Blog update

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After 500 years, I’ve come back to this blog! It may take a while before the next update, but I wanted to leave a note saying that 1) The site is being revamped, and 2) comments have been DISABLED while revamp is ongoing. The Contact Form and Coffee Links directory have also been taken down.

If anyone wishes to reach me for coffee-related concerns, please reach me through the Facebook page: Coffee on My Mind. Leave a comment or a message there, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Old Baguio Cafe’s first branch in Metro Manila

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My first blog post in a long time! This time, I want to help promote a new coffeeshop franchise. The name is Old Baguio Cafe, and it set up its first Metro Manila branch in Robinsons Forum, Mandaluyong just last August 1!

old baguio cafe logo

Old Baguio Cafe has been in business in Baguio for over two years. It specializes in premium arabica coffee from Atok, Benguet.

Better-known beans, like Sagada arabica and Batangas barako, have received their share of praise. But this franchise aims to bring the brilliance of Atok arabica coffee to prominence.

old baguio cafe mandaluyong exterior

Was able to chat a bit with the very nice supervisor, Mark, who is helping set up the Mandaluyong branch. He says that on September 1, they will open a branch in Parañaque, and on October 1, in Vito Cruz. Mark will then be managing the Parañaque branch. If you’re in the area after the new branch opens, make sure to say hi!

Mark told me that Old Baguio Cafe has been in business for two years in Baguio, where it already has two branches thriving. It was only this year that they began opening franchises in Metro Manila. They’re also opening branches outside of MM and Baguio very soon.

old baguio cafe old photographs of baguio 1

old baguio cafe old photographs of baguio 2

There are some nostalgic photographs of Baguio of yesteryear on display.

My frequent travel buddy, Lar from Philippine Travel Photos, told me about this cafe, so it was only fitting that we went together to try their Americano (P70 for regular, P90 for upsized).

Benguet arabica is known to be robust, and Atok arabica is no exception. The flavor is rich, not bitter at all, and most definitely not watered down, as sometimes franchise coffee tends to be. This is a must-try for gourmets who want sophisticated local coffee at a reasonable cost.

old baguio cafe - two americanos and a slice of carrot cake

They also have a variety of lattes, frappes and smoothies!

Their bestselling dessert is the carrot cake (P90 php per slice). It’s not sweet at all, and I agree it tastes swell with their coffee.

old baguio cafe 250g bag and paper bag

I liked their coffee so much that I bought a 250-gram bag (P375). I’m normally iffy buying roasted coffee where the roasting date isn’t printed on the bag, but I took their word for it that the bag I was buying was from a batch just roasted a couple of weeks ago (July 18).

My dad used the beans for our early morning coffee the next day, and confirmed that it was freshly brewed: there was still some bloom over the grinds (he used the pour-over method). It still made for great morning coffee!

old baguio cafe dessert stand and jams

By the way, Old Baguio Cafe sells strawberry and ube jam, which I’ll have to try sometime! Take note, however, that the ube jam is sold in a “buy one take one” basis (currently P250 for two bottles) because traditionally made ube jam goes bad after just one week in storage. Good to know! That’s probably a good sign, which says their ube jam has no artificial preservatives that would give it a longer shelf life and affect the flavor.

I think Mr. Mark also said their company sells coffee equipment, but their stall in Mandaluyong offers little by way of that. For now, it really is a simple coffee stall: a great place to sample their excellent coffee.

old baguio cafe mandaluyong flyer

Here’s where their first Metro Manila branch is located:

Old Baguio Cafe
Ground floor, Robinsons Forum (near Handyman)
Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City


Old Baguio Cafe’s first MM branch may be small, but it has an attentive and knowledgeable staff (they sure know their coffee!), and comes with an old-school, cozy feel, perfect for chill rainy day hangouts.

Authentic Sagada Coffee and Food at SGD Coffee

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I’ve always wanted to make a pilgrimage to SGD Coffee in Quezon City. I finally had my chance when an old, dear friend, who only wishes to be identified as cuportwo @ IG, agreed to meet up with me there, for a full-blown coffee adventure.

