Coffee Shop Spotlight: Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan, Bulacan

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan, Bulacan is not strictly speaking a coffee shop, so I was reluctant to include it in the Spotlights.

But I was led to consider it by a message sent to the Coffee on My Mind Facebook page. The person (who shall remain anonymous, as I am not sure if they want their name revealed) recommended that I try out the coffee from that place, as it is supposedly special.

And what will I not do for special coffee? Soon after I received that message, an adventurous friend and I made plans to visit Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan Logo

It may seem difficult to get to, being located in a subdivision far from the larger highways…but if you’re coming from Quezon City, it’s not hard to get to at all.

Just take an FX going to St. Michael/SM Marilao from either SM North Edsa or Ayala Trinoma Mall. Tell the driver you’re getting off at “St. Michael,” keep an eye out as soon as you get out of Meycauayan exit, and you can alight in front of the shop itself.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan Shop Front

My friend and I got there hungry, and without any idea what the menu was going to be like, we imagined there was going to be chicken. After all, the name was “pasteleria” – didn’t that hint at chicken pastel?

Nope. Not at all. As a matter of fact, “pasteleria” is Spanish for “confectionery” or “cake shop.”

As one could probably guess from the name alone, the shop makes old skool look cool. The decor sports a distinct Spanish-era motif. You see the bench in front of the shop? It’s an antique-style piece of wooden furniture called a “gallenera.” Neither my friend nor I knew this at the time.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan has a gallenera

Neither did we know that the name came from the word “gallina,” which is Spanish for chicken. Yep, this is a chicken-keeping device – that is, visitors who brought poultry would stash them inside these bits of furniture for safekeeping.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan Interior

Inside, we got the opportunity to speak to the owners: Emman and Franz, who are the pastry geniuses behind Eggenflour. We learned a lot of interesting things about the shop, including the fact that some of their cutlery and decor are genuine antiques!

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan painting and oil lamps

And indeed, one would see that many things about the shop appear old-fashioned. You have to admire how well the heirloom items, such as this lovely china plate, have been maintained.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan antique plate

On the right wall is a high shelf where they store gifts from friends. Sadly, I was not able to take a photo of that; it’s an interesting display, and I bet Emman could have told us a fun story or two about them.

Emman told us that Eggenflour used to supply cakes and pastries to other establishments, but then they realized their talents wouldn’t be recognized if they kept on supplying their wares anonymously.

And how lucky we are that they set up their own independent shop! If their bestselling black forest (P100 per slice, P760 for an entire cake) is representative of their baking prowess, their pastries are nothing short of divine.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan black forest cake slice

They may specialize in cakes – their cheesecakes also come highly recommended – but they also offer perfectly delectable pasta and pizza, for hungry food trippers like my friend and I.

You read that right – even if there was no chicken pastel, we were not at all disappointed with the non-pastry dishes!

We got the Pasta al Pomodoro (P110)

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan Pasta al Pomodoro

…and the Quattro Formaggi pizza (P200) and we did not regret it one bit. Both the pasta and pizza were very tasty and filling! Certainly well worth it, for the price.

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan quattro formaggi pizza

Ah, but we couldn’t forget what we’d gone there for – the coffee!

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan hot americano

You can get all their coffees hot or iced, and I got the hot americano (P60) while my friend got the iced americano (P70).

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan hot and iced americano coffee

The coffee was really good – it had a strong, earthy aftertaste that went really well with the dark chocolate of the cake we were having. I don’t doubt it would go even better with less “dark” sweet flavors, such as fruit-based cheesecakes.

You could request for a small cup of steamed milk to go with your hot or iced coffee (they don’t serve cream), and Splenda if you’re not a big fan of sugar.

Emman revealed that their coffee was their own special blend, which they tested and finalized at their coffee supplier’s site. Thanks to Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan, Bulacan, I’ve come to think it’s important to have one’s own coffee blend if you want people to know that you take your desserts seriously… and Eggenflour clearly does!

Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan Bulacan cake display

A small sign on their front door says they deliver. When I asked Emman about it, he said they used a third party delivery service, and could only deliver to nearby areas.

So, sorry Manila folks – you’ll have to travel to Meycauayan for a taste of the awesome cakes. But trust me, it’s well worth the trip! You may even end up bringing a box or two home to your folks, so they can sample Eggenflour’s talents for themselves.

For good coffee, great food, a cozy, relaxing ambiance and outstanding cakes, come by Avenida Pasteleria in Meycauayan, Bulacan.


