This New Café in Kapitolyo Makes Coffee With Root Beer Work
Their unique drinks will make you want to linger.
58 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. (Monday to Thursday), 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) If you look closely, the logo of Nicto's is the hand sign for the letter "N"—a clenched fist with the thumb between the middle and ring fingers. Replacing it with a thumbs-up sign would be equally appropriate, given this small Kapitolyo café's desire to make a big difference.
Nicto's is the result of Charles Ramento's thesis project for his degree in Entrepreneurial Management at the University of Asia and the Pacific. The menu is guaranteed to interest coffee enthusiasts, with unique items like espresso with root beer, or coffee styled like a margarita. Ramento, however, wasn't content with just meeting the required net income for a passing grade—he wanted his business to have a nobler purpose, which came in the form of the Better Days Project.
"Our main reason for doing Nicto's is to help the less fortunate. Through the Better Days Project, we'll be asking customers for donations, which we'll use to provide food for people in need," he says. The project asks customers to donate a minimum of P150 and write a "message of positivity" to go with their donation, to be placed in a dropbox on the counter.
Whatever amount collected each month will be given to nearby parishes. Customers can donate anytime, so don't feel guilty if you're only there to enjoy their delicious coffee.
The interior of Nicto's is as straightforward as its intentions. Designed by Ramento’s sister Chai, the place exudes a chill vibe with whites and light grays for the color scheme, and a view overlooking East Capitol Drive. Long eaves shading the interiors provide a sense of seclusion, ideal for those looking to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.
Most of Nicto's coffee blends are sweet, with the Nicto's Holiday Cup (P140/hot, P150/cold) being their signature drink. Hazelnut syrup imbues the coffee with a rich taste that might be overwhelming, if not for the salt on the mug's rim to temper the sweetness with every sip. "It's a margarita-inspired drink that's non-alcoholic," explains Ramento.
Customers can order extra syrups if they want their coffee on the sweeter side. Some items on the Nicto's menu are already blended with these syrups such as the Mocha Marble (P145), a cold brew with a healthy mix of dark and white chocolate syrup that makes it a customer favorite. The Espresso Pop (P140) is arguably Nicto's most memorable concoction. Coffee with root beer and toasted-marshmallow syrup seems like an unusual mix, but it's surprisingly addictive since the coffee's bitterness is mellowed by the aftertaste of root beer.
Rice bowls and pasta complete the café’s menu. One of the bestsellers is the Nicto's Classic (P150), skewered longganisa and cucumber slices on a comforting bowl of garlic rice. The cucumber is a nice touch that helps ward off the cloying feeling one could get from eating too much of the rich and salty longganisa. The Tapa Tops (P195), the café’s take on tapsilog, competes with the Nicto's Classic as another must-order. The tapa, though a little bit on the dry spectrum, is flavorful nonetheless and is best paired with their virgin and fruity homemade Sangria (P130).
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup (P245) is as appetizing as it sounds. With the sandwich’s sharp melted cheese and the tangy and creamy soup to dunk each morsel in, the dish is heavy and tasty enough to satisfy customers whether they order it for breakfast or lunch. Although most of Nicto's signature coffees border on the sweet side, pairing them with confections will surely energize you with a sugar high. The Revel Bar (P65) is a delight to munch on due to its soft and gooey texture, which complements any of their coffee offerings.
If their unique coffee concoctions aren’t enough to warm your soul, this café's dedication to helping the less fortunate should. For a thesis project, Nicto's already feels like an establishment that's here to stay, promising better days for its customers and the surrounding community.
Photos by Patrick Martires