It turns out, it wasn’t just a coffee adventure for us – it was a food adventure, too!

sgd coffee rules

Ms. Yvette Tan of has already done an excellent writeup on SGD Coffee, so I’m just going to help spread the word about that. Please read it, because it’s a really great article, comprehensively detailing SGD Coffee’s mission and vision for Philippine coffee – Sagada coffee, in particular.

For now, I’m just going to share my own experience and photos from my visit.

sgd coffee graffiti

The cafe posed a bit of a challenge for us to find, because our Uber driver dropped us off at what seemed like a purely residential area. There didn’t seem to be any business establishments around. However, the graffiti pictured above caught our eye, so we inspected the area around it.

sgd coffee bodega sign

We looked up, and sure enough, there was a sign declaring the presence of the “SGD Coffee Bodega” and the “Coffee Science Center.” We must be in the right place!

sgd coffee storefront

A bit more looking, and we finally found the secret entrance! Just kidding, it wasn’t really secret. The door WAS hidden behind a bunch of tall plants, though.

sgd coffee steps

The steps leading up to the cafe, also behind the plants, are home-y and inviting. It felt like we were just going up to visit friends at their house.

sgd coffee interior 1

The interior of the cafe was spacious, cool and serene. The place was full of patrons when we got in, and many of the patrons were hunched over their laptops or paper notes, concentrating quietly on their work.

sgd coffee minions motif

They had a Minions motif going on, perhaps in time for Halloween. Though the place was calm and quiet, the decor made it cheery.

sgd coffee counter

Halloween buntings hung over the barista counter.

sgd coffee interior 2

There were more seats at the second floor, and they were all filled up when we got there.

sgd coffee stairs

Stairs leading up to the second floor.

sgd coffee science center door

The door to the Coffee Science Center. It appears to be closed off to cafe patrons.

sgd coffee goad sibayan

A tribute to Goad Sibayan of Bana’s Coffee in Sagada. I understand that the founder of SGD Coffee is a good friend of Mr. Sibayan, and they are both Philippine coffee pioneers. I hope to write more about Mr. Sibayan soon.

sgd coffee black

Friend and I couldn’t wait to try out the SGD Black. I liked it a lot, but I realized halfway through my drink that I was craving something stronger. Maybe I should have gone for the Espresso instead?

sgd coffee lemon bar

REALLY good Lemon bar. Reminded me of the lemon pie in Sagada. The half-plate design is novel, but a bit messy, as the crumbs kept falling off it (or maybe my friend and I were just messy eaters?).

sgd coffee dessert case

The dessert case, with prices for the signature drinks displayed behind the counter.

sgd coffee oatmeal orange cookies

Oatmeal orange cookies.

sgd coffee revel bars

Revel bars.

sgd coffee etag carbonara

Etag carbonara – my other reason for being excited to come to SGD Coffee. I am a huge fan of etag – traditionally cured and smoked meat. It was the first time for my friend to try it, and she was blown away by how flavorful it was.

sgd coffee chicken tocino

Chicken tocino with red rice, part of their all-day breakfast menu.

sgd coffee affogato

Affogato. Highly recommended. The coffee flavor goes so well with the ice cream! Photo borrowed from cuportwo @ IG.

sgd coffee sagada beans

Pure Sagada arabica beans for sale, at P600 per 250-gram bag.

sgd coffee bathroom handle

I want to take a moment to talk about their bathroom, which I found unique and quirky. The hardwood door handle is shaped like this, so it sort of feels like you’re taking the hand of a concierge as you’re closing the bathroom door behind you.

sgd coffee bathroom mirror

The mirror has a lovely wooden frame around it, too. I think the wood is locally sourced, and the carving made by local artisans.

sgd coffee grounds

Coffee grounds work great as a deodorant…

sgd coffee diffuser

…but there also appears to be an aromatherapy diffuser beneath the sink with coffee grounds on it, if extra deodorizing powers are needed.

I’m always fascinated by how coffee grounds are recycled, and from what I’ve seen, SGD Coffee does it cleverly. They also use it as part of their decor at every table.

