Speciality coffee is not something Filipinos grew up with. However, thanks to the third-wave coffee movement sweeping the globe, the country now has homegrown coffee shops on par with (and even better than) the mainstream brands. Here are the top ten picks for your caffeine fix in Manila’s trendy Makati district.
Take your pick: coffee, cocktails, or coffee cocktails? The Curator has all three, doubling as a café and a wine bar. The skillfully crafted drinks menu is nothing to sniff at (with World Coffee Events in Good Spirits champion Yassie Lorenzo as the resident talent), but its main drawcard is the freedom to pick something off-menu and create your own personalised coffee cocktail. They’ll even give you a card with the ingredients if you really like it.
To be a pioneer in Manila’s speciality coffee scene is to take on both the roles of educator and maker of the perfect latte. Behold, Yardstick. Come here for the cool ambiance and tasteful coffee, from the Daily Blend to Cold Brew Beer. Check their Facebook page for their popular coffee-making classes and tasting schedules.
Want nutritious and satisfying food to go with your caffeine fix? Choose Hineleban. The coffee here (which is graded 86.25, by the way) comes with organic honey, and its adlai (Chinese pearl barley) dishes keep many coming back for more. Adlai rice is healthy too, since it’s gluten-free, high in protein and low glycemic. For every coffee purchased, a tree is planted at Hineleban Farms (where its organic products come from), and the lives of indigenous people who work there are improved.
Living up to its name, Commune is a great place to sit back and enjoy conversation with friends and colleagues. The long tables and event space upstairs create a cheery ambiance. They have the best cappuccino and serve a variety of local beans and alcoholic drinks, too. Coming in solo? No worries – they have cosy nooks just for you.
Come for the food menu but stay for their signature coffee drinks: flat white (double shots of ristretto, little foam) and Gibraltar (strong and full bodied but less bitter and acidic with two ristretto shots, topped with Holy’s milk and foam). Toby’s Estate’s ambiance is both peaceful and welcoming – from the outside facade to the bright, high-ceiling and stylish interior. They serve pastries and all-day breakfast meals, too. Don’t miss the salted caramel ice cream.
For your aeropress-brewed coffee, go to this cosy speciality cafe. They make wonderful creations from their specialist brewing equipment which helped Kaye Ong, one of its founders, become the 2nd runner up at the 2015 World AeroPress Championships. Also on the menu are single origin espressos and well-made light meals. Pair their flat white coffee with a scrumptious spicy tuna sandwich.
Just how should a doughnut taste? This trendy shop answers that question for you by offering just seven limited flavours, each masterfully crafted to sugary perfection. One bite and you’ll know this is the real deal. Their delicious coffee is imported from Yardstick, and makes a wonderful pairing with a sweet treat or two.
Find this cute little café in the busy Burgos district and discover a safe haven with funky colourful interiors, serving great sandwiches and organic coffee. Service is excellent, and so is the Wi-Fi. There are also books you can read and remedy products for wellness. Sounds like home doesn’t it?
This café-restobar serves Taiwanese-inspired modern comfort food, along with classic Americano drinks (their bestsellers) and coffee liquors from evening ’til midnight. Dulo MNL’s industrial-bohemian interiors say a lot about its other goal – making it a welcoming place for artists of every kind. Here it doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or an established artist, just go and share your art or vision. Take note: Mondays are for jazz nights and Thursdays for live rock and roll music.
Rockwell 8’s joint venture with UCC Café gives its menu a Japanese identity with reinvented takes on classic comfort food. It has extensive selections of coffee from various parts of the world, as well as locally sourced beans prepared through various techniques. Among them are cold brew, siphon and pour over. The nitro craft cold brew is a must-try.