So it’s the 2011 Planner season for many coffee shops and I could see that many are taking in more than their regular dose of caffeine fix just to get the planner. Personally, I do not understand the fixation in getting these different planners other than the fact that it is widely known in the world that it is only in the PHILIPPINES that Starbucks Coffee has a planner. Wow! Isn’t that something! Other than that, other coffee shops have followed suit, offered discount coupons and other freebies to patronize their drinks! Seriously though, do you really want the planner? Or do you really want your coffee? If you are like me that you want your coffee and you are seriously addicted to it as I am addicted to my runs, then you would consider getting to know ALL the different coffee shops around town to get the best deals out of it and still get your fill. So here is a rundown of the coffee shops that I hang around whenever I get bored and tired of brewing and creating my own mix at home. They are in the order of a countdown, with number 10 being the least one that I patronize the most.
Rank #10 STARBUCKS COFFEE
Yes, believe it or not, Starbucks Coffee ranks as number ten in my list. Most people would probably be surprised about this, given the fact that recently I’ve been updating my facebook entries about the RED season and drinks, not to mention the Starbucks 2011 calendar that I’m working hard on getting for my sister. But at the end of the day, Starbucks may have the best customer service in town, but the place is just too crowded that I can’t sit down and enjoy my coffee. You would have to be a regular to know the best time of the day to visit and have a relaxing cup of coffee. And yes, there are certain drinks here that you could still avail at less than 100 pesos! There’s the Espresso Shot at 80 pesos! For those who want to instantly have a trip to Jupiter coming from a night cap or needed a jolt from being in zombie mode, this is the one for you. It is not for the faint hearted though.
There’s only one shop of Starbucks that I do love hanging around during the holiday season during the wee hours of the morning, its the Ayala 6750. They are among the few Starbucks Coffee shops that go 24/7 for the holiday season. Perfect for those young people like me who like to squeeze in meeting up with friends after work, after parties and just have a laugh with the best of friends until the break of dawn. Other than that, there are hardly any places one could hangout that long in the metro without visiting a local bar and heaven forbid, alcoholic drinks are far more fattening than the cream that is on top of most Starbucks Coffee drinks!
Still, as long as Starbucks Coffee Philippines churns out that annual planner, they can expect that I would be crawling like a zombie in need of blood to their doors in search for that elusive Starbucks Planner. Yes, all for the love of my beloved sister!
Rank #9 BO’S Coffee Shop
BO’s COFFEE is one of the local coffee shops in the Philippines and I am proud that there are more local coffee shops around! This is good for the economy! Other than that, during Fridays and the weekends when one meets up with family and friends, chances are Starbucks would most likely be FULL. So as an alternative to a venue for cheap, inexpensive coffee, head to BO’S !!! Almost all the major malls has a BO’S Coffee shop! It’s just that most people hardly notice them at all as they pass by — which makes them even more perfect a place to have a nice chat with friends! One thing that I keep remembering about this coffee shop is that you would truly enjoy your cup of coffee because of the near Antartic temperatures!
Try the Americano. And oh, if you’re not going to bring it out with you ALWAYS opt to have your coffee in a mug. The flavor comes out more and you get to enjoy the coffee much more with the feel of taking it at home.
Rank #8 Coffee Dream
This relatively new player in town offers coffee for less than P75 pesos, but their venues are not really the best ones in town. The one I visited is in SM Megamall and you have to take your coffee in a place where most people walk past you and the noise gets a little unbearable. Good place to sit down for a quick fix, but not the best place to have a cup of coffee and talk about what’s happening with work and what’s going around town. Try their Cappuccino! It’s one of the best I’ve tasted around town and go for a slice of cake with it too! The carrot cake is the best pair with your cup of joe!
Rank #7 The Chocolate Kiss Cafe in UP Diliman
Inside the premiere state university in their Diliman campus [my alma mater!!!] lies one of the best cafes in town in terms of good food and good coffee! Although they only serve two types of coffee, the brewed coffee and cappuccino, I could tell you that the cups of joe that I have here is among the best in town. For less than a hundred bucks, you could never go wrong with this place. Try to have a cup of coffee in the morning here in their shop downstairs of the Bahay ng Alumni which opens at 7:00 in the morning. This is even perfect among runners who like to meet with friends and run around the campus and then have breakfast in a nice quiet hole. There’s not a lot of people at around this time. Worst time to have a cup of coffee here is noontime when it becomes jampacked with students, faculty members and alumni who miss hanging out around the campus.
For the cup of cappuccino, try it with the Devil’s Foodcake! For the brewed blend, it goes well with the Dayap cake.
Rank #6 Figaro
Another proudly Filipino coffee shop that I love is Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! I just love saying it! And there are three branches that I specifically enjoy hanging around too! There’s the Greenbelt 3 branch, then another one in Makati near Ayala Avenue [I forgot the name of the street!] and then finally there’s the EDSA Shangrila Plaza mall branch. Many of their branches offer free wireless internet now, so you could also opt to catch up on your emails [hopefully not office emails please] and also update your social networking sites while being on a high with coffee!
