I’m sorry but I disagree.

Hi readers! I’m really sorry for being so silent for the past weeks.

My only excuse for this?

Laziness.

Though I was busy with OJT duties at a coffee academy (and quite exhausted as well!), I can still choose to write but I did not. I felt so lazy. And tired. And lazy. And tired. And I ended up writing nothing.

But please know this: my journey into the coffee scene is certainly an on-going project. The learning never stops.

I am a coffee enthusiast.

A coffee addict on the way.

A frustrated latte artist.

An aspiring professional barista.

Now, a trainee at a coffee academy.

But during the first Latte Art Throwdown that I attended, someone told me that OJT would just be a waste of time. He said that it would be the coffee industry that will hone me, being employed as a barista.

..

.

Words didn’t come out. I was lost for words.

But in my mind, I had my answer.

I had my stand.

I just couldn’t say it directly.

“I’m sorry but I disagree.”

“I’m sorry but I made a decision to finish what I’ve started.”

When we do meet again, I might just have the courage to say this to him:

“Thank you for telling me that OJT would be a waste of time. Because now, I’ve proven it otherwise.”

God bless us!

Adopt a Book – March

“It’s better to be late than never.”

Please forgive me for the long absence. I haven’t written anything for ages! (Yes, exaggerations here!)

You see, my two book projects are still on-going. But I’m quite a failure on the other one – One Book, A Week. I haven’t had the chance to just sit down and read a book. I’ve been quite busy at school, and that’s what I’m using as an excuse.

Fortunately though, I still have the time to drop by at my favorite bookstore and snoop around, even for a little while.

And last March 10, 2015, I adopted five books. I love book sprees!

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Am I a hoarder now?

I’ve been buying and keeping books – and mostly, not reading them, yet.

I really hope I can post a book review here soon.

I really just have to find the time to read and not make any excuses.

God bless us!

My First Latte Art Throwdown

Ooopps! Before you assume that this latte art throwdown is something I participated in, well, you’re correct; in a way.

Yes, I participated; but just as a spectator. (As you may have seen/read my previous posts, it will be a disaster for me to join such competitions at this point.)

Last March 14, 2015, a Saturday, I was planning to go somewhere but it got cancelled. (Someone cancelled on me. Gee.)

As I was not on barista trainee duties that day, I was planning to just rest and read some books. I was planning to finish a book and write a review here. But then, Ate Jay asked me if I can go to school since the OJT trainee that day was not able to report for duty. Since I’ve got nothing to do, I willingly obliged.

After my OJT duties, we had our lunch. An assistant instructor, Sir Jeff, who recently resigned from the school joined me, Ate Jay and Ms. Con. He told to me that there will be a latte art throwdown later in the afternoon that day at 3pm in Coffee Empire. Though I said I am interested to watch, I wanted to go home first to change clothes. (I got a little clumsy during the clean-up and I was wearing a white shirt! I had some coffee stains and dirt. Oh my clumsiness, sometimes! haha)

Anyways, we went to the coffee shop after our lunch and arrived at around 3:30pm. ( We took time to commute, not by taxi, that is.) It was my second time visiting Coffee Empire. The competition hadn’t even started yet as participants were still not rounded-up. Sir Dave, my previous instructor, was a participant for the throwdown. Aside from my mission to watch the event, we went there to show our support.

Not surprisingly, I saw Ate Kristine (my classmate during my barista classes) and I also met Eirene, Sir Tryke. I got to talk to them for a bit. Sir Dave arrived at around 4:30 pm. But the competition hadn’t also started right away. I think it was past 6pm when the competition finally started. ( I was really minding the time since the place I am staying is far from the venue.)

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For this year’s Coffee Empire Free-Pour Latte Art Throwdown, these are the guide for the Visual Score Sheet:

  • Contrast
  • Harmony and Position
  • Creativity
  • Difficulty

There were three judges. (I’m sorry I was not able to take their names. I’m still exploring the coffee world; so I don’t know everyone yet.)

To cut my story short, Sir Dave was not able to qualify during the first rounds but we were proud of him since he was the only artist (that I saw) who made his free-pour latte art in front of the judges! I admire his confidence.

