Authentic Sagada Coffee and Food at SGD Coffee

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.

In Defense of City Blends Prima

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!

Philippine Coffee Kiosks Series: Koko Kofi Review

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.