Coffee shops in Quezon City feel…different. They’re not crowded with yuppies in a rush. The prices are student friendly. There’s enough space — and creativity — to build a really cool atmosphere. There’s ample trees for a literally cool al fresco experience. And come on, the city is unpretentious enough to know that a good cup is a good cup, no matter which wave it’s riding. In no particular order, here are six cool coffee shops we’ve found in the City of Stars.
1. Tweedle Book Café
Sitting prettily on not-so busy Scout Gandia Street, this booklover’s dream of a place greets you with an enormous 14-seater green communal table that’s similar to those found in libraries. The motif continues inside with a wooden shelf covering the full glass window out at the front, cupboards on the counter made to look like an oversize card catalogue, names of all-time favorite authors stenciled on wooden ceiling panels. Take it or leave it: Tweedle has no WiFi, which makes it perfect for students reviewing for their examinations.
What to order: Café Americano (PHP120) and super-tasty lamb caldereta pie (PHP165).
Find them: 106B Sct Gandia St, Bgy Laging Handa, QC; +63 922 8051688. Sun-Thu 10am-12am, Fri & Sat 10am-1am.
2. Third District
Third District likes to call itself “a neighborhood joint” and in many ways, it feels like one. It’s comfortable and homey — there’s plenty of couches are aplenty and it feels very familiar. The exposed wall bricks, wooden counters and tables, art and colorful Parallel 49 coffee cups, however, are nothing you would find at home. While Third District can give off that painfully hip Makati CBD vibe, we’re willing to forgive them knowing that their coffee is pretty damn decent. And hey, they also serve ice cream.
What to order: Co-owner Dom Hernandez likes to pair the kielbasa sausage plate (PHP340) with an Americano (PHP100), while his buddy Sam Milby claims the salmon eggs Florentine (PHP320) s his favorite.
Find them: 41 Estaban Abada St, Bgy Loyola Heights, QC; +63 2 4341079. Daily 7am-10pm.
3. Coffee Empire
It doesn’t look anything but promising on the outside, but behind the tinted glass doors is a huge, high-ceilinged coffee shop, complete with a green room (where coffee beans are stored), a roast room (where coffee beans are roasted), a bar, and upstairs, an al fresco area, where smokers can indulge. The 50-seater, all-wooden Coffee Empire is a third wave joint that also serves local craft beers on tap. Thankfully, its staff aren’t over-eager, over-clingy know-it-alls. They keep to themselves, until you call for them, in which case they snap into attention.
What to order: An Americano will set you back PHP110, though for the same price, you’ll get a stronger kick with a Cortado — super yummy. If you need to nibble on something, The Wrong Sandwich (PHP225), which features Ma Ling luncheon meat, of all things, is a must-try.
Find them: 74 West Avenue, Bgy West Triangle, QC; +63 2 4100190. Daily 8am-1am.
4. Cool Beans Library Cafe
You can’t miss this cafe that’s right smack in the middle of the city’s most active foodie havens. Cool Beans Library Cafe boasts two main attractions: coffee and books. It has an impressive collection of titles — from art tomes to graphic novels, plus a huge selection of National Geographic back issues. The shop’s main wall is literally lined with books. Well-lit and cozy, it’s pretty much a perfect setting for bookworms and just about everyone else. In fact, it’s already been featured in two movies: the Derek Ramsay-Jennylyn Mercado hit movie, English Only, Please, and an indie flick starring Zsa Zsa Padilla, M: Mother’s Maiden Name.
What to order: Go for the 16-ounce Sagada, Kalinga, or Benguet Roast in their hot (PHP80) or iced (PHP85) variants. Pair up your coffee with any of the paninis available (tuna, mushroom & cheese, chicken pesto, or philly cheesesteak) which cost from PHP130 to PHP170. If you’re not too hungry, you can order the half-size version your chosen panini, which goes from PHP70 to PHP90. These sandwiches are hefty and packed with flavor.
Find them: 67-A Maginhawa St, UP Teachers Village, QC; +63 917 7064711. Mon-Sat 10am-11pm.
5. Craft Katipunan
Craft Katipunan is a descendant of Craft Coffee Revolution in New Manila, the pioneers of this whole Third Wave Coffee hoopla. They’ve branched out to two other locations, one of them is located in the Katipunan area. Like its New Manila branch, this one screams hipsteria: Communal tables, comfortable couches, vinyl on speakers, a ton load of electricity outlets — all these should tell you that this place caters to laptop-hugging, oral-exam studying college kids.
What to order: An interesting item on Craft’s menu is Magic (PHP120), described as espresso, milk and foam. Sounds a whole lot like cappuccino, except with less foam. But it’s hard to wrestle with Craft’s flat white (PHP140). That is already magical in itself. If you’re feeling the munchies, the truffle mushroom pasta (PHP235) is Craft’s bestseller.
Find them: 88 Esteban Abada St, Bgy Loyola Heights, QC;. +63 2 2941633. Daily 8am-11pm.
6. Afters Espresso and Desserts
Afters has just finished renovating — as in just this week — and the result is nothing short of cozy. Like most of the coffee shops listed here, brick walls and a whole lotta wood make for the interiors. Unlike the others, though, Afters looks and feels more feminine. Maybe it’s the lack of slouchy couches, the warm glow from their lights, or that really, really sexy wooden bar; maybe it’s the kind of font they used, or the fact that Afters likes to highlight its gelato and deserts. Whatever it is, this coffee joint on Tomas Morato Avenue attracts them cool girls from all across QC.
What to order: Unlike a certain coffee shop that has it off-the-menu, Afters’ Gilbraltar (PHP115) is on the menu, ready for the taking. Pair it with a deconstructed apple pie (PHP185) and get ready for the buzz. Need something more nutritious? It can’t get any more nutritious than the Hungry Man’s Platter (PHP295), Afters’ best-seller.
Find them: 20 Lansbergh Place, Tomas Morato Ave cor Sct Castor St, QC; +63 2 7918789. Daily 8am-2am.
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