I quickly said my goodbye to Sir Dave, Sir Jeff, Sir Tryke, Eirene and Ate Kristine after. It was past 7pm and I had to be at home, fast!

So much for my first latte art throwdown! I was not able to watch until the end. tsk tsk.

But I had a great time! I was able to meet new people who share the same interest, even love, for coffee.

I hope one day I will be able to participate at one latte art throwdown. To be really a participant, not a mere spectator.

But for now, I will strive to be better as a barista and a latte artist.

God bless us!

There is no such thing as perfect.

Some people may say that I’m a perfectionist.

Maybe I am guilty.

Charged with perfectionism?!

..

.

To be honest, I don’t know if doing the best I could in everything I do to the extent of chasing perfection would qualify as a “crime”. Just kidding. Crime is too much of a word for this one.

Last Monday, I was practicing my heart latte art. It was the kind of latte art I’m good at (during my Barista 102 training, that is) and someone told me I should first get better with it before I try doing the other basic latte art. So I did. I did practice doing only heart pattern while an On-The-Job trainee in PBCA.

I was able to make a better heart pattern than before:

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So I got overly excited and posted it on my FB wall with a caption that says, “My first cup for this week. Heart’s still not perfect, so I’ll keep on practicing!”

I was taken aback when someone commented that, “There is no such thing as perfect!!!”

Yes, I was too conceited.

I forgot that I was speaking of perfection.

Perfection, which doesn’t exist in this world.

No one is perfect.

No object is perfect.

No work is perfect.

Indeed, there is no such thing as perfect.

But what I realized is this: I may be guilty and charged with perfectionism, but I will still do the best I can in everything I do.

I may not achieve perfection, but I want to be closer to it.

Rather than perfection, I now realized I should seek something else: excellence.

Let’s chase excellence than perfection!

God bless us!

The Barista Project Continues

After my last post on February 23, 2015 about passing my Barista 102 class, I was contemplating if I’d start with implementing my business plans. My planned coffee shop business has been overdue for long.

My plan was to go back to my province right after I pass my Barista 102 class. However, I got lazy and postponed it for a week. I had no clear plan in mind; though I was planning to finish reading a book and writing a book review. (But you see, I failed in that too, until now, I haven’t finished any book!)

In that extended week stay, I was just writing on my blog and was also thinking of starting my book. (Frustrated writer here!)

But I was writing more on my other blog; more because I can freely write anything in there. Unlike here, where I got two main themes: coffee and books.

While I was on “stand-by” mode, I was reminded of the real reason why I started taking up barista classes and planning a business. It was not really for me.

So I went home after that “meditation week” – I was planning to recharge. Recharge and renew the growing love I had for learning and inspiring many people. And I knew I can do it better at my home province where I am closer to nature. They say, “closer to nature, closer to God”.

I stayed at my province for only a week then went back to PBCA to apply for their OJT program.

I had my interview just last Tuesday, March 10, 2015 and got accepted. My OJT immediately started the next day.

Yes, I signed up for something that will not reward me any monetary benefit. I was after the liberty of practicing with machines I do not own and other consumables that I won’t pay. Although my previous instructors were already resigned from the school, (which was such a waste I didn’t get to learn from them!) I still applied. I was after the learning; even if I have to learn mostly everything by myself.

Also, even if I may get physically and mentally tired from doing work without monetary compensation, I realized I’m doing something I’m starting to love – learning the art and science of making good coffee. Also, being a beginner again and again as I assist students taking up barista classes. I also realized I want to help people in any way I can – even if it may cost me my vulnerability.

These are my seasoning shots last Wednesday, March 11, 2015:

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And fortunately, even after a long, tiring day, I got to practice for several rounds although my recalls for my previous latte art training were hazy. I tried making a heart and a rosetta. But unfortunately, I failed. But I will keep on practicing!

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My first day was still fun as I got to meet new people – new aspiring baristas.

Please look forward to my journey as I get better being a barista and a latte artist. 🙂

God bless us!

