In recent years, coffee establishments that focus on the quality and “artisanship” of their coffee (otherwise known as third wave coffee) have popped up in Metro Manila, notably in Makati. Usually dubbed as “hipster,” these coffee shops are typically more quiet and laid back, with a distinct vibe to them that can be described more as millennial or indie—something very different from your ordinary coffee shops.
Down South, options for coffee aren’t as broad. Apart from the popular commercial establishments, there isn’t much to find when it comes to specialty coffee. One standout would be Magnum Opus though, a specialty coffee house that has been a known and beloved name in BF since its opening. The owners who put a prime on the quality (and who also served as baristas) have come back with a new coffee concept with Exchange Alley Coffee House (or EACH) in Molito Lifestyle Mall, Alabang.
Although third wave coffee establishments are known to be for people who like to take their coffee seriously, Exchange Alley Coffee House wanted to take a different approach. Whether you’re there to focus on the specialty coffee, to study, to talk to people, or to make your Instagram feed look even better, EACH is for you. It is a place to enjoy coffee, a place to meet others, or a place to have brunch; it is whatever you want it to be. What matters is that you get great coffee.
The concept and English theme was inspired by the 17th century coffee houses of Change Alley in London, a street with popular coffee houses of the time. At the time, coffee houses were primarily seen as a place for people to commune. EACH marries that community with third wave coffee to establish their brand of approachable specialty: specialty coffee without pretension. Their design reflects this: pastel blue and orange-colored cups, tile counter, and red wall-lamps give the whole place a very hip yet familiar look (and also definitely InstaG-able).
The place still draws from its English inspiration, with a black lamp head attached to the wall, and a bathroom interior that will remind you of 221b Baker Street from BBC’s Sherlock. More notably, the food offered are English dishes that aren’t as commonly found in typical restaurants of continental cuisine.
EACH is definitely more than just the coffee, as proven by the attention they give the quality of their food menu as well. With an unconventional selection of dishes, they bring new things to the table that are worth trying. Let’s take a look at some of their most recommended dishes.
Pork and Beans (P380)
As someone who never particularly found beans special, this flavorful combination of tender meat and beans surprised me. It’s also one of the owner’s favorites, so you know you can’t regret this.
3-Cheese Toastie (P250)
A must-try for cheese lovers everywhere, their 3-cheese toastie is not just a grilled cheese. Biting into this is a seamless blend of cheese and bread, as the cheese seems to be more within the sourdough than in between slices. Of course, gourmet cheese sandwiches are not complete without a fitting tomato complement, which here comes in the tomato dip as well as potato crisps (yas British).
Avo Toast (P180)
One of the more exotic choices, the avocado toast is interesting and tasty, well worth its price. The egg in the middle is definitely a bonus.
Just like Magnum Opus, EACH ensures the best quality for their coffee. They value arabica coffee beans that are freshly harvested, roasted, brewed well, and are traceable in origin. After you order, the baristas prepare your coffee in front of you with the one machine they use to grind all their beans.
Nitro Black (P190)
Brewed with a mini keg, the Nitro Black has foam on top, is creamier and more beer-like than a regular brew, thanks to the nitrogen. Served in a skinny tall glass, this novel experience is one of the cooler must-tries of EACH.
EACH Mocha (P170)
For fans of Magnum Opus, their mocha may be a little more familiar. Served in a daintier cup with foam latte art, this one is for those who prefer their coffee to be less bitter.
Iced Latte (P150)
Iced Latte is not only so satisfying to stare at, it’s a great starter for anyone who is trying EACH for the first time.
And if you can’t stay a while to enjoy their coffee in cool glasses, their on-the-go cups are just as pretty as paper cups can get.
With its young and appealing interior design as well as good food and great coffee you can’t find in many places, it’s difficult to find a concept similar to the one EACH provides. For whatever reason you come in, you come out with the EACH experience — and it’s something you’d probably want to try again.
Exchange Alley Coffee House