In the search for good coffee, and in an attempt to be more systematic about the matter, I ventured exclusively North this time around and tried to find noteworthy establishments that offer exceptional coffee experiences. Most of these places I will mention are holes in the wall, which, to me adds to the charm. My hope is that these places would get the proper foot traffic they need to sustain them and the attention, I think, they very much deserve. So prepare your GPS’s, and let’s head north for our next coffee crawl!
I usually troll cafés and coffee shops that I want to go to on Instagram. People always ask me how I discover all these unknown places and the answer is, honestly, they just pop up on my Explore feed. One such discovery was Jiro Coffee. I have been following them on IG since late last year and have always been meaning to go but since it wasn’t located in a familiar area, I always put it off. Finally, a couple of weeks back, propelled by a series of misfortunes that I wanted to forget, I decided to go on a mini adventure and moseyed over to Jiro. That was the best decision I made all week, because walking into this beautiful little shop, you are instantly transported to another head space. The interiors are modern but very welcoming, with a lot of natural light filtering through the windows, the aroma of roasted coffee in the air. The staff are friendly and accommodating.
On this visit, I even got to meet one of the owners, Marlyn, who kindly recommended their Cocospresso, espresso with iced coconut water served right in the shell! It was refreshing with a nice caffeine kick, because the electrolytes in the coconut water apparently helps the caffeine get absorbed by the body easier. Who would’ve thunk it? Marlyn also made me try a drink still in the works, their Not-So-Flat White, a double shot espresso latte with a delicate sprinkle of cinnamon to finish it off. It’s as delicious as it sounds. Jiro also serves snacks and entrees to go along with their stellar brew.
Testify Coffee and Rare Finds
Another question usually asked of me about my coffee escapades is, when do I find the time to actually go to these places. As a mother of 3, who has school pickup duties and errands, I methodically plan my coffee explorations around my kids’ schedules. So usually around the afternoon while my little boy naps and my girls are still in school, is Mommy’s me-time-coffee-time. One such afternoon I took an Uber to find Testify Coffee. I must admit I was getting more and more anxious by the minute, passing roads and streets I’ve never seen before, but when I finally got there, which wasn’t as far as I thought, I was so happy I made the trip. Testify Coffee is located in a row of apartments and if not for the neon sign outside that says COFFEE, you might just pass it by. The ambiance is definitely quirky with a cool vintage feel. Shelves are stacked with old books you can browse through, and memorabilia and knickknacks you can actually purchase and take home. I was greeted by the barista at the bar and we got to chatting. Turns out, Wenj, is one part of the brother-sister duo that owns the place. She also bakes the pastries they sell there like Empanadas and Apple Crumble.
Their coffee, I’m told is sourced from Mt. Apo in Davao, which serendipitously enough, is the name of the street where the café is located. The beans are then roasted by a friend for them before delivery. I was glad to hear that they sourced their beans locally, since a lot of specialty coffee shops use beans from Africa or South America. The Apo beans have a delicate, chocolatey note with a tinge of citrus that goes awesome with milk, almost like a fine Brazilian coffee would. Upon Wenj’s recommendation, I try their Cappuccino with her Apple Crumble ala mode and sipped and nibbled my stresses away. Fantastic, all around.
I’ve known about Equatorial Coffee for a while now, maybe even since they opened, but I was recently reminded of this place when we took a detour last weekend along Loyola Heights and I got to visit them again. Another hidden coffee gem, this café is tucked away along a side street on Katipunan, and intentionally so. It provides a good respite from the hustle and bustle of the campus crowds and traffic jams all along that area.
A lot of their customers are residents and so it really creates a nice neighborhood vibe. Their coffee is masterfully done, and their baristas well-trained. I occasionally see photos on IG of coffee crawls they do when they travel around the globe which shows their passion to learn more about their craft. I’ve had several coffees here, all of them first-rate, but on this visit I decided to try a new item on their menu that caught my attention. Their Dirty Chai, a ristretto or short shot of espresso is blended with traditional Chai Tea which is a black tea and milk. I love the marriage of the two. I don’t really drink a lot of tea, so this was an unexpected treat, exotic and unique, it really hit the spot. If you’re ever around the area, do give this place a go. You’ll be glad you did.
I truly hope you guys can drop by these cafes one of these days. Come for the good coffee, stay for the ambiance, make new friends with the friendly baristas. Again, go forth and caffeinate!
2F Crossroads Bldg. #77 Mother Ignacia, QC.
Open 11am-7pm Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm Sunday
**9c Apo St. Brgy. Sta. Teresita, QC.
Open Tuesday-Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday-Sunday 10am-10pm
**325 F.B. dela Rosa St. Loyola Heights, QC.
Open 8am-10pm Monday-Saturday, 8am-9pm Sunday