In 1998, Gatchi and Larcy Gatchalian were owners of a unique jeans store called Blugre. In a spurt of inspiration, they decided to append a coffee shop to their store featuring Filipino coffee and of course, Davao’s famous fruit. The Gatchpuccino, a hot durian cappuchino, and the Larcepuccino, a cold durian coffee drink, were born.
Rob and I met with Joanne and Jun Siy, one of the new owners of the five-franchise business. In January, Mr. and Mrs Gatchalian sold the company to five local couples who have big plans for the former mom and pop chain. If things go well, people in Las Vegas could be drinking durian
coffee in the next few years.
Blugre’s durian coffee is blended with a durian preserve, so it tastes quite mild and has no durian aroma. The drink is designed as an introduction to those who haven’t yet developed a taste for durian. “They get to get a taste of durian but it doesn’t linger in the mouth because the coffee overwhelms the durian flavor,” explained Joanne.
The company has had wildly enthusiastic responses to its durian coffee and is currently battling eager beavers hoping to open international franchises in the USA, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand before the company is ready to turn international. For now, Blugre will focus on expanding within the Philippines. Durian will continue to be their signature drink.
|Carlotta has worked for Blugre for 14 years and is their best barrista|
The original recipe includes dairy products, but Carlotta was sweet enough to make Rob and I a dairy-free Gatchpuccino to taste test. We are not regular coffee drinkers, but give it a thumbs up. I thought the durian acted as a natural dairy-free creamer, giving the drink a sweet flavor and a creamy light brown color. Could durian paste replace soy milk as an all-natural vegan coffee creamer? I think so!