Coffee has slowly become an important part of the city dwelling Cebuano. You can tell because of all the cafes sprouting out. We aren’t talking about the cutesy gimmicky ones either. We mean the cafes that serve legitimately good coffee.
What is good coffee? It would take many arguments, clarifications, and much more than a blog post to explain what goes into a good cup. Just know this, fast on the go coffee has its place in the world, good coffee is neither fast nor meant to be taken on the go.
Every café on this list is here chiefly because they serve the good stuff. That’s the prerequisite, but many times, you need more than that to stand out. You’ll read about the coffee and some of the other reasons to visit.
Let’s get started.
In Ayala, my coffee of choice is from Treat Street. They smartly partnered with the esteemed Toby’s Estate from Manila to give Cebuanos a taste of top notch coffee. This is where I first tried a flat white and a piccolo.
There aren’t many other places that serve a good piccolo latte (one of my faves!). It’s basically a baby latte for when a full glass is too much. After my experience with Treat Street, I realized that I should be ordering the espresso based drinks whenever I head over to cafes as these are much more difficult to make at home.
Back to Treat Street, what they lack in floor space, they easily make up for with great tasting coffee, and very yummy desserts.
Address: Ayala Center Cebu, Archbishop Reyes Ave Cebu Business Park, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Phone: 0977 206 3725
Kapehan Ceferina holds a special place in my coffee bean shaped heart. The space is a tiny 20 square meters, but it’s packed with love; beach photos posted on the wall, a record player in the corner with vinyl on the shelves, interesting books available to read, and even a few board games to play with.
It’s still a small operation and they don’t even have an espresso machine, but the coffee they make is lovingly prepared and in the end, that’s all you need. That and a variety of tools like a French press, an Aeropress, coffee bean grinders, and all other manners of measuring mechanisms.
What they lack in size, they make up for in heart. The owners are behind the bar every day. They regularly have small events hosted by their friends. From ramen nights to donut weekends, there’s no shortage of surprises when visiting this little corner of the world.
Address: 6, Zerep Commercial Center, M. L. Quezon Ave, Mandaue City, 6014 Cebu
Phone: 0943 441 4610
When Fujinoya first opened, people raved about their delicious Japanese desserts. The desserts have the precision and care we have come to know from anything Japanese. They continue to expand their menu offerings and have become one of the few cafes you can have a hearty meal in.
But Fujinoya remains a café at heart. Not only do they serve a fine cup of coffee, they’ve helped promote and educate the public to the finer points of coffee love. They’ve done so by making it easy for the public to get into coffee by selling the basics for making a good cup in the comforts of your own home. They have even invited baristas from all over the Philippines to perform a coffee cupping.
A true ambassador to a good cup of joe.
Address: Wilson St, Apas, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Phone: (032) 231 5238
Degree 9 Coffee
As of this writing Degree 9 is set to open their second branch, making them one of the bigger cafes on this list. They have it all, the perfect ambiance for a quiet sit down, enough dessert and food for a small meal, and even their own roaster for top quality coffee.
In fact, they are one of the few places in Cebu that roasts their own coffee. I learned a thing or two about the roasting process. Did you know that you have to sit beside the coffee beans and listen to them as they are roasted? After a few minutes of roasting, the beans give out a faint crack. The roaster in turn takes note of the time and adjusts her roast accordingly.
Yup that’s the kind of meticulousness you can expect at this café. Here’s a tip: It’s not on the menu, but you can order a flat white from the barista. They know their stuff.
Address: F. Cabahug St, Cebu City, Cebu | Norkis Cyber Park, A. S. Fortuna Street, Tipolo, Mandaue City
Phone: 0915 393 4450
Birdseed Breakfast Club and Cafe
Initially, we visited Birdseed because of the scrumptious food being posted online, but we soon discovered that they serve a mean cup of coffee as well. Upon seeing cold brew in their menu, I quickly asked the barista how it was made. They explained that they brew the grounds in water for 32 hours, and then filter it out. That’s a legitimate commitment by the café for a genuine good cup of coffee. A cold brew is not simply putting ice over a cup of hot coffee.
I don’t want to gloss over the quality of the food here, but they are one of the few cafes on this list that can stop serving coffee and still easily get by with the epic-ness of their food. They have appropriately taken advantage of my weakness for good sandwiches and their rice meals taste as pretty as they look.
Address: Unit F19, Axis Entertainment Avenue, N. Escario Street, Cebu City, Philippines
Phone: 032 254 9463
It’s not unusual to walk into Café Jasmin to find the barista and fellow costumers talking about the finer points of coffee. Some coffee enthusiasts say that the best coffee in Cebu is found right in this little space. They back it up by taking control of almost every aspect of the coffee making process, from the roasting to the serving (Yup, they have a roaster).
But rarer than good coffee, this café has a real community they proudly call their own.
Normally, I order my flat white and bury myself with work. When I finally decided to look up and take in the surroundings, I couldn’t help but notice how the regulars all knew each other. It reminded me of good bar where “everybody knows your name”. You could find event announcements for poetry readings, English classes being held, a guitar and keyboard in the corner ready for an impromptu performance, and all sorts of art on the walls. I can imagine the regulars heading over to the café without any prior plans, but knowing they are bound to find someone worth hanging out with.
Address: #3 Ezone. F.cabahug .Mabolo( Beside CIE SCHOOL), Cebu City, Philippines
Phone: (032) 422 0822
Last but not least, breakfast and coffee lovers will need to visit Yolk. Despite a sketchy location, they continue to chug along with the strength of their food and damn good coffee.
Contributing to the ever growing coffee community in Cebu, Yolk regularly has coffee based events like latte art contests, cupping sessions, and home brewing sessions. Events like these ensure an ever growing appreciation for a good cup of coffee.
Nothing beats coffee and breakfast. If you opt to have that perfect combination, there is no other place in Cebu that can beat the offerings at Yolk.
Address: 80 Tres Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines
Phone: (032) 231 0411
Added another cafe to this list. After all the comments after the initial posting of this blog post, I decided to give 32 Umber a try. I’m happy to report that it has become one of my go-to spots for coffee in the area. I also wrote more about it here.
Location: The Forum, Archbishop Reyes, Ave.
Contact: (032) 343 2090
Hours: 1pm to 10pm
What are your favorite cafes? Share them in the comments.