Avenida Pasteleria
Unit I St. Michael Commercial Center
Zeus Corner Peso Streets, St. Michael Homes
Meycauayan, Bulacan

Open at 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM every day except Tuesdays

Tel: 0917 518 3628 (call this number for deliveries, or if you need directions) ; 044 693 3532

Official Facebook page

Instagram account

Twitter account


[Erratum: I’d misspelled the name of one of the proprietors, Mr. Emman Santos, as “Eman” earlier. This has been fixed!]

Philippine coffee reviews by Kan Tejada

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!

Coffee Shop Spotlight: Art Circle Cafe in Makati

Art Circle Cafe has been in UP Diliman for some years now. But recently, they opened a second branch nearer to my place of work, and from what I’ve seen, Art Circle Cafe in Makati could be a great place to hang.

I stumbled across Art Circle Cafe in Makati when I decided to take a scenic route to work, and as I was passing by, my tummy rumbled, reminding me that it was lunchtime.

(photo from Art Circle Cafe’s official Facebook page)

I wasn’t really in the mood for coffee (it was such a hot day!) but I thought I’d step in for a cold drink and a bite to eat.

Then I saw the menu and I realized I wanted hot coffee. Very badly.


The place was rather cool, but not too cool – just enough for me to be able to enjoy something hot without fearing my blood pressure going through the roof.

There are 4 coffee brews to choose from: Sagada, Barako, Benguet and Kalinga. Regardless of brew, a cup costs P60.

I had trouble choosing my coffee, because 1) I really wasn’t craving coffee at that time of day, and 2) the selections all looked so good.

The sweet, friendly lady manning the counter advised that I try the Sagada brew, which was the mildest blend, and their bestseller.

I said okay.


I took a sip… and it was REALLY GOOD COFFEE. The taste was mild, as advertised, but it wasn’t mild in the “weak” sense – the better synonym may well be “smooth.” It was so good I just couldn’t mix anything in with it, and drank it black all the way through.

I limited myself to one cup that day, and decided I was going to even it out with some carbonara (P215).


The pasta…could have been tastier. But it was filling, for the price.

I asked about the artwork on display. I was told they were all for sale, and in fact some pieces already had marks on them, which told me they were already sold.

Some of the artwork was quite eye-catching.




I was shown a folder of artwork for sale. I was unable to get nice shots because I didn’t bring my good camera (again! argh).






Before I end this post, here’s another good blog post about the Art Circle Cafe in Makati, with better pictures. Those cake photos look so good!

If anyone reading this happens to be interested in any of the artwork, please feel free to drop by the Art Circle Cafe in Makati to inquire, or leave them a message at their official Facebook pages.


Art Circle Cafe
G/F Y2 Residence Hotel
Santiago corner Singian
Street, Makati City

Official Facebook page

Official Facebook page of the Makati branch

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Farron Cafe Review

There are currently two coffee kiosks in SM Marilao: Foss and Farron. I’ve already done a writeup on the first one, so a Farron Cafe review is only fair.

Farron Cafe slogan and logo

(photo from the official Farron Cafe page)

Farron Cafe appears to be an offshoot of Farroncino, a brand started up by young coffee lovers in 2010. Since then they have expanded to many locations all over the country.

Farron Cafe opens at SM Marilao Feb 1 2016

When Farron Cafe opened at SM Marilao on February 1, it was greeted by a long line of people. I was seized with the burning desire to line up as well to give their drinks a try and write up a Farron Cafe review to mark its opening day, but I was in a rush at the time.

On another day, when I had more free time on my hands, I decided to finally give it a go. It was a good thing I had time, because the queue was still pretty long. And it was the middle of the day, on a weekday!

I asked them what their bestseller was. I was told that for coffee-based drinks, it was the Wild Black Forest.

Farron Cafe Wild Black Forest cream topping

It was a little too sweet for me – the coffee taste was overwhelmed by the sugar. However, I really liked the texture, and the fruity taste.

Farron Cafe Wild Black Forest side view

The cream was a little melted already when I took this photo. I wanted to share it anyway because they put a cute little message with a smiley face near my name 🙂

On my next visit, I got what I was told was their next most popular blend – the Choco Burst.

Farron Cafe Choco Burst

Most of the chocolate flavor turned out to be concentrated at the bottom, but I believe that’s common, when the ingredients of blended flavored drinks “settle.” I decided I liked it more than the Wild Black Forest one, though I wished the coffee-ness towered over the chocolatey-ness one just a smidge more.

