18 March 2011

R.O.X. Blend, Alamid Cafe Xpress

I met with one of the owners Bote Central, the company behind the famous Alamid (Civet) Coffee and my new find, 18 Days Coffee, a few days ago. I needed to get more details for my story on the Alamid Mt. Malarayat Trek for a travel magazine. Naturally, we agreed to meet at their first cafe, the ACX (Alamid Cafe Xpress), inside the expansive recreational outdoor shop R.O.X.at the Bonifacio High Street at the Fort. So, I had coffee. Of course! Nope, I didn't have a cup of their civet coffee. That, I had been introduced to shortly after coming back from the (I will share my review of that soon).

This time around, I was treated to their exclusive R.O.X. blend - Arabica beans from Mt. Matutum and Sagada, Mountain Province, and Robusta beans (P80.00 per cup). Even if these particular Arabica beans are supposed to have a bit of an acidic "wine-y" taste and the Robusta more bitter than most, I found the blend very good, needing very little milk or sugar to compliment the full-bodied taste. No sourness or unpleasant bitterness, even as an after-taste. As I've learned from many experts, there's nothing like the aroma and flavor of coffee that's sourced, roasted and ground as recently as possible.

Boni High Street is a place I frequent for work meetings, shopping, book-hunting, or hanging out with family and friends. Even if it's a long commercial strip with a coffee shop every few meters (should anyone be surprised that Starbucks has both ends covered?), and more coffee offered in a number of restaurants, I've already tried just about every single one; several, more than once. ACX as a new option, and in a different set-up (imagine being surrounded by travel gear, outdoor apparel, shoes, and accessories), is definitely a welcome addition for me. Taking a look at the menu, I think I have a few other reasons -- like sandwiches, pastries, and soon, I was informed, coffee events -- apart from my favorite beverage, to go back.

P.S. Sadly, this coffee station no longer stands. Another one gone too soon.

02 March 2011

Brewed Coffee, Sugarhouse

Sugarhouse, an old favorite since college, counted among the four places where my coffee love - ok, and habit - was developed, is still very much around. Although now reduced to a fraction of what it used to enjoy in floor space, you can still count on a Sugarhouse for their French Apple Pie (one of the best I ever had) and other fab desserts to have with their good old dependable coffee.

I know it's still around because I automatically do a quick salute every time I see one, which is mostly at Eastwood, Mega Mall (now just a small, walk-in with a few tables), and the Power Plant mall at Rockwell. I have to confess, though, that it's been some time since I actually entered and enjoyed anything in any of their branches. Sugarhouse is getting lost among the mushrooming and more du jour cafes people just want to try out, get to love, or love to be seen in.

Fortunately, last Sunday at the Power Plant, we just had time to do some "important" post-lunch shopping and a have quick coffee break before heading to our weekly dinner at my parents'. With the mall's usual family crowd, Starbucks, Figaro, and TCBTL were not options, so we kept going till our tired feet and our craving for apple pie (my own craving was for coffee, period) led us to their now smaller and cozier Cafe Sugarhouse in the mall's level P1 food court.

Man, the apple pie was soooo good, i had to watch myself. Oh, and we didn't stop with that, we also got a slice of their New York cheesecake, and loved it, too. And, of course, coffee. Aaahhhh. Just in time and just the right strength for that particular time of the day in a bustling food court. They serve full-bodied, mildly dense Danesi coffee, steaming and freshly-made per cup.  I need to make a mental note to visit more often. Sugarhouse should not fade away. Nothing as comforting as a good-old, good-old coffee place.