There are a number of hobbies that can really hook you. For me, there’s the diving and then coffee. You all know about the former. So let’s talk about the latter. Pulling shots is addicting. I’m addicted. I blame the trance-like whirling sounds of the machine and the smell that fills the room when 16 bars of pressure is applied to a freshly ground batch of arabica. Then there’s the frothing of milk and the pouring that dapples the white with the browns of the coffee’s heart. And of course, there’s the taste. It’s a bitterness only an adult can enjoy embroidered with the image of a horse kicking your senses silly.
They also sell coffee grinders and other equipment for your coffee perusal.
As such, I have been spending quite a lot of time with coffee artisans whenever I get the chance. These meets consist of extended conversations that happen by accident, over a few cups. Two shots a day is my limit — whether taken pure or with milk. I digress. Back to artisans. One such group I met is a family of coffee roasters that recently put up a cafe inside R.O.X. in Bonifacio High Street. Called Alamid Cafe Xpress, where ‘Xpress’ is an ending given to all branches located within an R.O.X. store (yes it’s a partnership), they specialize in two things: single origin coffee from the Philippines and the famous Alamid which is the rarest coffee in the world. Their NGO harvests the droppings from the wild. By single origin, they mean coffees from a single place of origin, not mixed beans from different regions (i.e. having a 100% robusta blend but they come from different places is not single origin coffee).
These guys are real artisans as you can sit with them for hours and discuss coffee like how you can talk about wine, cheese and politics. Basil, Vie, and Paolo are the stars of the show.
My french press with a 3 minute timer counting down the seconds before I can pour
I have honestly never tasted black coffee this good. Heck, I don’t drink black. Usually my daily dose consists of a latte. In the three times that I have been here, I have finished a solo french press taken black — no sugar or cream. In my second visit I remember staying for more than 3 hours getting lost in a discussion about how civets are allowed to run wild and eat the coffee berry to their heart’s content. Not like this (they’re caged and have no decision over the beans to eat, hence affecting overall quality). In my third visit, Paolo showed me newly arrived stocks of specially-made muscovado. You’ll also be able to customize your blend if you leave your calling card with the desired roast at the back (20% arabica 30% robusta from so and so province…).
Alamid Cafe Xpress is located inside ROX in Bonifacio High Street. It’s on the first floor near the door closer to the elevator. Nothing to lose if you check them out, but I guarantee a great experience. Oh, they’re on soft opening so they may not be fully operational yet. If you do drop by, ask if they have the champorado mixed with a shot of espresso. Yum. 🙂
See that? That’s already-dried civet droppings with the beans still inside.