Caravan Black Coffee
G/F Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Friday); 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) They took their bromance to the next level.
That is what we summed up from Migs Rodriguez's story behind Caravan Black Coffee, the third-wave coffee shop he owns and operates with his wife Chicho Suarez-Rodriguez, together with business partners Andrei Aquino, Rico Serrano, and Chiloy Santos. Migs met Andrei and Rico through their respective wives; while Chiloy—the executive chef of the Kettle and Fireside chains—is a basketball buddy he met back in 2002.
While getting into business with friends raises all kinds of red flags for some, this group simply shrugs off their petty squabbles as part of running a business. The reason why it doesn't escalate, Migs says, is because "We all play our own part in the company. So, if there's a problem in one area, then whoever is in charge of that particular area takes care of it and the others do not interfere."
Whatever their problematic areas are, it definitely has nothing to do with the coffee. With some help from the folks at Yardstick Coffee, Caravan Black's equipment and brews are all top-notch and highly developed. Purists come back for Long Blacks (P110 to P120) of their Gypsy blend: a dark and mysterious potion with alluring hints of chocolate. You can be sure that the flavors and aromas of their blends are consistent since the baristas calibrate their coffee machines constantly so you get what is promised. For latte lovers, do not be distracted by the pretty foam art. Their Flat White (P145) is as legit as it gets.
A refreshing, afternoon pick-me-up would be the Iced Caravan Mocha (P160), but if you're looking for something different, let their signature coffee drinks take center stage. No icy, slushy drinks here—these are grown-up concoctions that demand introspective discernment. Sipping on the Cooper (P150) leads you to think that you are sipping on a proper cocktail with the floral aroma of almonds from orgeat. Even their cross between milk tea and Japanese coffee jelly, the Localmotion (P140), flaunts the flavor of honey which adds just a touch of complexity.
Aside from the cold sandwiches Caravan Black has been serving from the beginning, they are slowly adding more items to the food menu. The selection of scones come with whipped butter and homemade jams; the calamansi cupcakes from Backstage Baker's Ana del Prado is an ode to the calamansi muffins at Boracay's Real Coffee; the hot sandwiches are straightforward and done right.
Hot Turkey Sandwich
Gooey Cheese Melt
Their Hot Turkey Sandwich (P385), for instance, is just as Migs remembers it from his childhood. "We want our sandwiches to look like how you would imagine them," he says. "Nothing fancy. Just good." Same goes for their Shrimp Roll (P295) and the Gooey Cheese Melt (P265). Served with their old fashioned potato salad (P65), they hit all the right spots.
Master mixologist Larry Guevarra—whom Chiloy also called upon to concoct their cocktails at Fireside—delivers some unique, fun libations that would take Caravan Black patrons from day to evening. Putting their cold brew to good use, the Black Caravan Mojito (P380) is a potent mix of strong coffee, lambanog, and soda water. The Lady Rosemary (P280) is both citrusy and floral, bringing together the botanical properties of gin and St. Germain nicely.
Caravan Black proves that it's all about the mix—great coffee, solid pastries, straightforward food, along with some of your friends—which makes for a good break from the usual.
Photos by Hans Fausto