SGD Coffee
Operating Hours: (8 AM to 11 PM, 7 AM to 11 PM on weekends)
No. 45 Maalalahanin St., Teachers Village East, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: 0917 826 9537


Signing off with a recommendation: if you’re looking for authentic Sagada coffee and food, drop by SGD Coffee in Teacher’s Village. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Sagada Coffee and Food at Satinka Naturals

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Every now and then I’m struck with the desire to make a page highlighting where you can get Sagada coffee in Manila. Sagada coffee is one of our country’s brightest culinary jewels, having recently won a medal at the International Contest of Coffees Roasted in the Countries of Origin, organized by the Paris-based Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA). And every time I see a shop that offers Sagada coffee within Manila, I feel the need to blog about it. So here I am, blogging about the Sagada coffee that I got at Satinka Naturals.

satinka naturals outside shot

The Sagada coffee isn’t the only thing worthy of note at this establishment, but it was certainly what got me to visit. I heard from Lar of Philippine Travel Photos that Satinka Naturals in Makati was offering Sagada coffee, and I just HAD to drop by.

satinka naturals logo

Satinka Naturals an all-organic, non-GMO, non-MSG restaurant. True to the name, they sell organic wellness products at their Apothecary section on the first floor. They also have a lineup of the local coffees on their menu!

satinka naturals local coffees offered

The labels read, from left to right: Ifugao, Arabica Hazelnut, Arabica, [No label – why is that jar turned around, I wonder?], Sagada, Mountain Tea, Kalinga, Benguet.

satinka naturals second floor view 7

The second floor is reserved for eating. The view is quite lovely, for a cafe situated in the middle of a busy financial district.

satinka naturals second floor view 1

satinka naturals second floor view 2

satinka naturals second floor view 3

satinka naturals second floor view 4

satinka naturals second floor view 5

satinka naturals second floor view 6

The interior decor is home-y and comfortable, and if you get there early and happen to be one of the first people there, you can bask in the restful atmosphere of the place, while enjoying your coffee.

And what good coffee it is! It tastes exactly like the Sagada coffee I had during my last visit to the place. Excellent brew.

I didn’t have much time to interview the staff, but I learned that the chef/proprietor is herself a native of Sagada, and she wants to bring Sagada food with a modern twist to a broader audience.

satinka naturals outdoor menu

An overview of their offerings can be found on a chalkboard menu outside the shop itself. And for music buffs: the restaurant sometimes hosts musical acts!

satinka naturals outdoor menu

This was the dish I got: Bacon Carbonara (P198). It’s REALLY good.

satinka naturals cooler and chicken pasta

We didn’t go at the same time, but Lar kindly contributed photos. This was the Lemon Cucumber Cooler (P95) and one of their bestsellers, the Chicken Cream Cheese Pasta (P229). There’s also a bonus shot of the tip of someone’s shoe 😀

satinka naturals baked chicken adobo

This is their Baked Chicken Adobo (P258). Flavorful and filling!

satinka naturals yoghurt with seasonal fruit

Lar got the Yoghurt with Seasonal Fruit (P138), pictured above. One of the things I really, really miss from Sagada is the yoghurt. The last time I was there, I learned that the national government (through the DOST) helped Sagada locals develop cottage industries that would help drive tourists to their region. Local food entrepreneurs developed yoghurt, and so Sagada yoghurt can be found in many of the eating establishments there.

I have very pleasant memories of Sagada yoghurt – specifically honey yoghurt – so I just had to try the one that Satinka Naturals offered.

satinka naturals honey yoghurt

The Yoghurt with Natural Honey (P110) is thick and gritty – the texture is exactly as I remember Sagada yoghurt to be. But somehow, the flavor seemed to lack a little of the “bite” or sourness that I was missing. I wonder if the edge was dulled a bit by the sort of honey used, or if there was something different about the yoghurt preparation. Still, it was good yoghurt, and I ate it all up!

If you’re in Makati and looking for affordable Pinoy (specifically, Sagada) fare, you need not look further than this cafe.

Satinka Naturals
Open every day, (11 AM to 10 PM Mon-Sat – 9 AM to 7 PM on Sundays)
1137 Kamagong St.
corner Chino Roces Ave.
Makati City
Tel: 0917 420 2279


One other cafe I encountered in Makati that’s serving Sagada coffee – as well as other Northern coffees – is Art Circle Cafe. Read my review of it here.