And on my next visit, I got two flavors. A Mocha

Farron Cafe Mocha

…and a Barack’O. By the way, I bet the name is inspired by two things: 1) the gritty bits in the mixture which are likely made of barako coffee, and 2) the current US president.

Farron Cafe Barack-O

I made the mistake of asking for just half sugar for the two drinks, because I was in the mood for strong coffee flavors on that day. You can customize your drinks with Farron. But I REALLY do not recommend halving the sugar: the flavor suffers. And no thanks to this mistake I made, I cannot pass judgment on these two drinks.

As there are really only two coffee kiosks in SM Marilao, I find myself unable to avoid comparing Farron Cafe and Foss Coffee. Compared to Foss, the texture of Farron coffee appears to be slightly smoother, and the taste somewhat more sugary. The price is also a point of comparison: you can get a drink at Foss for 55 pesos, while a drink of around the same size goes for 60 at Farron.

Drinks at Farron come in 3 sizes: Tall, Grande and Velik, the current prices being 49, 60 and 65 respectively. Velik, Google tells me, is a Serbo-Croatian word meaning “large.” I’ll have to remember to verify this with the Farron staff the next time I drop by.

Farron Cafe kiosk prices

Farron Cafe is open for franchising. You can view the franchise package on their official website. For the latest news about them, follow their Facebook page.

That concludes my Farron Cafe review! Is it very puzzling that most of my reviews are for kiosks in the Bulacan area? It seems coffee kiosks are not all that common in Manila, even if there are a lot of coffee shops there… so if anyone has any recommendations for other kiosks to review, I’d love to have them!

Coffee Shop Spotlight: StrangeBrew Coffee in Meycauayan, Bulacan

I often pass by StrangeBrew Coffee in Meycauayan, Bulacan and I admit, it piqued my curiosity. It’s a coffee shop in a low-traffic area with a catchy name and an artsy-looking layout – it definitely catches the imagination. Really, it was just a matter of time before I caved and paid a visit.

So, one day, my friend Ladybug (real name withheld to protect the guilty) and I were in the area, and we got it into our heads to drop by. This post is going to be a rundown of our first experience of StrangeBrew Coffee in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

The cafe is located in St. Michael Homes, Meycauayan, Bulacan. It stands out from the other shops in the vicinity, and the well-maintained exterior kind of reminds me of a sophisticated Manila cafe.

The color scheme of the logo – and, indeed, of the whole place itself – strikes me as decidedly dark and masculine.

But inside there’s a certain cozy, relaxed feel, which tells me the ambiance is responsible for what looks like a steady stream of regulars.

The place was full when we got there, around 5:30 pm. It was apparently “happy hour,” meaning P10 off most drinks from 1pm to 6 m. Notably, the patrons were mostly young people – students in their teens, and young professionals in their 20s and 30s.

The prices on the menu are already quite attractive for young people with tight budgets – P75 a drink is not a bad deal. With the happy hour discount, you get it for P10 less! (PS: sorry for all the blurry images. The lighting inside the shop was a bit dim and as it was a spur of the moment trip, I did not bring my good camera.)

Ladybug got their Double Choco (petite size – P75).

I was in the mood for something basic, so I got their americano (hot – P75. For an additional P10, you can get it “iced up”).

We also got pasta with our coffee. Speaking of pasta, TODAY would be a great time to go there, because StrangeBrew is celebrating their 3rd year anniversary with a promo:

(photo from StrangeBrew’s official Facebook page. click on the photo to view the promo on their page)

The place was packed and buzzing, and I had no opportunity to interview the staff. I wanted to ask a couple of things. Off the top of my head, some of them were:

  1. Why was the place named “StrangeBrew”? Was it influenced in any way by the early-2000s show hosted by the beloved late comedian Tado, which shares its name?
  2. What would they attribute to their success, in spite of being located in a low-traffic area?
  3. Why is their logo a chibi (or super-deformed [SD], if that’s the more familiar term) of a naked person holding a coffee cup?? Is this chibi supposed to look like the owner? Intriguing!

If you’re living nearby, consider dropping by StrangeBrew Coffee in Meycauyan, Bulacan today for their anniversary special.


StrangeBrew Coffee
Location: Unit 1 CDN- MARO Apt, corner Peso St and Rand St., St Michael Homes, Meycauayan, Bulacan
Schedule: Open daily, 11am to 1am

Visit their official Facebook page.

