Filipinos are naturally social, so it’s no surprise that we have a strong coffee culture. Just go to any coffee shop and you’ll find it packed, with pairs and groups huddled over cups of java and trading affections and war stories.
Coffee in the Philippines has evolved, from the humble 3-in-1 packs we drink with our morning pan de sal to designer drinks crafted in Seattle. As more and more foreign coffee chains open up shop in the Philippines, Filipinos are taking a step back and embracing a more carefully-curated cup. Enter third wave coffee.
Third wave coffee is a movement that aims to promote high-quality coffee by improving every step of the process, from growing the coffee plant to brewing. Third wave coffee enthusiasts pay attention to where the beans are sourced, how farmers grow them, and how they’re roasted. They take coffee very seriously, thank you very much, latte art included.
Of course, the Philippine coffee scene has adapted to provide connoisseurs the very best in specialty java. Third wave coffee isn’t exactly new here. In fact, shops as far as Subic, New Manila, and Paranaque have been serving good roasts as early as 2012.
It makes sense. The Philippines has an incredible relationship with coffee, with 63 out of 71 provinces producing their own variant. Some of the popular blends are the barako, a Liberica coffee grown in Batangas; and the alamid, a unique variant made from wild civet droppings, already declared one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Historically speaking, we were one of major producers of Arabica until coffee rust almost destroyed the entire industry.
The Philippine coffee industry is booming again. More and more people are starting to appreciate the benefits of craft beverages. Third wave coffee shops are sprouting all over Metro Manila, but a lot of them are concentrated in the Makati area.
Check out some of our favorites in Makati:
Third Wave Coffee in San Antonio Village
San Antonio Village in Makati is filled with coffee shops selling specialty brews. Many coffee shops have their own themes, so you can go to the cafe that matches your interest. For example, Tenant Manila is for surfers who want good coffee (try the Flat White); Writer’s Block for the creative types; and Zoo Coffee for those who like animals.
For straightforward good coffee, there’s Habitual Coffee, manned by award-winning baristas who make awesome aeropress-brewed coffee; YDG Coffee (YDG stands for Your Daily Grind) for their strong brews; Restock for their handcrafted coffee and home finds; and The Rabbit Hole for their Instagrammable coffee and decor.
Tenant Manila: G/F Solace Hotel, 9639 Kamagong Street
Writer’s Block: The Alley at Karrivin, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue
Zoo Coffee: G/F Alphaland Makati Place, Ayala Avenue corner Malugay Street
Habitual Coffee: 2135 Chino Roces Avenue
YDG Coffee: 2100 Pasong Tamo Extension, ID Center
Restock: 7635 Guijo Street
The Rabbit Hole: 20 Malugay Street
Specialty Brews in Salcedo Village
Salcedo Village is home to coffee shops that have a more international flavor. DiCofi is the place to go if you want authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The coffee shop is run by Vietnamese nationals, so you can expect great banh mi, Vietnamese pizza, and sticky rice.
All the way from Australia is Toby’s Estate, an import that serves coffee with beans sourced from Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Panama, and Uganda, all served in different pour-over methods. The look of the store is inspired by the New York subway, so you really get an international feel when you’re here.
DiCofi: G/F Valero Plaza, 124 Valero Street
Toby’s Estate: G/F V Corporate Center, L.P. Leviste Street
Delicious Cuppas in Legaspi Village
The quiet village of Legaspi is the home of third wave coffee shops, too. Yardstick sells good coffee (try the Daily Blend or the Cold Brew Coffee, which has been brewed for 12 hours), but what makes this cafe stand out is their coffee workshop, which teaches attendees how to be a barista, how to brew, and how to make latte art. They also hold free cupping sessions for their latest drinks!
Meanwhile, The Curator plays dual roles: it is a coffee shop in the morning and afternoon, and bar in the evening. Make sure to try the coffee-infused cocktails!
Yardstick: G/F 106 Esteban Street
Curator: 194 Legaspi Street corner Palanca Street
Piping-Hot Coffee in Poblacion
The Poblacion neighborhood is thriving, so coffee shops are also settling in there. Like its name suggests, Commune is about building a community. On ordinary days, it can be a quiet spot for those looking for privacy, but the coffee shop is also home to many events, like photography workshops. In their previous location in Salcedo Village, improv group SPIT used to perform every Thursday. Commune may have moved, but they still have their signature coffees and cute latte art!
If you are a fan of dishes with egg on it, we recommend you try Bean and Yolk, a brunch spot that has a fascination with eggs. Of course, it’s best paired with their coffee, like the Malagos Dark Chocolate Cold Brew.
Commune: 36 Polaris Street
Bean and Yolk: Unit G6 Bel Air Soho Suites, Polaris Street
A Cup of Third Wave Joe at San Lorenzo
Fundamental Coffee is fairly new, but they can keep up with more established cafes with their cold brew choices (with homemade butterscotch syrup) and cozy interiors. They also serve brunch dishes such as toasts, pastas, and rice bowls.
Fundamental Coffee: G/F Park Terraces Tower 1, Parkway Drive corner West Street
Those living in Makati are lucky to have third wave coffee just a few blocks away from them. Thinking of moving? Invest in The Ellis, a condominium in the heart of Makati. Located in the exciting Salcedo neighborhood, it is minutes away from the best cafes serving third wave coffee in town. Enjoy a cup of coffee before going to work or before going home, where you can enjoy R&R amenities like the Pause & Play Room, which has board games, foosball tables, and hammocks; and the The Town Hall, a casual space for socials, intimate galas, movie showings, acoustic sessions, or even art exhibits. It is the perfect venue to unwind, relax, and even bring home a cuppa joe.
Where do you get your third wave coffee? Share it below!