Philippine coffee reviews by Kan Tejada

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Taking a break from my ongoing series to share someone else’s cool Philippine coffee reviews. Mr. Kan Tejada posted a writeup on Facebook where he shares his insight on coffee bought from “non-coffee shops”, mostly convenience stores and fast food locations such as KFC, McDonald’s and Jollibee.

I love reading Philippine coffee reviews, and Mr. Tejada’s writeup is just so systematic and organized, I want others to read it, too. He compares coffee bought from the following stores:

1. 7-Eleven
2. Army Navy
3. Burger King
4. Chowking
5. Dunkin Donuts
6. Family Mart
7. J.Co
8. Jollibee
9. KFC
10. Krispy Kreme
11. McDonald’s
12. Mister Donut
13. Toast Box

Here is the writeup in full:

Pick-me-up Brewed Coffee Tasting from Non-Coffee Shops

Objective: To qualitatively determine the most acceptable brewed coffee served by non-cafe based on three parameters – Extraction Quality, Overall Sensory Appeal and Consistency.
Definition of Terms

Extraction Quality – Quality will be perceived on the high side if coffee served does not have off-notes on both aroma and taste. Coffee is served at the right temperature.
Overall Sensory Appeal – It pertains to total perceived sensory parameters. These includes overall aroma intensity and quality, overall taste and quality, flavor quality and balance, body, strength of bitterness, acidity and sweetness and unique tasting notes if any.

Consistency – It pertains to proximity of batches of coffee served per visit or per store.

Brewed coffee – For the purpose of this tasting, it was limited to drip coffee (i.e. not using espresso machine) served in stores.

Scope and Limitations: The tasting was conducted for four months, cut short from the original six to eight months across different stores in Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pasay, Taguig and those along NLEX and SLEX. Consumption was either in-store or to-go. Coffee consumed for this tasting were all in black i.e. no additional creamer or any form of sweetener. Price is not considered on the determination of the most acceptable coffee but I will put up a special section for that. This tasting project is limited to brewed coffee over drip machine of any form served in stores not classified as a specialty coffee place (e.g. EDSA BDG, Yardstick, Toby’s) or commercial cafe (e.g. Starbucks, UCC, CBTL, Figaro, Bo’s). Places serving coffee using espresso machines are also excluded. With these filters, main channels considered are pastry shops and fast food chains and convenience stores.

Project was done alone but tasting was regularly calibrated to be consistent. Sensory acceptance was based on my training on Coffee Cupping from SCAA through BCAA and multiple interactions with specialty coffee shops coupled with my work experience involving coffee products. Results may vary with your preference. Only one cup was consumed for at least three hours to avoid taste fatigue or carry-overs. Supplier of coffee beans was not also determined to reduce bias on conclusions. Feel free to share, I will be a happy and attentive listener.

Duration: 10 December 2015 – 10 April 2016 with verification tasting from 11 April – 29 April 2016.

Stores: 7-Eleven, Army Navy, Burger King, Chowking, Dunkin Donuts, Family Mart, J.Co, Jollibee, KFC, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Mister Donut, Toast Box

(Breadtalk was initially included but was removed due to misfit in the scope.)


Top 3 – Krispy Kreme, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts

Best Extraction Quality – Krispy Kreme and J.Co

Most Consistent – Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme

Best Overall Sensory Appeal – Krispy Kreme and Burger King

Trivia: Krispy Kreme has two blends of coffee – Smooth and Rich. Smooth has more acidity and more balanced cup. Rich is sweeter and has dark chocolate finish for a fuller and more rounded taste delivery.


The Budget Tier – quality coffee at price point of Php 40 and below

>Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s and KFC

Food Lovers – coffee which complements well with top food choice in respective location.

>Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts and Burger King

Sugar Lovers – coffee with best sensory improvement when consumed by adding sugar only to taste. It works for coffee with higher intensity of burnt and toasty notes in its sensory profile. Having nutty notes (BK) and a strong pleasant bitter finish (DD) also complements the additional of sugar. The additional flavor and body from creamer will have diminishing benefits compared to sugar only. An additional dose of sugar may be added when drinking from a paper cup to eliminate the papery note coming naturally from the cup.

>Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Burger King, Family Mart UCC

Condiment Lovers – coffee with best sensory improvement when consumed by adding both sugar and creamer to taste. For J.Co, the sensory profile of the cup is not dynamic and it helps to boost with creamer (or milk) and sugar for better acceptance on non-black drinkers. For the other two, due to the persistence of the earthy note and bordering unpleasant burnt and bitter finish, creamer lessens the unpleasant flavors by altering both the taste and the body.

>J.Co, McDonald’s, Jollibee

The Bottom Two – these coffee ranked lowest on extraction quality, consistency and overall Sensory appeal. There is wide variation in the sensory profile across stores and the finish is unpleasant. Burnt and earthy notes are highlighted negatively.

>Mister Donut, City Blends

Final Words: This tasting project journey has been great for me. It made me see better the coffee landscape that we have and it made me understand the culture of Filipinos on coffee. Since I do most of the drinking alone, I get to observe how people interact with and over coffee. I also observed the involuntary behaviours of people with drinking coffee. Most of the coffee I drank are not ready to be drinkable at first sip. Burger King, J.Co and Krispy Kreme are the only ones that are. It may be stemming from the culture of us Filipinos of getting coffee and letting it sit first for a few minutes before we indulge in our favourite drink.

I am a fan of specialty coffee and as much as possible, I will brew my own cup of coffee with my go-to Aeropress. This is the inspiration why I went on to this journey – to determine the best alternative when I cannot brew my own cup and to be able to dig deeper on the Philippine coffee landscape. I feel happy to have created sensory memories of different coffee selections in various locations. If you can drink your coffee black, do it. There is more to coffee than satisfying your own taste preference but do not be pressured. What matters most is you enjoy your coffee and live the moment you spent with it.

(PS: I should make my own ranking sometime. Taste-wise, I think J.Co’s coffee would rank even lower than Mister Donut. Although I really love J.Co donuts!)

(PPS: This post was edited on 9 July 2016, with the correct link, and the text reproduced in full, with permission from Mr. Kan Tejada.)

I’d love to share more Philippine coffee reviews. Got a review, or know a link to one? Post it in the comments!