Mr. Park’s Bread and Cake Corp. at 4718 Eduque St., Poblacion also sells Sagada coffee beans from Bana’s Coffee in packs, but I have yet to try them out.

Have you tried the Sagada coffee at Satinka Naturals? How about the other local coffees on their menu? Let me know what you think!

Relax and Give Back at The Giving Cafe

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For my National Coffee Day post, I’d like to talk about The Giving Cafe, a newly-opened social enterprise in Mandaluyong city.

the giving cafe storefront

The Giving Cafe is located right beside the warehouse of coffee retailer Henry & Sons, which also owns the cafe. Food Trip PH gives a good summary of H&S’ offerings:

Henry & Sons offers 360-degree coffee solutions tailor-fitted to every challenging demand. From premium coffee roasting, coffee machines and supplies, training and support services, even your own bespoke blend. Every single thing you need to get immersed into the world of coffee and make it your own personal business. Vikings Luxury Buffet actually buys coffee from Henry & Sons.

Henry & Sons has been around for a long time, but The Giving Cafe was only opened last July. Here’s how Rappler describes the cafe’s mission and vision:

The Giving Cafe (TGC) was actually created to raise funds for the Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence (FSCE), which has been supporting a farming community in La Trinidad, Benguet for years, giving the farmers and their families access to basic necessities such as potable water, medicines, and education.

The Giving Cafe serves its own brew in-house, but you can also take home some beans for charity in the form of Bloom Coffee – a commercial blend which is also available in select Rustan’s and Robinson’s grocery stores nationwide, and through the Henry and Sons mobile app [iTunes] | [Android via Google Play].

Bloom Coffee comes in different canisters, and the canister that you get determines the cause to which your purchase will go. We were told by the people manning TGC that all canisters hold the SAME blend. So it’s really just up to you to select the charity you want to support.

the giving cafe menu from zomato

(above photo is from

Check out the chart above for descriptions of the causes that Bloom Coffee supports. By the way, if you’re a stickler for roasting dates, you can check the roasting date at the bottom of the canister.

My frequent traveling partner, Lar of Philippine Travel Photos, took several lovely photos of the Giving Cafe during our first visit there. Browse through the photos below!

the giving cafe sumatra mandheling

They offer 3 kinds of single-origin coffee daily. You can pick one, or get a sampler of all three. You can specify the brewing method, too!

I picked the Sumatra Mandheling, a personal favorite. And it certainly did not disappoint!

the giving cafe taiwanese fried chicken

I read on that the Taiwanese fried chicken is one of their bestsellers, so just had to try it for myself. Extremely satisfying flavor and crunchiness!

the giving cafe beef pares

Lar got the beef pares, another bestseller. Very flavorful and filling.

Along with the meal, Lar got the decaf americano. Yes, you can request for decaf! We were curious about their fancy “quake” drinks, too, because the day was hot out, but the interior of the cafe was nice and cool, so hot drinks with our meals seemed more reasonable.

the giving cafe rosemary bacon popcorn

Another bestseller: the rosemary bacon popcorn. The serving is huge and I mean HUGE. But well worth it, and excellent paired with coffee!

the giving cafe coffee menu

The large menu behind the counter.

the giving cafe counter

The counter. There are chocolates and coffee on display.

the giving cafe indoor mural

An indoor mural. The text reads: “We achieve more when we chase the dream instead of the competition. – Simon Sinek”

the giving cafe outdoor seats 1

There are outdoor seats at the back of the cafe.

the giving cafe outdoor seats 2

They’re nice and shaded, but on a hot day, the indoor seats are more comfy.

the giving cafe diedrich roaster

A large Diedrich brand coffee roaster located in the shop.

the giving cafe window seat

A lovely window seat. On the shelves are books, board games and decor enjoyed by the owners of the cafe growing up.

the giving cafe lego ship

A nifty Lego ship on top of an antique cupboard. There are a few eye-catching Lego arrangements serving as decor.

the giving cafe rope masters

No photo of it here, but the ceiling decor is made almost entirely of rope. Such a lovely and classy look!

the giving cafe auro chocolate bars

Auro artisan chocolates from Davao are spotlighted in this cafe. You can buy dark or milk chocolate bars with nibs, or without nibs (I recommend the ones with nibs, the texture is exquisite).

the giving cafe auro white chocolate coins

Chocolate coins, may be great for cooking or baking!