Second Very Short Story

I haven’t finished reading any book for the past week. I’m truly sorry guys. From now on, I will not promise anything that I will not fulfill. For human promises are faulty.

This time, I want you guys to know what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been trying to read, but I was also trying to write.

I’ll be posting my second very short story here from my other blog. Please also drop by my other blog: danicabandojo.wordpress.com

So here goes nothing:

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(Disclaimer: I do not own the photo or make any money out of it.)

An average-looking woman in her mid-twenties was praying to God one lonely summer night, asking for a prince. Yes! A prince.

She kept on praying patiently, for several years until she was thirty.

She was about to give up praying when she heard someone. 

She heard someone talking directly into her head.

She could not believe it.

Telepathy?

But who’s talking?

..

.

God?

“Yes, my princess. I am who you think I am.”

“I heard your prayers.”

“I know you’ve been good; you’ve done good things while patiently waiting for Me.”

“So here’s my reward: I’ll give you your prince.”

The thirty-year old woman was very very very shocked. Beyond shock that is (if there is).

She was overwhelmed by God’s response. But she chose to believe.

..

.

So she wanted to be prettier. She wanted to look younger. She wanted a nicer body.

As she had saved up from her work, she was able to afford for “beauty upgrades”.

She’s looking prettier than ever.

She’s looking younger than her age.

She’s gorgeously curvy.

Then one fateful day, a man came knocking on her door.

She could not believe her eyes!

There, on her front door, a handsome, hot prince stood. Yes, a real live prince.

Impossible it may seem, but this prince found her.

This prince told her that she helped him one rainy day. The prince was on “disguise” – looking like a beggar with baggy, dirty, old clothes. According to the prince, the thirty-year old woman left her umbrella for him and gave him biscuits and some money. Although the woman could not recognize him, or remember seeing him, she was happy she had helped someone in the past.

So they dated.

For two years, they were together. 

They got to know each other well.

The prince took no time to waste.

He proposed. A grand proposal. You could just imagine how princes do such an extravagant proposal!

Unsurprisingly, of course, the thirty-year old woman accepted. (She was not getting any younger too!)

And they lived happily ever after.

….

..

.

But wait, the story is not finished.

Not just yet.

After several years of being married – she found out that her prince was actually a psychopath. She thought she knew him!

Everything seemed wrong all of the sudden.

In her brokenness, she dared ask God why. She questioned Him. She blamed Him.

“Didn’t you promised me a prince? Yet why did I ended up with a psychopath?”

“So what’s the meaning of all this?”

“Are you punishing me?”

“But I was good for all of my life!”

The woman broke down crying.

She was crying for what seemed like eternity.

Eyes puffed, tears drained.

She then heard a voice saying, “I’m sorry my princess, I didn’t recognize you.”

~02/28/15 Late at night, having trouble sleeping~

I hope you find this interesting.

God bless us!

Book Spree?

Like I promise I would, I’m sustaining my two book projects. You see, I don’t intend to remain a failure in my own projects.

So just minutes before this writing, I was out (only by myself, as always, for now) and went to Booksale. I chose to go alone and spend a quality “me” time. I haven’t visited my favorite bookstore for ages! (Okay, okay, insert exaggeration here. haha 😂😂)

It’s been weeks when I last set foot on Booksale; I particularly like their Alphaland Southgate Mall branch, where I always look for Ms. Mary. She had helped me a lot in collecting good series. I kinda miss her. However, there’s also a branch that’s starting to grow on me. I just went there – Booksale Makati Cinema branch. It is a bigger branch than that at Aphaland Southgate Mall. I think it’s also more organized; books are piled by genre. And there are also a lot of good titles!

So with my “Adopt a Book” project in mind, I was planning to adopt just one book. (I’m living on my savings now that I haven’t started with my business plans.) However, I cannot just ignore those books that called out to me.

I can’t put them down.

I can’t leave them behind.

So I gave in.

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So yeah, I adopted 4 books. The one on top is an audiobook.

One thing I really like about Booksale: you will get a 5% discount when you’ve exceeded a Php 1,000 single receipt purchase. Cool, right? I then asked the cashier if how much will be the discount if ever I’ll exceed a Php 2,000 purchase – it’s 10%.

