At Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Pasay City, a team of cat attendants and baristas make sure that the ambassador cats and the customers who adore them, get the right care and attention they deserve.
Juan Paolo Fopalan and Mark Evan Cervania work as cat attendant and senior barista, respectively. Although they work in the background while the cats and visitors mingle, their professional and personal touches help elevate the overall experience Velvet Friends Cat Cafe offers.
“I really love taking care and looking after 19 adorable cats. Most of the time, guests would ask me if we have a job opening for cat attendants and if they could apply. They would often tell me 'nakakainggit naman ung trabaho mo' (you have an enviable job) and, in that way, I feel that I am one lucky person to have this job,” Fopalan said.
When customers are not playing with Velvet Friends' cats, they are likely sipping coffee specially made by Cervania.
The young barista is an old hand when it comes to coffee concoctions. He used to work at a known chain of coffee shop and also worked overseas for a bar and a cafe in Macau.
At 26, Cervania believes he has found his passion in coffee.
“I learned how to be a barista from my first job at Seattle's Best Coffee in Baguio. That time, I kind of fell in love with making coffee and eventually, I excelled in this specialization and achieved some employee awards,” Cervania said.
At Velvet Friends, Cervania skillfully creates artful cups of coffee topped with different images of cats. Soon, the customers took notice and expected Cervania's “stamp” on their coffees.
Cervania said there are customers who specifically request that I make their coffees with a cat each,” which, in a way, is a form of compliment that they appreciate his work. To make one cup of coffee with a standard cat art on it, takes at least two to three minutes.
“In doing this coffee art, timing is actually very crucial because I have to maintain the temperature of the drink before it is served to the customer,” Cervania said. “But I love my job as I get to do here what I am passionate about, which is coffee. Also, it's very interesting to have the cats with us for us to play and have fun with,” he added.
Here's a short video of Cervania at work:
Fopalan and Cervania both dream of becoming businessmen themselves.
“I want to own my own cafe someday,” said Cervania. “I want to learn management and leadership skills to help me in my goal of running my own cafe. As a barista, I know I still have a lot to learn, so for now, I'll be taking this opportunity to hone my skills and see what more could be developed and improved.”
Fopalan didn't specify what kind of business he wishes to get into as he is obviously preoccupied right now with 19 cats.
“The cats all have different personalities, but I love them all even though some can be grumpy at times. I have no favorites, I treat them all like my own,” he said. ---- MetroPets