Davao City has always been a place for coffee lovers. Long before the giants Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf entered the scene, Davaoenos have been enjoying the joys of aromatic gourmet coffee in homegrown cafes that dot the city.
I am a coffee lover, so much so that I cannot survive a day without a cup of it. I brew my favorite Monk’s Blend from the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon when I’m at home. When I go out though and the craving for caffeine kicks in, I seek out small Davao City coffee shops. The coffee giants mentioned above have been in my city for years now but I’ve only been to both once.
I am no coffee connoisseur but I know good coffee. Living in Davao City, I am lucky to have a wealth of local coffee places that serve quality brews that can rival, if not beat, those served in big-name shops. For as long as I can remember, Davao City has had a thriving coffee community. One of the pioneers, Blugre Coffee, is still very popular with their signature durian coffee which has been copied by other local shops.
It was a few years ago when my love to homegrown coffee shops bloomed. Back then the popular Davao City coffee shops were Karl’s Koffee Korner in Buhangin, Blugre Coffee in Matina Town Square and Basti’s Brew at Victoria Plaza. Then there came Tata Benito’s A Whole Latte Love, Fagioli Coffee Club and Caffe Firenzo. Fast forward to 2015, there are probably more than a hundred coffee places in the city, including those that are not homegrown.
It was only in 2011 when the coffee giants started to lure local caffeine addicts. It was rumored that the local coffee community has been blocking the opening of Starbucks for years, perhaps for fear of fierce competition. If this is true, they were mistaken. The coffee scene in the city has bloomed more than ever, with new spots cropping up all over the city. And truth be told, some of these shops serve better coffee than the popular mermaid at a lower price per grande cup.
What’s good about the homegrown shops is that most of them support local coffee growers. And if you don’t know it already, the coffee grown in the foothills of Mt. Apo is world-class. In fact, Mindanao’s Mt. Apo coffee was a winner in last year’s Roaster’s Choice event in Thailand (source). Mindanao is fast becoming the coffee capital of the Philippines and where better to experience the best than in Davao City coffee shops?
I would like to share my love for local coffee shops with you, Philippine Travelers. When visiting Davao City, sitting down for a cup of coffee is actually a must do. It’s not just for the caffeine buzz but for the experience of having a cup in what I consider the Philippines’ answer to America’s Seattle.
So let’s discover Davao City coffee shops one cup at a time, shall we? In the next few weeks, I shall be sharing my visits to different coffee shops in my beloved Durianburg. If you’re ever in the city, tweet me or send me a message on Facebook, your first cup is on me.