A lady on the line, probably in her fifties, commented that we should have combined our purchases, she said that the books she was buying would also total to a thousand. I just said it’s okay since she’ll also get her 5% discount. She then told me that the largest discount you can get is 15% – that is for a minimum of Php 5,000. Cool!

When I went home, I realized I’ve been buying but not reading! I’m sorry my books for not touching you all for a while. This is now my small collection:

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Some of them were given as gifts, new titles I bought and mostly, books that I adopted.

Then something hit me: I may really be an addict now – in a good way! I’m starting to be addicted to books. I’m probably not also a girl – I spend more on books that on clothes! 😁

Call me nerd, dork or geek, I don’t mind.

 

Hopefully, I will be able to finish a book and post a review here tomorrow.

 

God bless us!

Failed Attempts

I am but a human being who fails – daily. But I’ll never stop getting up again and again from my failures.

While I created this blog to talk about coffee and books, I’ve also started several “projects” – particularly book projects.

I had two – for now.

The first one was “Adopt a Book” Project. I promised that I would adopt a previously own book, (at least one!) every month. I started this in January. So yeah, this is just the second month. However, two days are only remaining before the end of February yet I haven’t adopted a book. Okay, okay. I know I should head to Booksale – now or tomorrow.

After thinking of the first project, I immediately started the second – “One Book, A Week” Project. I intended to finish at least one book in a week – I was doing well in January but came February. I have forgotten about it.

I was pretending to be deaf to the books calling out to me.

Yes, I failed.

 

I am sorry if I disappointed you; but what I am most sorry about is that I’m disappointed at myself. I couldn’t keep my word.

We all make mistakes right? So hey, forgive me. I’ll make it up to you guys.

Soon I’ll be posting a review of a book I’ll finish reading this weekend.

 

God bless us!

Changed Forever

Let me tell you about someone I once knew.

She was a shy, introverted and an average city office girl. All along she thought she was fulfilling her dreams, but she got it wrong. It was not her “real” dream after all.
She was just chasing the wind.
She was blinded by the world.
She was trapped in a worldly race without a trace of escape.

Then something happened.

She quit from her job.
She was now working for no one.
She thought she was going after her “real” dream then.

But she got lost on the way.
And greatly confused.

She decided to go back to her roots – to her parents’ home.

There, in her solitude, she was reminded of a truth.
She was struck by sadness.

Bitterness.

Brokenness.

Hopelessness.

She thought she had let go of the pain.
She thought she had moved on.
She thought she had truly forgiven her for that one mistake.
She thought that she could erase the stain in her heart.

Wrong. She was always wrong.
The pain has always been there. That permanent stain in her heart could never be erased.

In desperation she called out to the One she often ignored. And He never failed her.
He was able to give her the answers she longed for. He’s always been there for her, but this little girl was too busy to hear Him.

She decided to embrace the pain. Now, she had truly forgiven her.
Now, she can face her everyday with love, not resentment nor deceit.
She decided to paint a masterpiece over the stain.
She decided that she will live her life to the fullest.

After all, she realized, she was living her second life. She was saved by Him from never existing from the very beginning. If only she realized that truth sooner.

But only He knows the perfect time for everything.
And now, He gave this little girl her “real” dream.

She was out to conquer her weaknesses. She had gone out of her own prison shell. She had gone out of her comfort zone. She dared to move and do new things, go to places she’d never been to before.

She’s growing.
She’s trying to love.

I hope He is proud of this little girl. This simple, little girl who I once knew very well. But now, I can hardly recognize her. She was a changed person forever.

Not surprisingly, that little girl was me.

 

God bless us!

Barista 102: Day 4 (Last Day!)

February 21, 2015. Saturday. My last day with advanced barista training at PBCA. Its too soon!

I cannot believe that time flies so fast; especially when you’re really having fun. Yes, I’ve proven this truth for myself. Four days seemed too short as I learned to love being a latte artist.

It even cost me my sleep! (A bit exaggerating, I know.)

