As I begin this piece let me quote some wise words by 90s breakup angst anthem lyricist, Alanis Morisette:
It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought, it figures.
Now let me add on to those paradoxes, a very personal one:
It’s like needing a cup of coffee on a 35oC day.
Living in Manila, especially during the sweltering summer months, can make drinking your usual hot cup of coffee nearly mission impossible. But thanks to the diversification of our beloved beverage, we can still satisfy our need for some caffeine even on the hottest of days. While there are numerous ways to have our coffee on ice, my go-to, no-fail, beverage of choice is always my beloved Iced Latte. An Iced Latte is basically a single (or double) shot of espresso poured over chilled milk and finished off with some ice cubes. I usually take this sans any sweetener to best appreciate the amalgamation of the potency of the espresso and the creaminess of the milk. And so without further ado, here are some reputable places to get this mighty good refreshment.
Caravan Black is one of the most dapper places to have coffee. With its high ceilings, dark wood furnishing, and plush leather seats, it almost reminds me of a classic gentlemen-only club. The name was inspired by how coffee beans were once transported in caravans when they were first introduced to people all over the world. Located at the Net Lima building which is also home to powerhouses like Wildflour and Hey Handsome, Caravan Black provides a really chill and stunning place to have your coffee break. While I’m here to talk about their Iced Latte, which is amazing – perfectly extracted espresso with rich milk, I have to take a few moments to recommend some of their iced Signature Drinks like the Localmotion, an iced drink with a double shot of espresso, milk, house made coffee jelly, or the Miami Vice (I know, the name is everything!): espresso with soda water over ice. So if you’re ever around the BGC area, do give this place a go.
I’ve always wished to have a neighborhood café, a stone’s throw away or even a reasonable walk from my house. But the odds have not been in my favor, so until that time comes, I’ll just be here envying other people who have such an oasis, like the residents and tenants of the BTTC Center along Ortigas Ave. that lodges 9 Cups, a charming little café right at the lobby of the building. Imagine taking an elevator ride down, still in your cozy jammies, to get a freshly made cup of specialty coffee. What a dream!
I asked the barista once why the café was called 9 Cups, with their official hashtag being #sharingninecups, and I was told it was because the joint was owned by nine business partners who all share a deep affection for coffee. I love having my Iced Lattes here because it’s always so quiet and relaxed. You get to enjoy your coffee in peace, watching people go about their day. The baristas are well-trained, and the espresso is always good. Definitely a great neighborhood café.
Visiting Little Owl Café is almost like visiting your Aunt’s house for a meal with family. When you pull up to the driveway and enter that huge, wooden door, you feel very much at home. The enormous glass windows let sunlight in so beautifully, and it fills the white-walled interiors with a soft, warm glow. Their coffees, I learned, are sourced for them by no less than Toby’s Estate, and their baristas are trained by them as well, so you know you’re in good hands. They serve their Iced Lattes dirty, meaning with the shot of espresso poured on top of the milk, unmixed and as an added bonus, freshly ground coffee beans are sprinkled just before they bring it to your table. The ground coffee just heightens the coffee experience and gives you a delightful olfactory and textural extravaganza. It’s just awesome. Not a lot of places serve their Lattes like this so I highly recommend you head on off to Little Owl, like now.
LITTLE WAVE COFFEE CO.
If you’re ever in the picturesque island of Boracay, and in desperate need of some really good brew, Little Wave Coffee Co. is a godsend. You won’t believe how happy I was to know that specialty coffee has reached these shores. Another offshoot of EDSA Beverage Group, this café is modern and hip and brand-spankin’ new. Nothing is more comforting than sipping your ice-cold coffee after sweating it out on the beach, your toes still sandy from the walk over. Their namesake drink, the Little Wave, is like an Iced Latte on steroids. Fine espresso is shaken with chilled milk and topped with a thick sea salt cream. It’s decadent and punchy, smooth and just so dang delicious. Bikini be damned, this is a worthwhile calorific pick-me-up.
If you have a coffee place you’d like me to feature or know about, give me a shout out on the comment section or reach me at my Instagram account @kirtudb. I’d love to share some coffee stories with you guys. Go forth and caffeinate!
Net Park, 4th Ave. Fort BGC.
Open Monday-Friday 8am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm.
BTTC Center, San Juan, Manila.
Open Monday-Friday 8am-11pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Closed Sundays
65 Broadway Ave., New Manila QC.
Open Monday-Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 9am-9pm
Little Wave Coffee Co.
Streetmarket Boracay, Station X, Hue Hotel, Main Road cor. Boracay Food Street
Open 12nn-9pm everyday