Pictures from Starbucks Japan

I am a big fan of Starbucks Japan — specifically, its Twitter page (@Starbucks_J). Sometimes I go there just to look at the pictures and sigh over the strategically arranged food and wares. For some reason, this seems to make me feel better equipped to face the rest of my chaotic day.

Now, I know that Starbucks is generally good at selling/promoting its brand, as there is a plethora of Starbucks-related material (images, promos, links, etc.) littering the Web these days, enthusiastically proliferated by customers, bloggers, and coffee fans, but its Japanese arm is really taking things to a higher level. Those guys really know how to highlight their message with a deft mixture of colors, lighting, and props. They certainly know what it takes to achieve more with less fuss and clutter.

Below are a few examples:

So, when I see a nice picture that I particularly like, I can’t help but save a copy of it in my local directory — with some vague plans of writing a post about it later.

Well, I guess this is it. ūüôā

 

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UCC 3rd Wave Clockwork (Blue Bay, Macapagal Ave.)

UCC Cafe

I finally had the¬†chance to check out UCC 3rd Wave¬†Clockwork about a week ago. It wasn’t exactly a planned move, although I got curious about this newly opened place¬†when I passed by its doors a few days earlier. It’s just that Starbucks (Bluebay Walk) at that time was rather full and I still had not eaten any lunch, so I retraced my steps and entered UCC Clockwork.

Upon entering its doors, it soon hits you that this place ain’t¬†no regular coffeehouse for the pedestrian shopper (it is one of those places that, unless you have well-lined pockets, prompts you to check your wallet before entering) — it is spacious and the store layout is pleasing after the heat outside — in short, this cafe is consciously designed to impress and appeal to the burgis coffee-guzzling crowd.

Oh well, not that I ever really cared for any of that. All I wanted was a place where I could eat, drink coffee, work undisturbed for a couple of hours at least, and with a good wi-fi service and lots and lots of convenience outlets (please!). And what do you know, UCC Clockwork has all of that (4 check marks out of 5 would have been good enough for me).

Meanwhile, here are a few more snaps of the place.

UCC 2nd FLUCC Function Rm 1 view from the balcony view from upstairs

Based on some press work from the UCC management, UCC Clockwork is the company’s¬†centerpiece (they have several stores scattered around the metro) for their current approach on third wave coffee. The logic of it escapes me, but you’re into a more detailed explanation of this newfangled concept, here is a good place for that.

Sorry, I only managed to take a few pictures. I didn’t want to attract too much attention lest they mark me as an undesirable busybody and refuse me entry next time hahaha. As you can surmise, I was at the second floor at that time, so I was¬†not able to get¬†a good look at¬†the ground floor.

And here’s a sight to warm the cockles of a freelancer’s heart:
electrical outlet

Why yes, that’s a convenience outlet right there. And what’s more, they are scattered all over the place (practically under every table in the second floor), so there’s no need to worry about losing steam while you’re in the middle of your work.

My Absurd, Totally Unnecessary but Strangely Compelling Quest for Another Starbucks Planner Begins Today

Strabucks Planners 2015

And so begins another one of those absurd-yet-improbably-addictive annual exercise that me and some of my friends pursue during the last couple of months of each year — collecting enough stickers to get one of those Starbucks Planners (I swear, it’s like an annual sports event that we can’t get out of and would probably miss if we actually skipped it hahaha.)

Don’t ask me why I keep on doing this. I have stopped looking for a good answer to¬†that question a long time ago, right after the novelty of it wore off (which happened pretty quickly, mind you). The last one I managed to get (the Starbucks 2014 Planner) is still in its box at home. I think I must have marked about 3 pages of it, before putting it back and moved on to something else.

And as for the usual yardstick I use whenever I feel to the urge to buy something — Do I really need this? — the answer would be a resounding NO.

But still.

Quest for SB Planner 2015The usual justification I use these days — I’m often at Starbucks anyway (for work and coffee), so I might as well get something out of it — is the one I’m resolutely holding on to. At least until I finish collecting all the stickers I’d need for one of those darn planners (I want the brown one).

After that, who knows? Oh yes, this reminds me of something: Pseudoshrink requested that I do the honors for her (one set of tickers for 1 planner) this year since she won’t be here long enough to collect all the stickers she needs.

Righty-o, TPS. Consider it done.

Note: This will at least give me enough¬†reason to keep coming back to Starbucks (it’s not like I’m¬†planning to avoid the place anyway) — aside from the coffee and when my laptop batteries are sorely in need of a recharge. Ha.

In Search of a Good Coffice

A coffice (coffeehouse + office) is a place where one can get coffee, but also where one can set up a laptop computer and do office work.

coffice

Despite my fervent hopes that somebody (business, interest group, enterprising individuals) would finally open a fully functional honest-to-goodness coffice (see how an actual coffice operates in London; Ziferblat London, pictured above) here in Metro Manila, it looks like it won’t be happening anytime soon.
So, to satiate my craving for a nice coffice, I am instead going to point out a few coffee shops that have become my favorite “working” haunts (as a freelancer). As I am fairly mobile, I can usually be found working away in some cafe in various parts of the metro. I find that this constant scenery change works best for my mercurial working habits, and coffeehouses have literally become my office of sorts.

Usually it takes me 30 minutes to 1 hour to decide if I “liked” the place well enough to consider it a favorite, which means that there is a very high probability that I would be coming back to that establishment sooner rather¬†than later. Other times, I can tell right away that I’m going to like the place just a few seconds after I enter the store entrance. Typically it requires a quirky combination of factors — even seemingly inconsequential ones — ¬†but when they do hit the spot, it just makes your work a little easier.

Anyway, here they are in no particular order.

1. Caffe Bene (SM BF, Paranaque City)
Pros: Fast internet, spacious, includes a walled smokers’ area, relatively near
Cons: Can get fairly crowded on weekends, closing time is rather early (9:00 pm)

Caffe Bene (SMBF)

2. Starbucks SM Aura (Bonifacio Global City, Makati)
Pros: Spacious with high ceilings, numerous convenience outlets, not too crowded
Cons: Too far, closing time is rather early, no wi-fi

3. Bo’s Coffee (Glorietta 4, Makati)
Pros: Good food selection; increased number of chairs, tables, and convenience outlets; fairly accessible; open for 24 hours; free wi-fi (for up to 2 hours)
Cons: Can get too crowded pretty quickly

4. Starbucks Bluebay Walk (EDSA cor. Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City)
Pros: Numerous convenience outlets, spacious, great lighting scheme, piped-in music, free parking, not too crowded (for now), long operating hours; a perfect place for reviewers
Cons: A bit far, no wi-fi

There you go. I am fairly certain that I will be expanding this list soon, but for the moment these are the places that I consider premium — which means that working in these particular coffeehouses can be a breeze. Also, I will be blogging about each of these establishments in detail later (when I have more time at my disposal).