EDITOR'S NOTE: Kami.com.ph would like to feature several tourist destinations across the country starting with the beautiful city of Cagayan de Oro. To unfold before the world the vibrance of this city, we bring you Lee Dy Gogo, who is a native of CDO. In this article he talks about his lovely experience in one of the lovely coffee shops that Cagayan de Oro has to offer.
That’s what the baristas would say in unison to greet every customer who goes through the door of this cozy, travel themed coffee shop decorated with souvenirs, road signs, world clocks, and travel brochures.
Nestled in the corner of Pabayo and Gaerlan streets – an area in Cagayan de Oro’s Divisoria frequented by students for its affordable food places, milk tea shops, and internet cafes – Bean Voyage would be the first coffee shop to open in a long time since milk tea became a thing in the City. But when it officially opened on April 18, 2016, Bean Voyage brought to Cagayan de Oro a first of its kind not only in the City but throughout Visayas and Mindanao as well: the selfie coffee. Yes, you can get a frappe that has your face on it – like coffee art, but a lot more personal.
The Selfie Coffee
To the few people who have heard of this novel concept, making a selfie coffee is a simple 3 to 5-minute process. Customers simply send a copy of their selfie on top of their order and, in a few minutes, the drink will be ready with the selfie printed in a foamy, creamy, and completely edible surface.
In Bean Voyage, the process is almost the same. You can send any selfie to their Facebook page or over the counter. You can also take the selfie inside the coffee shop, just before taking your frappe order. But for those who want to get a bit more creative, you can get your coffee to show other images of your choice: artwork, digital word art, and even pictures of your cat.
Each selfie coffee costs around P140 to P180 – close to average prices for a touch of novelty.
Meet Joana, who started it all
Joana Marie Tan is a 21-year-old accountancy graduate of XU. On the day she was interviewed, she was busy behind the counter wearing Bean Voyage uniform, taking orders and serving customers with the other baristas. While preparing to take the CPA board exams, she decided to open her own selfie coffee shop – an idea which first came to her when she first learned of selfie coffee while on a family vacation in Singapore sometime in October 2015.
When she finally got off duty, Joana gave a brief recollection of how Bean Voyage came to be. She had friends and acquaintances who got interested and partnered with her for the funding she needed to start the business.
From there, it was pretty much “applied learning.” Joana was happy to say that she was able to put her accounting degree to good use throughout the endeavor, from managing inventory to getting the furnishing and equipment needed to get the shop running.
She also went to barista school at the Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia. “It would be hard to run the business without knowing it first hand,” she said.
Coffee + Travel = Bean Voyage
When asked how she came up with “Bean Voyage”, Joana said it was the only name that could be registered for the business, after twenty-something other ideas were found to be already taken. But given the simplicity of the wordplay and how it aptly fits the “travel and tours” vibe inside the coffee shop, nobody would think that was actually the case.
In fact, a travel agency owned by Joana’s sister was set to open this Monday, April 25, 2016. En Route Travel & Tours started out as an online travel agency about a year ago, and now they’re ready to set up shop just next to Bean Voyage.
This explains the elaborate travel brochures neatly arranged on every table throughout the coffee shop. Joana says that customers can even ask the baristas about travel routes if they need to consult someone about their future travel plans.
While waiting for Joana to get off duty for the interview, this interviewer ordered a cup of Café Americano for P75 and got a noticeably generous serving of your typical brewed coffee for a price cheaper than most coffee shops.
Asked about her recommendations, Joana mentioned the Java Rasp Mint Frappe as a must-try among the list of Antarctic Coffee blends. From the Non-Coffee blends, she recommended the Cherry Blossom. These orders along with the rest of the Antarctic and Non-Coffee blends can be ordered as selfie coffee. For hot coffee, the Hazelnut Latte is a must try.
Joana also gave a sample of the selfie coffee – a delicious Mocha Antarctic Coffee with her own selfie on it. This was actually her first selfie coffee from the shop, since the last time she had one was back in Singapore, where it all started.
It’s only been a couple of days since Bean Voyage opened but groups of students and young professionals can be seen going in and finding their place in the coffee shop.
“It’s been really good,” replied Joana when asked how things have been since the opening. “Very fulfilling.”
As early as now Joana already has plans for the future. She realizes that the coffee shop is currently small, so she’s looking to expand to accommodate even more customers as well as create parking space along this corner shop. She even plans to branch out in Cebu in the future.
But for now, Kagayanons and those who drop by CDO have a new place to hang out with friends and sip their own selfie. #SelfieCoffee
Visit Bean Voyage at 27 Pabayo-Gaerlan Sts., Marfori Compound, Cagayan de Oro City. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram. They’re open on Mondays to Thursdays from 7 AM to 10 PM, Friday and Saturday from 7 AM to 11 PM, and on Sundays from 1 to 9 PM.