the sweetness of condensed milk.

Cafe 86 (Cabramatta, NSW)
Drinking Vietnamese coffee becomes a more beautiful experience when chased up with a glass of Jasmine Tea which is served free of charge. During cold season, they serve it hot while in warmer days, they serve it with ice.

The service staff of Cafe 86 are accommodating although they may have a bit of difficulty understanding what you want, just be sure to point at the menu board or point at someone else’ drink (works all the time!). If you think your Vietnamese Coffee’s too strong for you liking, just let them know and they are kind enough to adjust the bitterness/sweetness for you.

Other than coffee and tea, they also serve fresh fruit juices.

Cafe 86
4/29 John Street, Cabramatta 2166
Phone: (02) 9723 2696

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Cabramatta Part 2

The long wait is over. We finally found the right Nespresso machine for us.

The Husband learned about the wonders of Nespresso when he worked in Dubai. That was in 2007. When he arrived here in Sydney, one of his gifts to me were two sets Nespresso cups, spoons and a sugar holder. He told me that one day, we will have our own machine.

It was a mixture of prolonging my love affair with a French press and finding the right machine for us. 

Everytime we’re at a department store, we always find ourselves passing by the coffee machines, thinking and dreaming of having one. Every visit, we’d have a favourite but we were never certain which one to bring home. 

One major reason why I’ve been hesitant to buy a Nespresso machine is because I love that I have different coffee brands at home. I’ve always loved making coffee manually, via a grinder and French press and with these two around, I can freely buy coffee beans anytime I want. I thought that having a Nespresso machine will curtail that. So everytime the Husband told me, “Come on, let’s buy this machine.” I would always say, “Not now, later.” 
In August, we learned that Nespresso came out with a new machine. It was called Nespresso U. We liked its simple yet sophisticated design. It was love at first sight, I guess, because I kept thinking of it for days and imagining how it would look in our kitchen.
The Nespresso Experience

We read and asked the staff at Nespresso Boutique about the machine and here are some of its features:

  • pre-programmed cup sizes. The three buttons on top of the machine refers to three cup sizes: Ristretto (25ml), Espresso (40ml), and Lungo (110ml).
  • soft touch interface
  • automatic piercing and brewing
  • automatic capsule injection
  • modularity – adjustable water tank according to space availablility
  • magnetic dip tray
  • automatic power off mode
  • no drip technology (stopping drips and automatically ejecting each capsule in the used capsule container)  which makes it one of the cleanest machines in the market.

On our last visit at Nespresso Boutique, the staff informed us that they were having a promo for some of their machines in store, that if we buy a machine we’d get a AUD$50 cashback. The promo was until September 9. So I had to think about it fast. Four days before the promo ended, we bought our first Nespress machine, U.

Nespresso U is reasonably priced at AUD$299.00 and it comes with an Aericcino 3 Frother and 16 coffee capsules. Because of the AUD$50 cashback promo, it means the total cost of the machine and frother for us would only be AUD$249.00. Great timing and value!

The Nespresso Experience
Nespresso Capsules. Better known as the Grand Crus, it comes in 16 different coffees. That means sixteen flavours, aromas and different levels of intensity. The intensity is defined by a coffee’s degree of roasting, its body and its bitterness; it does not refer to the amount of caffeine found in the coffee.

Best to note that their decaf capsules are decaffeinated using the Swiss Water method to remove all the caffeine naturally and leaving a smooth full tasting long coffee. So their decaffeinated capsules are perfectly safe and healthy.
The Nespresso Experience

Nespresso currently sells a Limited Edition capsule, the Crealto. It’s strong and rich but smooth. You can buy a pack of 30 capsules for only AUD$25.++. We were told that it will only be available for a few more weeks so if you haven’t tried it, get it soon.

The Nespresso Experience
Current favourite Grand Crus. Of all the Grand Crus I’ve tried, I enjoy Crealto, Arpeggio, Dulsao de Brasil and Decaffeinato Lungo the most. It seems that my taste palette leans on the high intensity coffees. 
The Nespresso Experience
Blessing from blogging. The money I used to buy this machine came from what I earned from blogging. At least everytime I see our Nespresso machine, I can always say “This one came from my blogging efforts.” I’m so grateful that I’m able to buy something useful from my writing endeavours. Like I always mention, never in my wildest dreams did I see myself being active in the blogosphere. God knows how long I’ve hesitated and resisted to be active in this digital world but believe it or not, it is only recently that I’ve fully embraced it. So far, the universe has been very kind to me. And I’m very grateful to everyone who reads and supports my blog (Thank you, dear readers and advertisers!). 
The perks of being a Nespresso Club Member. Every member gets to have a card or key once a machine is purchased. Members get discounts in some Nespresso accessories or capsules. Given a minimum order of 200 capsules, they will deliver to you for free.  They also offer machine assistance service and if your machine needs repair, they can loan you with a machine (depending on availability). My favourite benefit is dropping by the Nespresso Boutique and going to the Piano Tasting Bar where you can have a cup of coffee to taste. 

They can recycle used capsules! Just go to Nespresso ecolaboration website and know more of this project.

The Nespresso Experience
We are very happy with our Nespresso U. It’s so easy to use and the Nespresso Grand Crus tastes so good. We are enjoying every cup that this machine is making. If you’re thinking of buying one, it’s a good investment for the home especially if you love having great coffee all the time.