The Giving Cafe is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM (it’s closed on Mondays), making it the perfect place for an early breakfast or late dinner! It’s located at the following address:

1550 Sheridan St corner Pines St
Mandaluyong City

As of time of writing, their official website doesn’t seem to be up yet, but their Facebook account is here:

Henry & Sons, the corporate entity behind The Giving Cafe, also has a Facebook account:

Have you been to The Giving Cafe? How did you find their offerings? Leave a comment below!

In Defense of City Blends Prima

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I’m behind on so many posts. Just to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to post about something short and sweet: City Blends Prima.

city blends prima logo

Recently I read a post on Esquire Magazine titled “In Defense of City Blends Coffee” which extols the virtues of 7-11 coffee, that affordable but efficient and, of course, convenient caffeine fix. But it makes no mention of City Blends Prima, and I feel I must add my thoughts on this particular topic, to enrich the conversation.

By chance, I wandered into a 7-11 stationed in a posh condo. I came in hoping they had regular brewed coffee. Thus I was surprised when I saw this instead of the regular City Blends setup that you find at most 7-11 outlets:

city blends prima self service machine

At first I thought this was the regular self-service coffee, and “Prima” was just the name of the machine. Then I noticed the prices.

double the cost of a regular city blends cup

Currently, an 8oz cup of regular City Blends Americano coffee is around P20. Prima costs P40 for a same size cup – double the cost!

I asked the person manning the counter why Prima was more expensive than regular 7-11 coffee. I was told that it uses imported (Brazilian) arabica beans, while regular City Blends coffee uses local arabica beans. Oooo, fancy!

The City Blends line prides itself in using 100% arabica beans. However, I read on another blog post that Prima actually uses some barako (liberica) beans in its blend…which wouldn’t be a surprise, because pure imported arabica beans could be expensive. An 8oz cup of Americano made from pure imported beans may cost more than just P40!

I’m not exactly complaining even if it’s not pure arabica, because the blend is ultimately delicious – richer and fuller in flavor than regular City Blends coffee. And just look at that luxurious crema!

I swear this is americano not cappuccino

I’m not knocking regular City Blends coffee, though. Local arabica can compete with the best of them, and coffee enthusiasts everywhere agree: 7-11 coffee, even the non-Prima kind, is really good, especially for the price. But give Prima a shot, and you’ll notice the difference in quality, too.

I’ve only personally seen one 7-11 branch that carries City Blends Prima, and it’s at this address:

Knightsbridge Residences
4392 B. Valdez, Makati City
Metro Manila

Does the 7-11 branch near you carry City Blends Prima? Share the branch name and address here, and let’s make it a more comprehensive list!

My First Taste of Kalinga Coffee in Buscalan

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People have been singing praises of Kalinga coffee for a long time, but I experienced it for myself the first time only a few weeks ago.

Actually, I think I’ve tried Kalinga coffee before, back when I was café-hopping with friends as a coffee noob. I must admit, I became a coffee aficionado (or “coffee snob,” as some of my friends would say) late in life – meaning, I was already trying different kinds of coffee back in the day, but not understanding the subtle nuances that distinguish one kind of coffee from another, until only recently.

Professionally packaged Kalinga coffee from the Butbut village gift shop

Right now I just have to rave about my first taste of a special brew from the Butbut village in Buscalan. Please note: all photos here were taken by LAR of Philippine Travel Photos, posted here with the photographer’s permission.

Welcome to Buscalan

People usually go to the Butbut village in Buscalan to get a tattoo from the legendary Apo Whang-Od, which I did!

Apo Whang Od at 98 years old

But there are so many other reasons for a traveler to book a homestay in the Butbut village. For one thing, it’s a truly restful place. The people are kind and generous, everything feels fresh, and the view is just spectacular.

