Habitual Coffee in Pasig is a Promising Newcomer in the Third-Wave Coffee IndustryAugust 7, 2019
- Mikka WeeWords
I think it’s great how Metro Manila is embracing third wave coffee with arms wide open and holding onto it tightly. So what if everyone’s doing it now? It really is about time we stopped settling for over-roasted coffees packed in to-go cups with green or purple straws peeking out. This alone has become a solid indicator of how forward thinking our food community has become. With restless purveyors determined to elevate our food scene and shaping it into a place that’s internationally viable, Metro Manila has grown into, and has become, a great place for epicures and gastronomes to thrive.
Habitual Coffee joined the throng of third-wave coffee shops only a few weeks ago. Quaintly tucked inside the funky Edition Lifestyle Shop in Ortigas Home of the Depot, owners Raph Garcia, TJ Rocamora, and Kaye Ong are doing a venture such as this one for the first time, charging their coffee experiences to travels and café hops around the world, but mostly in Asia. “The great thing about the third wave coffee industry is that it’s so collaborative,” they tell me. “You’d think that it’s such a competitive place to be in, given the number of coffee shops rising, but you’ll be surprised about how helpful everyone is.”
There is only one instrument used when making coffee here—the AeroPress, a syringe-like coffee device, which is a common sight in most third wave coffee shops. Making use of a rubber plunger, the method of an AeroPress is similar to that of a French press, but with a shorter brewing time. The air pressure brought in by the rubber plunger also affects the flavor extraction, making it more concentrated and improving the taste. It also reduces the bitter aftertaste in most coffees, making it smoother while retaining its raw flavor. Raph tells me that they’ve been a bit experimental with the use of the Aeropress, using recycled water bottles for their cold brew, among other things.
Coffee sourcing here, as with most third wave coffee shops, changes depending on the stock. But Habitual Coffee aims to focus more on local roasters with seasonal featured roasters from around the Southeast Asian region. During my visit, it was the Tchembe from Korea. Smelling the beans felt like entering a chocolate factory or entering a kitchen with the smell of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies filling the room. Taste-wise, it had a tart yet sweet finish—just like eating a dark-chocolate dipped raspberry.
Third wave coffee shops are at times perceived to carry an air of pretention, given how the people behind the bar can be very stiff about telling you how to drink your cup of coffee. If you want something a bit milky, Habitual Coffee can turn your brew into an au lait. Want sugar with that? Not a problem. Raph and Kaye think that coffee is a very personal beverage, which is why you can customize the brew however you wish.
A unique offering that Habitual Coffee has is their Mint Mojito Cold Brew, which I very much enjoyed. Black cold brew is mixed with a tinge of mint syrup and finished off with a bit of milk. Further plans also involve adding an alcoholic option, which would be very much appreciated by professionals looking for a different kind of beverage after hours.
Pastries are also available at Habitual Coffee. You can choose from Blondie Bars, Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and S’mores to go with your beverage. Despite its birthing pains, Habitual Coffee shows a lot of potential—and promise—despite its youth and the growing crop of third wave coffee shops in Metro Manila.