These inventive third-wave cafés exemplify the incredible specialty-coffee culture growing in Manila.
BY EMILY MENESES
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT
Cover photo courtesy of Ralph Lorenz Yu, depicting Prominent Coffee’s black sesame matcha and chocolate dalgona coffee
Aside from its incredible food, world-famous beaches, and vibrant culture alive with music and art, the Philippines is also earning a well-deserved reputation for its third-wave coffee culture. Over the past several years, the island nation’s bevy of third-wave cafés has vastly expanded, with each coffee shop showcasing classic Filipino flavors like calamansi (a Philippine lime) and ube, along with single-origin coffees from neighboring Southeast Asian countries and the islands’ very own farms in Benguet, Batangas, Cavite, and beyond.
Whether you live in Manila or are planning to make a trip to the Philippine capital soon, here are four standout cafés to add to your list of sights to see.
YDG (Your Daily Grind) Coffee
YDG Coffee started out as a small, 100-square-foot space in an office building in Makati before expanding into a storefront in Mandaluyong. Aside from its array of unique beverages (including an impressive torched caramel latté), the café is well-known for its food menu, which boasts dishes like silog, which is a traditional Filipino breakfast including rice and eggs, along with a variety of grilled meat and fish.
When asked about the trajectory of third-wave coffee in Manila, Sid Cabatingan of YDG shares, “There’s no denying that (the presence of third-wave coffee) is continuously increasing … (but) we think there’s still plenty of space for third-wave coffee to grow in Manila.”
Check out YDG Coffee on their Instagram.
With locations in Legazpi Village, Salcedo Village, and Mandaluyong, Yardstick Coffee plays a prominent role in Manila’s third-wave café culture. The shop offers a variety of whole-bean single-origin Philippine coffee from farms like Sitio Belis, Sitio Naguey, Sitio Kisbong, and more. This year, Yardstick is also hosting the Philippines’ AeroPress Championship to select the winner to represent the Philippines in the World AeroPress Championship December 1–3 in Vancouver, B.C. You can follow Yardstick Coffee on their Instagram.
Brian and Dianne Westphal launched Bad Café as a place to merge their passion for coffee, pastries, and art. The café menu features sweet offerings like genmaicha brown sugar milk tea and calamansi pie, along with savory foods like mushroom tartine and honey garlic fried chicken.
The Makati-based shop also serves most of its food and beverages in mugs and plates crafted by local potter Ugu Bigyan, which is a small but thoughtful touch that pays homage to the country’s rich history of craftsmanship and artistry. Check out Bad Café on their Instagram page.
Located in Quezon City, Prominent Coffee offers the typical espresso-based beverages along with specials like a black sesame matcha, honeycomb latte, chocolate dalgona, and tiramisu latte topped with vanilla mascarpone cream. The café also serves freshly baked items like sourdough bread and pan de sal—classic Filipino bread rolls.
These are just a few of the amazing coffee shops that Manila has to offer, and other standouts include Commune and Each Coffee. If you ever find yourself in the region, be sure to check them out!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Los Angeles, Emily Joy Meneses (she/her) is a writer and musician passionate about culture and collective care. You can regularly find her at Echo Park Lake, drinking a cortado and journaling about astrology, art, Animal Crossing, and her dreams. Explore her poetry, short stories, and soundscapes on her website.