UCC Now Serves Third Wave Coffee via UCC ClockworkOctober 15, 2014
The opening of Starbucks Reserve has raised a lot of eyebrows and questions about the capability of popular coffee brands when they attempt to venture into the third wave trend. UCC Clockwork, the first of its kind in the world, is a new concept by the UCC Company. Having opened just yesterday, October 14, in Blue Bay, Macapagal, the hippest sibling yet of the UCC family is about to prove anybody who second-guesses its ability wrong.
The bar has been set high in our local third wave coffee scene. Priced slightly more expensive than your average cup of joe, we expect to leave third wave coffee shops feeling richer, and not as if we were stripped of our bloody cash. But unfortunately, some third wave coffee shops have an air of snobbery—asking for a packet of sugar is considered a mortal sin; the head barista in hipster, gradeless glasses looks at you as if you were a squashed cockroach should you ask for a bit more chocolate syrup in your mocha. That is what UCC Clockwork aims to change; third wave coffee doesn’t need to be pretentious or intimidating, instead, it should just be about having an immensely enjoyable cup of coffee.
“The approach to any third wave coffee is simpler, but it is a much more different approach to coffee than what we are used to,” says Manny Torrejon, President of the Specialty Coffee Association of the Philippines (SCAP), and Sales Director of UCC Philippines. “Beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, and the roasting’s focus is more of bringing out the purest flavor fron the coffee beans,” he continues. There is the Blue Mountain #1, a popular UCC blend, but his personal favorite is the local Kapatagan, which has a deep, nutty aroma and a citrusy hint. According to Hubert Young, part-owner, UCC Clockwork’s star, is the Panama Santa Teresa Geisha, which starts off light and ends with a bold, fruity, almost tea-like finish.
UCC Clockwork also makes use of various brewing methods such as a cold drip, a pour over, the popular syphon seen in most UCC branches, a La Marzocco for espressos, and an Aeropress, which is still on its way. Their Sumiyaki beans are roasted in charcoal—the only one of its kind in the country—before being served syphon-style. The latte espresso uses a blend whose beans are nitrogen-infused to hold in the oils before being ground up. This way, the flavors are more concentrated and focused when being brewed into a robust cup of coffee.
Though the coffee is a bit bolder and more adventurous compared to the ones seen on a normal UCC menu, UCC Clockwork’s food selection keeps its familiar identity intact. Napolitan and Indian Curry pastas are staple UCC flavors, while a Matcha High Toast drizzled with Nutella and Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream is an indulgent take on the Japanese favorite, Honey Toast. Kimchi Rice with Fresh Corned Beef lends a hand to the trendy Momofuku-inspired dish, and their Kouign Amann, which took inspiration from B Patisserie in San Francisco, might just be our new favorite in Metro Manila—gently caramelized walls of puff pastry are broken into and are greeted with a golden, silky pool of melted butter. The Green Tea Sans Rival, a unique dessert to UCC Clockwork, is a mandatory order, where an airy tower of meringue and cashew is held together with dense and addicting matcha cream. The Tiramisu is best paired with their signature Sumiyaki blend—place a spoonful in your mouth, leave it there, and take a swig of coffee. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is hard to come by and that you will relive in the days to come.
UCC Clockwork is a reflection of today’s constantly evolving coffee generation. Less is more; simple yet complex at the same time. With different brewing methods and an applied modern perspective, UCC Clockwork’s method with coffee is well-thought of, approachable, and relaxed. But don’t get me wrong, these guys mean business, and they’re damn serious about it, too.