Hong Kong’s The Coffee Academics Is Now in BGC and the Lattes Are Unlike Any Other You’ve Tried
It's all about stellar cups of joe here.
The Coffee Academics
High Street South, Tower 1, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City
Open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) If you love your cup of joe, paying a visit to The Coffee Academics is a must when in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, or Malaysia. The coffee shop from Hong Kong unites specialty coffee enthusiasts with their locally roasted coffee beans and classic and creative drinks—they’ve even bagged plenty of awards and accolades since opening their doors in 2012. With the prospect of travel being far-off in these times, you might think of adding this café on your post-pandemic bucket list—but now you don’t have to go too far to get your fix. After teasing us in August, they’ve officially opened their first Philippine outpost at Bonifacio Global City.
Get excited about The Coffee Academics' now-open coffee shop in BGC:
Their BGC store is a takeout kiosk where you can get coffee to go, though they do have a few seats where you can chill out once dine-in resumes in Manila. You’ll spot a pastry case at the front as well as a La Marzocco machine, behind which are bags of the coffee beans they get from Hong Kong. As with their international branches, the kiosk goes for a snazzy look that’s both minimalist yet sleek, with chic shades of charcoal and gold coming together for a cool and cozy whole.
The Coffee Academics approaches coffee with both earnestness and passion: Handling the coffee side of things at this branch is Franchise Operator and General Manager Myles Hontiveros of local coffee wholesale roastery company, Department of Coffee. Having been in the coffee industry for nine years, he definitely knows his cup of joe—what goes into a good brew, the right equipment to use, and so on. With that, one of his primary roles is to train the staff and baristas to meet Hong Kong standards. “The struggle is making a consistent cup of coffee… so that’s where my experience comes in,” he shares.
The coffee menu in the Philippines is similar to that of the OG in Hong Kong, following the same recipes. Most of the ingredients they use are from Hong Kong as well—or where they substitute local, this goes through approval from The Coffee Academics Hong Kong, so you can be assured the beverages served in Manila taste as close as possible to the original.
Beyond well-executed basics like the Long Black (P145/hot, P155/cold) and Flat White (P180), you don’t want to miss their signature lattes. The Agave (P210/hot, P220/iced) takes the usual latte out for a spiced, Latin-inspired spin, being sweetened with Mexican agave nectar and sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper. Yup, you read that right: The pepper is what meets your lips first for a zingy start, before making way to an velvety coffee base with the floral sweetness of agave syrup.
For a taste of the tropics, the Jawa (P230/hot, P240/iced) is your best bet. The Coffee Academics goes Southeast-Asian inspired here, with a latte sweetened with Indonesian palm sugar—a natural sweetener similar to our own panutsa, which has a distinctly earthy note beyond just sweetness. Hints of coconut and pandan contribute nuttiness that evens out the coffee’s robustness, giving you harmonious sips that might just transport you to Bali by taste. (We can dream.)
The Japanese-inspired Okinawa is the simplest of the three, essentially being a cappuccino sweetened with dark brown sugar from its namesake Japanese prefecture. But don’t you underestimate it: The dark brown sugar gives the coffee mixture a surprising, slightly smoky depth, which matches that of the coffee, and they meld perfectly—like pieces of a puzzle, really.
While their food menu is limited to laminated pastries, these are no mere afterthoughts either. The Coffee Academics bakes their croissants—available in Classic (P120), Chocolate (P150), Black Coconut (P140), and Custard (P150)—from scratch and in-house, giving it the same amount of effort and attention to detail as they do in their coffee. The pastries are as light as they are decadent, delivering the full-on taste of butter in an airy, flaky medium. “I really want to share how good a pastry [like] a croissant is, when executed perfectly,” says Hontiveros, who also describes it as a perfect pair to coffee.
More than great eats and sips, what The Coffee Academics wants to deliver is the experience of chatting up with their baristas and leaving the shop more knowledgable about coffee. “My baristas are very passionate about making coffee,” says Hontiveros. Though there tends to be a divide between casual coffee drinkers looking to get buzzed versus long-time enthusiasts who can tell their doppio from their lungo, The Coffee Academics is one of those rare places where both can feel at home, united by the simple love for a good cup.
Photos by Hans Fausto
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