Only 3 Philippine Shops in PayWithAPoem 2016?

(image from the official Julius Meinl website)

There are certain times of the year when we celebrate coffee. There’s the International Coffee Day, for example, which takes place on October the 1st every year. There are the many international Barista championships, the International Queen of Coffee Beauty Pageant…and then there’s the PayWithAPoem initiative.

As someone who loves both coffee and poetry, I feel the need to write an entire blog post dedicated to this event.

What is the PayWithAPoem initiative?

This global event was initiated in 2015 by Austrian coffee manufacturer and retailer Julius Meinl in honor of World Poetry Day. Basically, on March 21 of every year, you can step into participating shops and pay for your coffee with an original poem.

The official website of Julius Meinl provides resources for this initiative (the one they made for 2016 is here). The hashtags “#PayWithAPoem” and “#PoetryForChange” are often used on social media by poets and shops to indicate their participation.

Which Philippine shops participated in this year’s PayWithaPoem initiative?

Since the official map of participating shops on the Meinl website didn’t yield any hits for the Philippines, I had to turn to Google.

In a country like the ours, where many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a strong social media presence, Google is admittedly not the most reliable tool for compiling resources. However, it felt like the only tool I had at my disposal. That, and Tagboard, which helped me crawl through social media sites via hashtags.

My feeble cyber-detective skills were severely tested, and on World Poetry Day itself, my research turned up only 3 names:

I use the term “shops” and not “cafes” or “coffee houses” because of course you don’t have to be a cafe or a specialty coffee shop to participate. Also, I wouldn’t strictly classify Kamuning Bakery as a cafe. It is, in fact, a local culinary institution, having been around for 77 years.

Of the three shops listed, only Kamuning Bakery posted updates about patrons’ contributions to World Poetry Day – leading one to wonder how successful it was at the other cafes mentioned. It seems like it was a good day for Kamuning Bakery, however! Lots of lovely contributions shared on their Facebook page, for example:

One of numerous diverse #poems by customers yesterday at #worldpoetryday celebration in #kamuningbakerycafe #poetry #poet #literature #nofilter #picoftheday #instalike

Posted by Kamuning Bakery on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

#poetry in #photography by #kamuningbakerycafe customer Giselle Kasilag, this picture taken yesterday during celebration…

Posted by Kamuning Bakery on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Visual #poetry by #kamuningbakerycafe customer Giselle Kasilag in her beautiful #photography, displayed alongside…

Posted by Kamuning Bakery on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

#Poetry, #coffee, good foods & pugon-baked cakes/breads… One of the delightful #poems by customers of…

Posted by Kamuning Bakery on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Why Would Philippine shops want to participate?

That’s a good question. I guess one way to find out is to ask the establishments that participated, and the ones that knew about it but chose not to participate. I may get back to you later on this.

Speaking for myself, as a coffee-lover who loves literature: I want more people to see for themselves how coffee can fuel the creative writing spirit. I want more people in my very literate country to participate in World Poetry Day, and I want more shops to offer an incentive for that!

If you know of other shops located in the Philippines that participated in the PayWithAPoem initiative, either this year or in the past year (2015, when the movement began), please let me know in a comment on this post!

Coffee Shop Spotlight: Style Studio Cafe etc. in Marilao, Bulacan

One of my objectives for this blog is to feature lesser-known cafes and coffee shops in the Philippines. So, besides writing about coffee kiosks, I’d also like to write about remarkable coffee houses in less popular areas. One such coffee house is the newly-opened Style Studio Cafe etc. in Marilao, Bulacan.

This is a place I’ve passed by many times, but it was the first time I found it open. As it happens, I usually pass by it in the mornings, and Style Studio Cafe etc. in Marilao, Bulacan opens at 1 PM.

The fancy storefront catches attention. The signage is shiny and new, and who can resist hanging around to ogle those lovely dresses on display?

I stepped in, and found the interior of the cafe to be cozy and roomy. And certainly a pleasant break from the heat of the summer sun!

Inside, I was fortunate enough to meet one of the cafe’s two owners, Ms. Eileen Conde. She very nicely answered my questions and let me roam the cafe, taking photos, while I waited for my order.

Ms. Eileen is a professional events organizer. She said she and her business partner, Mr. Ross Paris, opened the cafe only this January.

I asked why they didn’t decide to open at SM Marilao, where there’s more foot traffic. She said SM Marilao is easily flooded, which I have to admit is true. The current location of Style Studio Cafe etc. is more or less flood-free. As it’s also near a private hospital and a major crossroads, I feel it’s a great choice for an independent establishment.