Beautiful view of rice terraces from the Butbut village

When there, one thing you definitely must not skip is the coffee.

Buscalan homestay veranda
^ This veranda was where we had our first taste of Buscalan coffee! It was in the cute pink thermos at the back.

After a refreshing sleep, we woke up to a thermos of brewed Kalinga coffee. We were told it comes free with every morning of homestay. The smell was abolutely divine! The coffee was “cooked” with brown sugar, so there was an extra, subtle sugar kick along with the caffeine.

You’ll know it was boiled and not “brewed” in the conventional sense because there’s a thick, dark syrup at the bottom of your cup as you finish drinking.

cups of Buscalan brew Kalinga coffee

We asked around, and learned about the proper way of brewing Buscalan coffee:


2 tablespoons of ground Kalinga coffee beans
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 cups of water


Boil everything in a saucepan for 10 minutes…

…and you’re done!

I loved the drink we had so much, I just had to buy some ground coffee for myself. And when I prepared it at home, it tasted every bit as good as it did when I first had it in Buscalan!

Roasted and ground coffee was sold at a sari-sari store near our homestay for only P100 a plastic bag (roughly 250-300 grams per bag). You could also buy the professionally packed “Buscalan brew” in the very first picture on this post from the gift shop on your way out of the Butbut village. I failed to ask how much the gift shop coffee was, but no doubt it’s more expensive than the grounds that can be bought from the sari-sari store. Still, with professional packaging, you worry less about moisture and spillage!

I think Kalinga coffee prepared the Buscalan way could be well on par with Vietnamese coffee, which I tried (and loved!) during a brief visit to Ho Chi Minh. The brown sugar beautifully complements the dark, full flavor of the coffee, which is already delicious on its own.

The most recent news that I could find about the Kalinga coffee industry is that five Kalinga cooperatives received help from the World Bank to develop their products. This is great! I can’t wait for Kalinga coffee to be a big deal all over the country and the world.

And did you know that picking and sorting coffee beans in Kalinga is a task that is traditionally assigned only to women? There’s a lot we have yet to know about this coffee!

I want to try other kinds of Kalinga coffee in the future, but the Buscalan brew will always have a special place in my heart. It’s not a flavor easily forgotten.

If you’re thinking of going to Buscalan, feel free to write LAR at Philippine Travel Photos. She’s always happy to give FREE advice to travelers who want to experience the natural beauty of the Philippine islands!

Do you have a special experience with Kalinga coffee? Have you tried Buscalan coffee, as well? Do share your stories!

Coffee Shop Spotlight: Coffee Tonya in Makati City

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I’ve been noticing Coffee Tonya in Makati for a while now, but I had the leisure to drop by only recently.

coffee tonya makati logo

It’s quite noticeable, as Coffee Tonya in Makati is right beside the Makati City Hall, and there’s a huge coffee cup statue in the front, to catch the attention of passers-by.

coffee tonya makati cup statue

With a name like “Coffee Tonya,” you would think that it was a Filipino-owned company. It’s not! This is the first branch of this franchise in the Philippines – it actually already has 13 branches in its home country of Japan!

Don’t believe me? Check out their official Japanese-language page.

coffee tonya makati exterior

The owner and manager is a Japanese national, and a friend of the restaurateur behind Uniquease (pronounced “yu-ni-ka-se”). You can see flyers for Uniquease in his shop. And for Japanese food enthusiasts, this particular restaurant is only a short walk from the Makati City Hall and Coffee Tonya.

This has nothing to do with coffee, but I hope you guys will check out Uniquease also. It’s on my to-visit list, because I saw it featured on the NHK documentary “Serving Up a Second Chance”. It helps underprivileged Filipino youths, so enjoy a great Japanese meal for charity!

Back to Coffee Tonya: this place has already been noticed by some dedicated coffee enthusiasts (such as Ken Martin Canuto of #KenCansBaristAdventures!) but I believe it needs more attention.