So what coffee cup do I recommend here? It’s the Americano. The blend is just perfect, not too strong as most Americanos I’ve downed around town, but just the right strong blend that gives you a kick and a feel of resting on a hammock. Reminds me of a line that my mother shared with me too recently
“Scotch to remember the best of days and coffee to forget the bad things…”
Rank #5 7-11
So you just finished watching a concert and the bar scene is already closed for a night cap. Coffee shops are already closed too and you certainly can’t bring your friends over to your house for fear of waking the neighbors or your parents who might be wondering why on earth are you still hanging out with your friends in the wee hours of the day? So where do you get your coffee fix? Believe it or not, 7-11 Philippines recently introduced their brewed coffee line that has been existence in the US and other markets! I have waited for this for a decade! Yes, a decade! For about ten years back, 7-11 was featured in a Fortune magazine as among the top ten places to get an inexpensive coffee fix that has one of the highest caffeine content! Even much higher than that of Starbucks Coffee! Isn’t that a surprise!
Best of all, coffee cups don’t exceed P70 pesos! You could even get cups for less than that price! So if you’re on a tight budget and still want to have excellent coffee, try 7-11’s new coffee line. Go for the French Vanilla roast. If I believed in the essence of Zen, I think that this would be it. It’s actually a guilty pleasure of having to wake up to the smell of coffee plus the feel of caffeine rushing through my veins. I don’t know about you, but coffee just has a relaxing effect on me. In fact, recent studies show that having a cup of coffee helps in having a regular bowel movement! Isn’t that nice!
Rank #4 The Coffee Beanery
I was introduced to The Coffee Beanery by my roommate in college Albert. His girlfriend at the time was working for the said company and it was actually my first foray into drinking ice coffee. I recall that their bestseller at the time was the Frosted Java Java, which was presented in an exotic looking glass resembling something of a thin milk glass topped with java crunchies and whipped cream. The branch I went to was the Greenbelt 1 branch which no longer exists. I wonder why?
Still, this coffee shop still has a few branches scattered through the metro and they were in fact, among the first coffee shops around way before Starbucks Coffee became an enclave for high school students and yuppies. And their choice of venues remains to be one of the best too, in terms of being a quiet place to just relax and unwind and dine with friends. Yes, dine with friends because most of their shops offer good food too! In fact, the one branch that I like most is located inside the home decor zone of SM North EDSA. It’s like an oasis in a frenetic mall as hardly anybody visits the home decor section of SM here! Other branches that are worth visiting include their Katipunan branch and also their EDSA Shangrila Mall branch.
Rank #3 Via Mare
When one thinks of Via Mare, most people conjure images of Bibingka and also their Oyster Bar which is located in Greenbelt 3. However, for the coffee addicts they would definitely agree that one of the best places to have a good cup of coffee around town for less than 100 pesos is Via Mare. They offer two basic coffee blends, the brewed house blend and also the cappuccino. Go for the house blend, mix it with the Muscovado sugar and order putobumbong or bibingka! It makes you feel that you are right inside your own home once you get to taste that first drip of coffee on your tongue! Savor the moment and feel the exquisitely pinoy sensation of brewed coffee! Speaking of feeling at home….
Rank #2 Titanium Runner Cafe
Ha! Believe it or not, I make excellent cups of joe. In fact, I’ve been experimenting my own blend of coffee and in the near future, would really want to get my own coffee shop or even get a franchise of coffee shop. It’s something that I plan to do in ten years time. Until then, I still need to learn the art of brewing coffee, the different types of coffee roasts etc. Every time that I travel, I always try the local coffee. Whether it be offered in the street or inside a coffee shop or hotel.
Anyway, I currently do three blends and iced blended flavors. I make excellent Americano in French/Italian roast, Sagada Mountain blend and Batangas Dark roast coffees. No, I do not know how to make a cup of Cappuccino. I’ve tried but not something I am good at. I am willing to host running groups to come taste and have coffee [and pasta!] at my place in near future. I really would like to thank them for supporting me and helping me out during runs! [Calling Team Cool Buddies, Team Boring, Team Ungas, Takbo.ph running groups!!!] Anyway, just let me know and ping me, YM me or email me! Aside from the coffee and pasta, one of the things that you could look forward to is customized music too at my place. I will play the music that you want to listen to! Most coffee shops only offer jazz or lounger music that keeps on playing the same tune every hour. For there’s no better place to have a cup of coffee than at home. However, there’s one other place that I enjoy having coffee more than at home.
Rank #1 Krispy Kreme
Am not a donut afficionado, but I just love the brewed coffee blends of Krispy Kreme! My favorite enclave is the one in Trinoma, which is just a five minute walk from the house! Nice! Best time for me to have my cup of coffee us just after eating breakfast at home. I would then troupe to the mall and be one of their first customers of the day. It’s not yet crowded at that time of the day, and also they offer free wireless internet too! So not only do I go there for my coffee, but also a time when I get to blog away and check on websites that interests me.
There are two coffee blends that I recommend here. Go for the Karamel coffee and also the basic brew. Then ask for steamed milk for your basic coffee! I usually go for the biggest cup of coffee they have and ask for steamed milk. I then come up with two mixes. I put some of the basic black coffee on the frothy steamed milk and drink it as is like a cup of cappuccino. Then I mix in the sugar with the remaining coffee and drink it strong and black. Hmm… That was just perfect! Now if only there was a Krispy Kreme outlet here in my home province.. that would have been perfect. Well, since there’s none I would have to resort to making my own blend here at home and enjoy a cup of coffee. All this talk about coffee just left me longing for a cup right now. So see you guys in coffee shops around town! Now for my cup of coffee!!!