Selfie on your coffee? Filipina entrepreneur brings 'selfieccino' to London

Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 04 2018 06:03 AM

Rowena Manlusoc Shouly (right) and husband Ehab Salem Shouly combined people's love for coffee and a tendency to take pictures of themselves to create the "selfieccino." Courtesy of Ed Lao

LONDON—Do you want a cup of coffee with your face on it? Yes, you may have it. 

"Selfieccino" is taking the Internet by storm. The concept — to combine what many people like to do these days: drink a cup of coffee and have a selfie — has become an instant hit. 

Introduced only in December at The Terrace, a restaurant and tea house at UK’s premium House of Fraser department store on Oxford Street, selfieccino has become an Internet sensation. Thanks to a Filipina businesswoman, Rowena Manlusoc Shouly, and her husband, Ehab Salem Shouly.

It’s the first restaurant chain in the UK and Europe to offer the selfieccino, which is a cappuccino with a selfie drawn on it, using a high-tech printer for its froth made of food coloring.


A post shared by The Tea Terrace (@theteaterrace) on


A post shared by The Tea Terrace (@theteaterrace) on


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Selfie on your coffee? Filipina entrepreneur brings 'selfieccino' to London

Selfie on your coffee? Filipina entrepreneur brings 'selfieccino' to London

Selfie on your coffee? Filipina entrepreneur brings 'selfieccino' to London

Starting the business

The tea culture in the UK is a large part of daily life there. When the Dubai-based Shoulys used to visit the UK, they always liked their English tea. So when they moved to the UK in 2012, Rowena, originally from the Philippines, thought of a restaurant that would cater to the tea-loving Brits. She wanted to bring to ordinary people the luxurious style of the tradition of afternoon tea.

"Dati kasi lagi kaming nagpupunta sa UK when we were living in Dubai. Laging may afternoon tea kasi 'yan ang paborito naming dalawa. So nakita namin ang traditional afternoon tea sa mga hotels madalas. So sabi ko sa kaniya, why not na magtatayo tayo sa labas ng hotel," explained Manlusoc Shouly.

She and her husband started The Tea Terrace in Guildford, Surrey, a town in Southern England. They now have 3 restaurants, including two in the busiest shopping and commuter areas in London: Oxford and Victoria streets.

"Before, it wasn’t like this. It was just an ordinary restaurant but we are always thinking how to make it better or different from the others. So we started with the throne chairs, and we noticed that people kept coming because of this. Because nowadays, di lang good food or good service, kailangan din maganda so they can take a picture and post on their social media -- in Instagram, Twitter," said Manlusoc Shouly, managing director of the restaurant chain. 

"Na-feature kami sa BBC. Lahat ngayon ng TV station nagpunta dito para i-cover siya. From there, mas popular na siya kasi ang mga tao gusto ng selfieccino."

Manlusoc Shouly's husband, Ehab, director of the family-owned business, said customer interest appears to grow by the day.

"It’s getting more and more costumers who want to come and try it. There’s a lot of interest in the concept in Europe when we introduced it and now there is a lot of interest from another country for those who want to franchise Tea Terrace now," he said.

The Tea Terrace has an "Alice and Wonderland" feel to it, with a white, pastel-blue and pastel-pink color scheme to achieve a chic and elegant ambience. To complete the tea experience, the plates, teacups, teapots and saucers are of a luxurious brand of fine bone china. 

Although The Tea Terrace is focused on tea as its distinctive brand, it also upped the game in the coffee drinking scene, hence the selfieccino.

"I think this took it to a whole new level — this selfieccino. We managed to combine what people love: selfies and cappuccino and I think the coverage has been worldwide from Latin America to Australia and the Philippines as well," said Ehab. 

The selfieccino is only available at the Oxford Street branch, but it will be rolled out at the House of Fraser on Victoria street and in Guildford, Surrey.

The brains and soul of the business

Manlusoc Shouly is the brains of the business and its soul, but her husband credits her most in the way she manages their staff and the finances. An accounting graduate from the Philippines, she worked in Dubai and lived there with her young family.

"I do the marketing but in terms of operations side, that’s totally Rowena’s business. She is very good in managing people. That’s something that I could never do," Ehab said.
Now in the UK, with grown-up children, she is doing what she has always wanted to do: run a family-owned business. With the success of the tea house and the newly launched selfieccino, Manlusoc Shouly can truly say running a business is her cup of tea . . . or coffee.