10 Must-Try Handcrafted Coffee Places in Manila
These third wave coffee places will perfectly satisfy anyone's caffeine requirements.
(SPOT.ph) In a country where international chains and 3-in-1 coffee sachets abound, we never expected to see the day purveyors of specialty coffee would leave us spoiled for choice. But that day is here. Independent "third wave cafes"-places which serve specialty grade coffee and handcrafted beverages-are setting up shop across the metro (most of them only in the last two years), churning out cups of coffee with beans either roasted and ground onsite or sourced from the best local and international suppliers.
Coffee curious or a caffeine connoisseur? We spill the beans on where to go for good coffee in the city:
Liberty Plaza, 102 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Borne out of love for coffee, conversation, and collaboration, Commune Café in Salcedo Village is a bright, cheery hub to get your coffee fix in Makati. With doodles splashed across white walls, a communal table conducive for meetings, and cozy nooks when you want to sit alone with your cup, Commune is an alternative place for caffeine junkies looking for less crowded cafes to hang out in.
Come here for: Espresso-based drinks from the Commune Blend or the frothy cups with the cutest latte art.
Craft Coffee Revolution
66 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City; G/F Podium Mall; 88 Esteban Abada, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
One of the first third wave cafes to open in Metro Manila in 2012, Craft in New Manila was then a curious spot for coffee insiders and a somewhat hipster crowd who were after a good cup worthy of social media posts. The coffee bar, upcycled wooden crates, and coffee paraphernalia added to its rustic charm.
They have since opened two more branches: one in Loyola Heights, Quezon City and a stall on the lower ground floor of Podium Mall, each spot with a different vibe from the flagship. The Loyola Heights branch also serves more food items, including pasta, sandwiches, and breakfast meals served all day.
Come here for: Consistent cups of Flat Whites and Cortados. Chat with the baristas who will gladly tell you all about the specials for the day and the beans used in your cup.
EDSA Beverage Design Group
209 EDSA,Manila (above Metrobank and right before Saisaki along EDSA)
Finding this spot is half the fun: a flight of stairs in a building along EDSA Southbound opens up to a spacious second floor space designed for relaxed coffee drinking. The mix of industrial and wood interiors, plus the coffee contraptions and the coffee bar set the tone for a date with joe. It's a place for chilled-out, unpretentious hanging out. Right now, there is no menu. Instead, ask the baristas about the coffee if you’re not sure what to try. Let them recommend a drink depending on your mood-EDSA BDG is all about exploring "liquid cuisine." They also serve cocktails from 6 p.m. onwards.
Come here for: The espresso-based drinks and single origin coffee.
Epic Coffee Roastery
102 East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
They recently started serving pour-over coffee, an addition to their roster of espresso-based drinks using local beans sourced mostly from Benguet and Bukidnon.
Come here for: Strong cups of brewed coffee and homemade cakes such as the Lemon Cake. Epic customers may also order from their sister restaurant, Poco Deli, which is a few steps away.
3F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca Street, Makati City; Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
One of the newest players in town, Toby's Estate opened only in 2014 at Century City Mall. The small space is inspired by the New York subway, with tiles lining the walls and a predominantly black and white palette for its interiors. The cozy space is essentially a coffee bar-there are only a handful of seats in the house. The recently opened flagship store on Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, however, features a Slow Bar offering several different methods of pour-over single origin coffee.
Currently, Toby's serves two espresso blends and their beans are sourced from Uganda, Costa Rica, Panama, Indonesia, and India, among other places, but sourcing locally is in the grand plan. Toby's also stocks on special beans such as the La Trinidad Geisha which comes from Toby Smith’s own farm in Panama.
Come here for: A cup of Long Black (ask for the Woolloomooloo blend), a light roast with chocolate and berry notes. It's one of the best cups in town!
106 Esteban Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Tucked away on a quiet street in Legaspi Village, Makati, Yardstick couldn’t keep a low profile forever. It didn't take long for coffee lovers to sniff out the unassuming and airy joint that pioneers coffee education. Plus, the coffee aroma wafting from the handcrafted drinks in large cups is too rich to ignore. Follow Yardstick on Faceook and Instagram to know more about their courses, classes, and tasting sessions.
Come here for: The Daily Blend is always a good idea as is the Cold Brew Coffee (brewed for 12 hours).
115 Aguirre Street, BF Homes Parañaque City
The South got lucky when Magnum Opus opened: the cozy café littered with coffee machines and art on the walls is a haven for those who want to go beyond their usual iced or instant coffee drink. The baristas know more than how to paint images with froth and foam. They can even create your cups table-side, especially if you order pour-overs and want to enjoy the whole brewing and creating-your-cup experience.
Magnum Opus stocks three to four kinds of coffee beans at a time and each trip might yield a different coffee-drinking experience. It’s a good enough reason enough to keep coming back.
Come here for: The Belgian Heartbreaker and the siphon coffee
Luna Specialty Coffee
NAC Tower 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City
There are too many things to look at in Luna Specialty Coffee: there's the coffee bar where you can watch the barista prepare your cup using the pour-over method or the espresso machine; the wooden tables by the big ceiling-to-floor window; or the veranda offering a view of 32nd Street.
The homey feel of brick walls and woodwork adds to the café's appeal. Once seated, it’s hard not to just kick back and relish your cup. In fact, stay and linger for a second cup-or choose an intriguing dish from the menu. The dishes were designed to pair with their brews.
Come here for: The Luna Brew, a strong, rich and smooth cup without bitter notes. It’s best paired with the breakfast specials such as the Longganisa Pandesal.
Commercenter Building, 31st Street corner 4th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
The Manila outpost of the famous Bacolod café may be frequented by yuppies working in the BGC area, but it's also a spot for serious coffee drinkers: they roast their beans onsite and the place is partly owned by the country's only Q-grader (a coffee sommelier), Karen Lo-Tsai.
The folks behind Kuppa know their beans and their joe, evident in their consistent cups. The dishes listed on the menu are a pretty good draw, too.
Come here for: Ben's Cappuccino and their French Press concoctions
The Curator Coffee and Cocktails
194 Legaspi Street corner Palanca Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
One can check out The Curator by visiting the "secret" coffee enclave in wine shop Cyrano in Legaspi Village, Makati. The Curator uses beans from Ritual Coffee Roasters and prepared using metal filters: each cup is made with care and consistency, thanks to owners who are passionate about perfecting cups and treating their customers to more than just a caffeine fix.
The place doubles as a café and a cocktail bar, too: cocktails are served 7 p.m. onwards and are made from homemade ingredients and local liquors.
Come here for: The lattes and the promise of coffee-infused cocktails, of course.