As the American director, David Lynch simply put “I like cappuccino actually. But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all”. I am quite certain that most of us would agree, likewise our agreement to a cup of coffee every after meal, in a long conversion with a good old friend or even when we just need a jerk to wake up. In the Philippines, enjoying your coffee equates to savoring every drop in a cozy, comforting and typically well-designed coffee shops. From a law student trying to digest Obligations and Contracts, to a sales executive narrating to a novice how multi-level marketing works, to an HR officer doing his coaching, a coffee shop nowadays is transformed into many venues and not just a mere “sit down and talk”. And this doesn’t discount tech-enthusiasts such as my brother from the equation.
Interest in Technology
Mark Marcelo, FTA Founder, Editor in Chief and my big brother, became interested with technology since high school, when pagers arrived in the Philippines. Since then he loves to hold, explore, and experience gadgets as it evolved inevitably. The FTA Chief openly shares: “Eventually, when cell phones became a hot item in 1999, I always dreamed of owning one. And then, when finally I got to own an Alcatel One Touch 301, sobra akong naging addict (I got addicted) going to malls and doing hands on check with phones on display. Then I collect fliers and I study the specs and capability of each phone and their market both locally and abroad. I got so fascinated with technology.” And when asked why he became fascinated with the subject matter, he has this to say: “I love change and getting better.” Technology is both of which. “And it is already part of our way of life” he added.
Where to Find the Chief
The FTA Chief has equally loved visiting coffee shops and technology. When asked why he patronizes coffee houses, he just has this to say: “Because I love to work in coffee shops, free WIFI, conducive to work and coffee makes me motivated, it rejuvenates my spirit.” Indeed, in the Philippines, coffee shops are built to make people stay. Both exterior and interior designs are welcoming. Seats are comfortable. Customer service is undeniably at its best. Further and as a matter of fact, coffee is a stimulant and an aid to alertness, attention and concentration. As an editorial head and a blogger himself, the FTA chief requires all these to accomplish his articles, business planning, and his daily grind. Mark Marcelo is just one of the many who chooses coffee houses as a place to write, to plan, to study, and to talk aside from the obvious of having a sip of a hot drink.
The First of Its Kind
We have already seen coffee shops combined with a book store, a gym, a souvenir shop. Why not combine it with a gadget shop? This was realized by Digital Walker when it opened the Recession Coffee at the Eastwood Mall, Quezon City. Being its first of its kind, my big brother and I couldn’t miss visiting. With my big brother’s love for coffee and technology, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that he adores the concept. “It is a good idea. We have never seen a gadget shop with a coffee shop inside. This is a new thing” he exclaimed. The store marries the idea of checking out the latest gadget or accessory and the idea of staying and chatting and savoring a cup of coffee. In which case the store invites customers to shop leisurely, to sit back and talk awhile, to take a second look and to keep their own pace as no pressure is on the customers’ shoulders unlike when they walk inside your typical store. As my brother explains it: “At least after buying a gadget, a certain accessory, a bluetooth headset, speaker or phone perhaps, they can unbox their newly purchased product in a coffee shop. They can play with it while having coffee.”
And There is More
The Recession Coffee doesn’t only carry a unique concept but also a unique pricing and a quality drink. Typically, in any of your favorite coffee shop, you will see posted on the wall a wide selection of hot and cold brew and beverage. But, it is not the case for this store; you won’t see any but just a list of what to order. As you approach the cashier, you will pick your choice of drink and here’s what you will love, you’ll be asked how much you’ll pay which means you can give any amount you can afford. Regardless of how much you paid, you get the same quality drink. “The concept is a cup of coffee for everyone to enjoy” said the accommodating barista who assisted me. On that note, I was also pleased by how knowledgeable their employees are.
Sipping my searing hot cappuccino, I definitely was having a good time as I happen to love fresh-made and strong coffee that only proves no sacrifice in quality. The ambiance, which is vital to any coffee shop, is vibrant and inviting. As the barista claimed, there were a lot of students visiting in the afternoon. And as a good friend mentioned to me, it was jam-packed on weekends. All these I say connotes how well received the new concept brought to us by Digital Walker.
Should the Recession Coffee opened more than a decade ago, Mark Marcelo may have just found a perfect second home. Coffee and a gadget shop rolled into one is just hard to resist for tech-enthusiasts out there. Indeed, a new venue for them to converge. But, I just have to say, even if you are not part of the hard-tech community or a searching gadget consumer, the Recession Coffee made the place a common ground for everyone.
Photos by Mark Ballesteros Marcelo