I asked Ms. Eileen about the dresses on display. She said the dresses were part of their “theme.”

Ms. Eileen’s business partner, the General Manager of Style Studio Cafe etc., Mr. Ross Paris, is a photographer. He’s in charge of the second floor studio, which I was not able to enter. Ms. Eileen said I was welcome to explore it later in the evening, but I guess I’ll just see if I can take a peek up there, the next time I come by.

Samples of his work grace one wall of the cafe. Mr. Ross Paris, a chef, is also in charge of the food and drinks in the cafe.

The one who prepared my order was Ms. Ice (I hope I got the spelling right!), who was very accommodating and friendly. She told me they use Batangas Arabica beans for their coffee.

This was the drink I got. I was only able to take a photo of it when I got home, and it was already late…sorry for the lousy lighting!

It’s their Coffee Jelly drink (P120), which Ms. Ice said was their bestseller. I liked it! I found myself wishing it had just a bit more coffee, though, because the cream flavor was a bit overwhelming. But fans of cream-based drinks will certainly enjoy it.

I thought it might be good to pair up the coffee jelly drink with a cupcake. I asked Ms. Ice for her recommendation, and she said the red velvet was their bestseller.

I do not regret taking her recommendation. It was probably the BEST red velvet cupcake I’ve ever had. And I’m not even a fan of red velvet cupcakes! I generally find them too bland, so I was not prepared for how the Style Studio Cafe etc. red velvet cupcake (P55 – P65 if taken home in a box) exceeded my expectations.

The cream cheese topping is rich and just perfectly whipped. I especially like how citrusy it is. Balance it out with a cup of your favorite iced coffee blend for a nice, smooth sugar rush.

The next time I’m in the area, I’d like to try their other blends. And maybe their hot coffees, too, even if the weather is warm.

If you come by hungry, they also offer pizza, pasta, pancakes, sandwiches, and salads, among others. Style Studio Cafe etc. is overall a cool, restful place to hang out, alone or with one’s friends.


Style Studio Cafe etc. in Marilao, Bulacan
Location: Poblacion 2 Mc Arthur Highway Marilao Crossing. Marilao, Bulacan
Landmarks: Near Foodmaster, Mercury Drug and St. Michael Hospital
Schedule: Open daily, Sunday-Thurday 1pm to 11pm. Friday-Saturday 1pm to 12am

Visit their official Facebook page.

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Foss Coffee Review

I’m kicking off the Philippine coffee kiosks series with a Foss Coffee review.

Foss Coffee is a fairly recent addition to SM Marilao, a small but cozy mall near Manila. Since SM Marilao is a place I frequent, I think it would be reasonable to start my kiosk series with a Foss Coffee review.

As someone who hangs out at that mall a lot, I can say for a fact that the brand arrived at just the right time to fill a void – namely, the void populated by people who’d rather avoid Starbucks…which is, for the record, the ONLY big-name coffee specialty shop currently operating in the entire mall.

Don’t get me wrong – I have massive respect for Starbucks, and other big-name shops. But one has to admit the cost of coffee in such shops is a bit restrictive. If you absolutely MUST have your fix on a daily or near-daily basis, cheaper alternatives are a must.

Foss Coffee SM Marilao is located on the ground floor, near the Event Center and Food Court. A perfect setup, I must say, for people who prefer to have coffee for dessert.

Every day the kiosk gets a fair number of patrons, and even if there are other options, there are loyal fans (such as myself) who keep coming back.

Their bestseller is the Java Chip. It’s the one I often get, too. It’s pretty much their most “basic” blend, but I believe it’s a favorite precisely because of its simplicity.

Curiously, their coffee only comes in one size: Grande, which appears to be roughly the same size as a Starbucks “Tall.”

I want to ask: why would they impose just one size, when other coffee kiosks and shops offer more options? There’s a recent move to market a smaller size (I’m not sure why) but it isn’t being done in SM Marilao yet…and truth be told, I’m not sure it’ll catch on. People generally want MORE coffee, not less, right?

On the up side, it is a simple setup: pay a set fee, get a set product. No need to rack your brains trying to work out how to best enjoy your coffee; what you see is what you get.

And no need to break the bank with add-ons! If you don’t like how they prepare one flavor, simply try another. The low price of P55 per glass should encourage you to try as many flavors as you can.