Why? Because it has a STAGGERING collection of coffee beans from all over the world!

coffee tonya international beans

I admit the cost per 100 grams is sort of pricey…but there are some beans here that are difficult to find locally. If you want small samplers of different and rare beans, this is definitely your stop!

coffee tonya international beans 2

The “coffee of the day” that I tried while I was there was the Peruvian coffee (P120). I was told it had a “mild flavor”, so I was delighted to find that it lived up to my tonya makati menu

I shouldn’t forget to mention: all coffee served in Coffee Tonya is FRESHLY ROASTED AND GROUND. No long-stocked coffee for these folks! It takes a little more time than your usual Starbucks barista would to prepare your cup, but freshness and fullness of flavor is assured.

I’ll have to drop by next time for their home brew, i.e. americano or espresso. I can’t wait to try it!

coffee tonya local coffee beans

They also have a formidable selection of local coffees. I was only able to take a photo of their southern sources, but there are coffees from the northern areas (e.g. Kalinga, Batangas), too!

What else makes this a great stop for coffee-lovers? The GEAR.

coffee tonya brewing equipment 1

coffee tonya brewing equipment 2

coffee tonya brewing equipment 3

coffee tonya brewing equipment 4

coffee tonya brewing equipment 5

coffee tonya brewing equipment 6

coffee tonya brewing equipment 7

coffee tonya brewing equipment 8

JUST LOOK at all these beauties! You’d be hard pressed to find affordable coffee equipment for the home brewer, all in one place.

I’ve inquired about home roasters, and they say they sometimes stock a Korean brand home roaster (Gene Cafe brand, if I remember correctly), but it gets snapped up quickly. I think I’ll be coming back for that!

coffee tonya makati tea

They also have teas and tea brewing equipment, for tea-lovers! It was explained to me that Japanese people are more tea-lovers than coffee-lovers, so having a “tea” section is just reasonable.

coffee tonya makati japanese candies

Plus Japanese sweets! These are two different flavors of konnyaku jellies. They also have small jars of Japanese candies which are sure to treat your sweet tooth well.

If pastries are what you’re after, they also have a limited selection of breads and cakes, but you could also try the pastries offered by the cafe located near the shop (Grappa’s).

Coffee Tonya

1231 Angono Street, Makati City (just beside Makati City Hall)

(02) 750-6200

Opens Monday to Saturday, 10:00AM – 7:00PM

If you want to drop them a line or be in the know about their latest offerings, check out their official Facebook page.

Coffee Tonya in Makati City is a treasure trove for hard-to-find beans and home brewing equipment. I can’t honestly say the wares are cheap, but the people manning their first branch in the Philippines are accommodating and friendly…and best of all, they sure know their coffee!

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Koko Kofi Review

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Sorry for not posting for a long time – I am trying to get back in the swing of things now! I’ll be honest, I was inspired to write for the blog this time around by the appearance of a new coffee place at my favorite mall, SM Marilao. Hence, I break my hiatus with a Koko Kofi review.

Koko Kofi at SM Marilao distinguishes itself from the other locally-based coffee places in the mall by not being a mere stall, but a full-service open-air cafe. It’s set up at a cozy central location, right under the first staircase to the right (if you’re coming from the main entrance of SM Marilao).

They’re at that sweet spot just between Watsons and Classic Savory. With such high visibility, is it any wonder that a Koko Kofi review would crop up?

And you can’t miss the shop, because it’s spacious: there’s plenty of room to sit. You can enjoy people-watching with your squad from their comfy chairs.

Their coffees are affordable at P59 a “Teddy” (16 oz) and P69 a “Grizzly” (22 oz). I’ve so far gotten around to trying these drinks:

1. Dark Mocha. While not the biggest fan of chocolate (such a travesty, I know!), there are times when I find myself craving the sophisticated flavor of dark chocolate. So I tried this first, and boy am I glad I did! The chocolate flavor is rich without overshadowing the coffee flavor.

2. Java Chip. I tend to be picky with “basic” mixed drinks. In fact, I have this belief that if I don’t like a shop’s signature “basic” drink, like the Java chip is for many coffee places, I probably won’t like the other flavors. But since I liked their Dark Mocha, I dived right in with my favorable impressions in tow.