But I really did have no sleep – for two days. I just can’t properly sleep, no matter what I did. (Except perhaps if I took sleeping pills, which I strongly oppose. I’d rather seek natural remedies.)

That’s why I was too early for the last day. I was somewhere near the area at around 8 am when the evaluation started at 9. I dropped by a convenience store and ate my breakfast. Yet again, incidentally, RM too, dropped by to take his breakfast. He really is the best student – ever punctual.

We went to the school together and arrived to see that Sir Dave and Sir Jeff, with two trainees, already there making coffee. Or rather, practicing latte art. I was too sleepy to engage in their lively conversation, I may just ruin the mood. I don’t want to be a “mood crusher”.

I decided to take a quick nap; I was resting my head on my arms waiting for sleep angels to visit. But I guess they’re already sleeping since the daylight.

So I ran to the restroom. Yes, as in really running! I needed to wake my mind and body up. And gladly that trick did it.

As the pre-eval was not finished yesterday, five of us had our turn. I was third to do it and I was able to pull off a 11:50-something minute (I cannot recall the exact time) performance of the three required latte art. I was so close to exceeding the 12 minute target time.

After all five of us had finished, Sir Dave reminded us of the mechanics/scoresheet and we were off to the evaluation. The order was determined through draw lots. This time, I was fourth. Lucky! I can still observe from my other classmates and to calm myself down.

Just like the evaluation in Barista 101, music was allowed, encouraged even. I already had my playlist – three songs totaling to around 12 minutes. I aimed to finish my performance before the end of these three songs:

1.  Higher by Creed

2. Somewhere Only We Know by Lifehouse (A Cover)

3. First Time by Lifehouse

So yeah, rock on. I want to rock my performance. 🙂

But most of all, I remembered to focus. I focused on what to do. I focused on the reason why I need to get through this successfully.

To cut the story short, I nailed it in 11 minutes! God is good!

But unfortunately, my latte art was not as good as my practice. Anyways, I’m still glad they looked like what they are supposed to be:

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My heart somehow looked like an apple:

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My rosetta was close to a failure but at least there’s a recognizable leaf:

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My signature latte art is my favorite! It looked cute. 🙂

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I was satisfied with my performance.

After that, all I prayed for was that all of us will pass the evaluation. I already wished my classmates good luck and encourage them to do well, the night before.

At around 1:00 pm, all seven of us had finished and we were told by Sir Dave to wait for just a few minutes for the result. Both RM and I didn’t bring lunch; we were both hungry. Good thing Sir Dave offered slices of cake given by someone celebrating his/her birthday so I munched on it while waiting. (We weren’t the only ones in the school on a Saturday after all.)

Sir Dave entered the classroom. And exited. And re-entered.

The suspense is killing me.

I was eager to know if we all passed! (And to take my lunch, and sleep…haha)

We did it! We all passed! Thank God.

I could not contain my smile; I was really happy not only for myself but also for my teammates. No one got left behind, again, this time.

Sir Dave instructed someone to look for a graduation song. I could not help but to laugh as a familiar tune played. Its too silly for me to handle. 😂😂😂

We got our certificates and took our class picture:

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(Photo credits: Lean C.)

Although I was invited by Ate Kristine to hang out since it’s still early, I went home. I was sleepy. I felt sorry that I was unable to join them. But she told me there can always be a “next time”.

I updated our FB group name description into Team Awesome. We were all awesome in our own ways.

So that’s it. The training has come to a close.

I’m already missing the room, the smart pitcher, the caffe mauro mug, the steamwand (who left a mark on me, yes, a slight burn), the automatic coffee grinder, the synesso. And most of all, the people who were with me during my humble beginning as a latte artist – my classmates – Ate Kristine, Lean, Eive, Christin, Kuya Mic and RM; the instructors – Sir Dave and Sir Jeff; and the admin staff of PBCA – Ate Jay (my sister at heart) and Ms. Con.

I thank God for letting me meet such amazing people.

I thank God for answering my prayers.

I thank God for everything I have and will have.

“For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.” -Mark 11:24

God bless us!