I distinctly remember asking a long time ago if I can get more chocolate chips for my Java Chip coffee if I pay more, and being told they don’t customize their formula. It’s not a big issue, as too much chocolate chip may in fact ruin the flavor.

(photo from

I don’t have photos of the other coffees, I’m afraid. Someone else I know who likes Foss Coffee says Dark Mocha is also a good flavor. I’ve personally also tried Chocolate Mint and Black Forest, which turned out to be too sweet for me; Java Chip seems to have gotten the flavor just right.

They have cream-based drinks, too – blended drinks that don’t have caffeine in them. I was told that among them, the bestselling flavor is Chocolate Cream Chips.

As with most coffee kiosks in the Philippines, Foss Coffee is open for franchising. You can view the franchise kit online here. You can also visit Foss Coffee’s official website, their Facebook page, or the FB page of their SM Marilao branch, for more information.

And with that, I wrap up my Foss Coffee review!

Got a local coffee kiosk franchise you’d like to read a review of? Leave a comment here!

New Signature Image, Plus Facebook and Twitter Accounts!

I have family to thank for this beautiful, brand new header image, which I’ll also be using as the signature photo for the blog’s official social media accounts.

By the way, did you know COMM (yep, that’s this blog’s alternate name!) has a Facebook and Twitter now? Feel free to add me there and let’s talk about coffee!

The social media accounts will be used for sharing interesting news, articles and other blog posts. For the most part, this blog will be used as a home for fresh content, some of which may be inspired by the things posted on Facebook and Twitter. Expect a couple of memes and other fun stuff in those places, too!

You may notice from the already existing content that I share news related to the Philippine coffee industry more often than not – that’s just in keeping with this blog’s objective of promoting Philippine coffee. However, I also enjoy the freedom of writing whatever I want about coffee, so there will be all sorts of coffee news, too. There’s more than one kind of coffee in the world, after all, and more than one country that makes really good ones. The diversity and easy availability of information is what makes being a coffee lover in the Internet age so great!

Back to the header image: this one is all-original*. Family shot this themselves, using a digital camera and whole beans and a double-wall glass from our treasured collection. Double-wall glasses are among our essential equipment as coffee lovers. One of these days I’m probably going to write about our collection, because it is spiffy.

There are two kinds of beans in the photo. The green beans are Benguet arabica beans that have yet to be roasted, and the medium roast beans are from Kenya.

* so PLEASE do not steal or reproduce it, or copy any part of it for any purpose!

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Introduction

I’ve decided to start a series called “Philippine coffee kiosks.” By the title alone, you should be able to guess what it’s about.

For clarity’s sake, “kiosks” are stalls that pop up smack in the middle of public areas, usually mall corridors. They are normally not independent businesses, but instead are franchise options.

Franchising is often spoken of as a great way to learn about running a business. It is attractive to small investors especially because, for fees that are usually smaller than what’s needed to start up your own brand, you can already set up a money-making venture. You can even start it up with partners, and in that way get to know the ins and outs of managing a business with other people!

So, if you’re a dedicated coffee lover based in the Philippines, and want to earn from your passion for coffee, why not invest in a kiosk?

I want to write about how to buy and set up a coffee franchise in the Philippines, but that would have to be at a later time. For now, I’d like to do reviews about the different coffee franchises already out in the local market, and what we can expect from them.

But before I post my first review, I wish to address the question of why a small blogger would want to write about coffee kiosks…instead of, say, larger and more established boutiques.

I can understand the confusion. I want more people to read my blog, and brands like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Gloria Jean’s, etc, are more familiar names, so people are more likely to want to read about them.

Moreover, people who know me well, know I don’t even like blended coffee much (with a few exceptions, which I’ll get into in another post)…and most coffee kiosks sell nothing BUT cold, blended coffee! I’m very much a piping hot, black coffee person, so why even bother with kiosks?

The simple reason is: I like what coffee kiosks are doing. Which, off the top of my head, are the following things:

1. providing cheaper alternatives to expensive coffee from multinational labels, thereby making coffee accessible to more people;

2. providing business options to entrepreneurs, especially entrepreneurs who love coffee (there’s always room in the market for you wonderful people!); and

3. supporting coffee farmers in the country, as local beans are a ready ingredient for new shops.

I think kiosks need a bigger place in cyberspace, and I’m happy to provide it to them – as an independent consumer, who is – and i wish to emphasize this – NOT PAID or compensated in any way for my reviews.

Now that’s been said, the first review for the “Philippine coffee kiosks” series will be posted soon 🙂