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Hortons is hot!

HE walked into his uncle’s formal event dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt. Everyone else was in de rigueur evening wear, but then not everyone had just come from a brewing, steaming, hot product launch. The words Tim Hortons, only somewhat conspicuously embroidered in red on his cotton shirt, right where his heart should be, said it all.

Sitting across Rickie Yap, I did not detect any sign of extraordinary excitement, elation, or manic merriment. He calmly took the chair reserved for him, and without a fuss apologized for being more than an hour late. It was a while before Uncle Benjie revealed the good news: Rickie and his crew at the first Tim Hortons to open in the Philippines just had to stop counting how many customers had lined up on that first half-day (starting at 4 p.m.) for coffee, donuts, “timbits” (bite-size donuts), sandwiches, eclairs, etc. Either the servers were too tired to keep count or too busy selling and serving!

Rickie takes two to three cups of coffee a day, which is just about average in this country. I didn’t have the beans to ask if he takes one cup at home, one at TH, and one at Manila Hotel, his other 8-to-5 job, which would make him most unaverage in terms of where he consumes his brew. Speaking of which, TH brews its wizardry from the best Arabica beans from Brazil, Colombia, Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. For all its multinational character, Tim Hortons is a Canadian brand. Its vp for international operations is the muy simpatico Lucas Muniz of the coffee-producing country of Brazil, small wonder.

Why do people cling to coffee as if it were the elixir of life? Not being a coffee drinker myself, I could guess from observing friends and strangers that it is a picker-upper, stimulant, habit, energizer, and lately, for its unintended effect as an antioxidant. On the social side, it’s a bonding ingredient, a reason to hang out and chill (an oxymoron, really, because even if there’s such a thing as iced coffee, hot is still the preferred option). On the anti-social side, a coffee drinker doesn’t look too lonely when he’s drinking alone – why is that?

Long before he witnessed TH’s magnetic allure at Uptown Place Mall in BGC on opening day Feb. 28, Rickie had drawn up the plans to “open 10 more shops in Metro Manila by May” – percolating is the way to go! (Jullie Y. Daza)

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