It was an infernal afternoon that day when my friends and I spotted Equatorial Coffee, a little industrial-themed “third wave” café in an alleyway at Loyola Heights slightly hidden between KFC Katipunan and Common Room PH.
We felt instant relief as soon as we entered the cafe with their a/c unit set at full blast. I then observed the crowd and noticed the common coffee shop pattern among the patrons, mostly students because of location, as they were all busy productive bees with their laptops turned on, notebooks out, thinking caps worn each with their specific brew of coffee as their brain fuel. “I like this place already,” I thought as I imagined future days spent cranking out school requirements in a calm environment with potentially good coffee, food, and Wi-Fi.
Exposed bulbs, strips of wood and unpainted walls outfit the casual cafe
Miguel Macaalay, owner of Equatorial Coffee, had this to say on the location of their first store: “We chose the Katipunan area to build our first store. Students make up a large chunk of our market and we saw potential in this. What better way to slowly introduce specialty coffee but to introduce it to the young market so they can grow with it. In no time, demand for specialty coffee would have exploded.”
If at this point you’re wondering, “what’s third wave?” At its simplest, it’s a movement that aims to produce high quality coffee and elevate it from a mere drink that smells good and wakes you up to a drink that’s on par with fine wines as based on the subtleties and qualities of its composition and production. Equatorial Coffee exemplifies that definition as their coffees are sourced from select origins and produced using artisan methods – none of that 3-in-1 stuff. Furthermore, they use beans from the equatorial region where coffee is best grown and so the origin of their name. They’ve worked with expert coffee purveyors to roast and supply beans and then expertly brew espresso blends on a La Marzocco espresso machine for pulling that best shot. Unfortunately for us, and after quite a build-up, their single-origin coffee wasn’t available at the time we visited but we were able to try the best cooler for a sunny day- frappes!
Holy Frappe! (L-R) Nutella Frappe (P155), Green Tea (P155), and Double Mocha (P145)
Yay for Christmas specials! More yays for Nutella Christmas specials! Their Nutella Frappe was smooth, creamy, and hazelnutty. The new Green Tea frappe was another good one having that pinipig infused taste. Double Mocha is one of their best-sellers and I recommend you try it out too for that chocolaty-coffee craving. The best way to try out all these is to go with friends because frappes and friends are the perfect brew!
A short food program complements their coffee offerings and these aren’t to be missed.
Their Beef Salpicao (P220) had the most tender beef cubes and marbled potatoes. Breakfast food is available all day like their Equatorial Beef Tapa (P180) which was a great combination of sweet tapa and spicy tuba vinegar served in a cast-iron plate.
They had me at bacon. Pastas like Bacon Carbonara (P180) and Amatriciana with Crusted Bacon (P180) will remind you of your grandma’s cooking (if you’re grandma knew how to cook) for their hearty, rich and fresh flavor. We sealed our meal with Waffles n’ Cream (P120) made up of a soft belgian waffle, a huge mound of whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. Take note that they have other pastries available too like their Molten Lava (P135).
When in Manila, experience Equatorial Coffee’s special brews, blends, and eats with your friends as it’s the spot that has an overwhelming love and passion for coffee.
Mon-Sat (8:00-22:00) Sun (8:00-21:00)
325 F dela Rosa St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City
*Credits to Allie Dizon for helping me with some of the photos