…I thought it was a bit too sugary for me, but it really wasn’t bad. It made me think, however, that Dark Mocha would stay my favorite flavor for the long haul. At least I thought that way, until I tried…

3. Kreamy Kapuccino. I REALLY like this. It has just the right balance of milkiness and coffee, and has just a hint of sugar, so that it strays from oversweet.

4. Hazelnut. This one is really too sugary for me. It sort of overpowers the hazelnut flavor some.

Notice the typo on the sign?

If your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied with their blended drinks, they also sell fancy signature shakes, such as the one pictured above. They also sell sweet snacks, like brownies, cake, and waffles.

If you’re in the mood for something hot instead, they also offer hot coffee at the very attractive price of P35 a cup. I think I’ll try this soon.

Here’s a fun twist: their coffees are barako-based! Talk about having a uniquely Pinoy flavor! It’s rare for barako coffee to be used in flavored drinks, as it naturally comes with a bitter, earthy flavor…but Koko Kofi makes it work.

To wrap up: I still prefer Foss Coffee’s Java Chip over Koko Kofi’s, but I was quite impressed with the latter’s chocolatier flavors, specifically: Dark Mocha and Kreamy Kapuccino.

Try their blends for yourself! I would love to read your Koko Kofi review! You can drop by their stall on the ground floor of SM Marilao, or browse through their official Facebook page for their other locations and new offerings.

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Java Lava Review

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There are now THREE coffee kiosks in my favorite mall (SM Marilao) which is great, because it means more business options for coffee lovers! Now that this new franchise option has been around for a couple of weeks, it’s high time for a Java Lava review!

Java Lava logo

Actually, one may argue that it’s probably too early for a Java Lava review, as I’ve only tried one flavor. However, I’ve been busy and I haven’t actually been dropping by my favorite mall as often as I should. I thought I’d blog about it anyway, as it’s a new franchise that other coffee lovers in the area may want to try.

According to the Franchise Guide website, Java Lava is “a Bulacan-based family business commenced and ran by spouses named Dinver R. Aguilar & Hannah Louise F. Aguilar.” So it makes sense that it would put up a stall in SM Marilao, a favorite hangout place in this province.

It’s also a fairly young franchise, having only been set up in 2015. The Franchise Guide website says there’s only 10 branches of it so far, so if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a fresh new label, there should be plenty of room for it to grow and expand.

The shop’s tagline is “It’s Frappin’ Amazing!” which hits the right note with me. It’s fun and inviting and it makes me smile.

Java Lava SM Marilao storefront

Overall the shop espouses a lively and colorful theme – and so does its official Facebook page – which I find is refreshingly different for a coffee shop. Coffee shops mostly go for a restful, sophisticated look, right? However, you may not need to have such a formal appeal for a kiosk. The dominant yellow and orange (and, of course, the requisite coffee-ish brown) colors evoke thoughts of a carefree summer.

When sampling coffee at a new shop, I usually try the signature blends first. That’s why I got the JaMocha (small – P55).

Java Lava JaMocha

The presentation is very pretty! However, the “small” size leaves a coffee lover wanting more. As we say in the vernacular, “bitin.”

I’ve hinted in an earlier post about Foss Coffee that I have issues with coffee – blended coffee, in particular – being offered in smaller portions, but I do appreciate that sometimes, people simply want to pay less. I also like that the smallest size of a Java Lava drink costs only P55, the same price as a Foss Coffee Grande-size drink was when it started (Foss has since raised its price to P59).

But to be perfectly honest, the JaMocha I got seemed a bit watery. If the smallest size already tastes a bit bland, I must say I don’t hold much hope for the larger sizes.

Java Lava menu

However, I won’t pass judgment on just one flavor – maybe I was just craving for a stronger coffee taste on that day. I haven’t tried the other blends, either, so maybe the Cappuccino or Coffee Almond flavors would be more to my liking?

It’s a good sugar fix for the price, nonetheless, and there are 3 sizes to choose from. The larger sizes would surely be more thirst-quenching and overall less “bitin.”

Feel free to share your own Java Lava review in the comments! I’d love to know which flavor you think I should try next.