Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Franchise Updates: Say hello to Brunei’s First Starbucks Branch!

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At long last – Global coffee franchise giant Star Bucks has finally arrived in Brunei, making it the 64th country in their list, at the same time announcing their 100th store in Singapore.  It’s an honour to be one of the invited guests to their grand opening of Brunei’s Starbucks!

 

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For many years, Bruneians had been going overseas, especially to Miri for their Starbucks fix ~~ sources claimed that 70 percent of the Miri branch during the weekend are Bruneian customers.

 

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Of course - I expect these numbers to fall as more branches will be opened in Brunei (with Beribi around the Bmobile office being marked as the location for the drive through branch!)

 

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The management said that Brunei’s first Starbucks store has been designed to reflect Starbucks 43-year coffee heritage, while embracing the country’s distinctive local traditions and culture.

 

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The store features locally-sourced furnishings, including traditional baskets from the local markets which have been repurposed as decorative artwork within the store.

 

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One of the exciting Key features of this branch include a ‘slow bar’ (the first of its kind in South East Asia) which allows customers to enjoy their favorite Starbucks whole bean coffee, using the traditional Pour-Over brewing method. More on this later in the post ~~

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“We’re thrilled to bring the Starbucks Experience to customers in Brunei, and are confident that our stores will become a gathering place where our customers can connect with family and friends,” said Jeff Hansberry, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific.

 

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Photo courtesy of EmmaGoodEgg. Guest of Honour HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Hajah Zariah being served the first ever Starbucks drink in Brunei ~~ a Caramel Macchiato.

 

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Invited guests were given shots of coffee from Mr Zuldadli ~~

 

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The big brother of Brunei Bloggers, Mr Anak Brunei, being served his shot of Starbucks coffee ~

 

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The invited guests and later the members of the public had the chance to take pictures with the Starbucks props ~~ an instagram moment for many ~

 

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The crowd was also excited to see the various Starbucks merchandise – especially these pink versions ~~ thermos cost around bnd58.90

 

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These tumblers were selling like hot cakes! Slightly cheaper but still an expensive collectors item ~

 

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More pink goodness from Starbucks ~~

 

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The mugs are cheaper than the tumblers and thermos.

 

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Did anyone grab their signature muffins ~~ oooh laa laa ~~~

 

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Drools ~~~~~ Luckily for me ~~ I got to try all the flavours during the launch ~~ nom nom ~~

 

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When I posted this picture on my instagram, friends from around the world were asking me to buy one for them – I realized that people actually collect these mugs from different parts of the world! Mugs cost $18bnd each. The Brunei one features the symbolic Nodding Donkey from our Oil and Gas industry.

 

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Brunei version Thermos at $65bnd. There was a huge fuss about the spelling but I still got one as a present for my girlfriend since she uses these quite often.

 

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These hampers would had been a great gift idea during the Chinese New Year!! *hint hint*

 

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Quite a crowd during the grand opening – and you can see Jenny, the emcee interviewing the board regarding Starbucks direction in front of members of the press and social media.

 

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There’s quite a queue once it’s opened to public but the staff were well prepared for the excited huge crowd ~~

 

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Pictures of me having my first ever Starbucks drink (Cafe Latte) in Brunei, and first ever merchandise bought ~~ the $65 golden Brunei thermos ~

 

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The next day – members of the press and social media were invited to attend a coffee seminar to educate us about Coffee Drinking ~~ being an avid coffee drinker ~~ I was so excited – I even wore my Instant Human – Add Coffee shirt ~~

 

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The slow bar was highlighted in this seminar – different types of whole beans, chosen. freshly ground on the spot and prepared by a certified Starbucks coffee master, using the slow drip method according to the customer’s taste buds. This communal table concept is a common cafe concept in many cafes across the world.

 

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Mr Salleh, a certified Coffee Master and also Manager of Starbucks, gives a short preview about the slow bar concept and teaching us about beans from different regions and also different roasts. The Slow Bar is not yet open as the branch is still catering to the needs of a massive Bruneian crowd – but it will open when the staff can cope with the huge influx of customers.

 

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Salleh and Adi, a coffee ambassador for Starbucks 2007, gave us a seminar on the difference between Arabica and Robusta beans, and how Starbucks only use Arabica beans which could withstand the longer roasting time – a feature of Starbucks coffee beans.

 

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We taste tested different brews of coffee from different beans – taught by Adi on how to smell and slurp ~~ Acidity means the amount of sourness you can taste from the sides of your tongue, body means how long the taste lingers and flavour of the beans.

 

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The three handsome musketeers of Brunei Bloggers: Anak Brunei, Kurapak and Marul slurping the coffee ~~ they’re getting used to the strong espresso shots!

 

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Here’s Reena, another Coffee Ambassador 2005 passing us the Sweet Potato Doughnuts ~~ oh yess!!

 

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The seminar also taught us that like wine, different types of coffee complements different types of food ~~ the Sumatra blend complements this yummy sweet potato doughnut well – and alters the taste of the doughnut as well.

 

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We also got to try out the gourmet Starbuck sandwiches ~~ fancy! I really like the egg white and apple sandwich! Nom nom nom! Healthy and delicious!

 

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Really thrilled as well to be a proud owner of a Starbucks Apron and their grocery bags! Thanks Starbucks Brunei!

 

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Their coffee Micro Granules are a good choice to make instant coffee at home ~~ so far you can make good mocha by adding cocoa powder and milo with the Columbia roast~~ hu hu hu ~~

 

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A special mention to one of my Instagram and blog followers from Japan. Her guide brought her to Starbucks as part of the Brunei tour and when saw my Instagram post during the seminar, she immediately came looking for me. Thanks Yumi for your support and hope you enjoy your Brunei trip!

 

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Photo session with members of the press, bloggers and Mr Adi, Starbucks Coffee Ambassador 2007.

 

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It’s a memorable moment for Brunei and I do not need to even introduce the drinks as most Bruneians are already familiar with the Starbucks beverages since most of them had tried them overseas. I look forward to the beginning of the Slow Bar and the new Beribi Drive Through Branch!

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