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Now There’s Yet Another Reason To Visit Starbucks Reserve—The Coffee And Ice Cream Pairings

Starbucks stores are ubiquitous around the country, with a branch or two in every mall, and one in almost every major intersection or street, especially in the busier parts of Metro Manila. There’s even a very busy branch in our office building, with a day rarely going by without a trip to the ground floor for my usual tall Americano or cappuccino.

Starbucks Reserve stores, however, are a bit harder to find. With a little over a dozen Starbucks Reserve branches (and counting) spread around Metro Manila, they have become much sought after by coffee enthusiasts looking for a more discriminating coffee experience, where they can sample small batch, single-origin coffees from around the world.


The coffee bar at Starbucks Reserve Three E-com Center


I always enjoy visiting a Starbucks Reserve when I have more time on my hands, usually when in between appointments, when meeting a friend, or simply in search of a quiet spot to work on my laptop. I like asking the friendly barista for their coffee bean recommendation, then choose the brewing method. On a whim, I may choose a pour-over, and on another day, I may opt for the Chemex method, and perhaps on my next visit, I’ll go with the siphon. Served in sleek wooden mini trays, with a glass of water and a mini cookie, the handcrafted coffee is a simple yet satisfying way to enjoy a moment’s respite, one sip at a time.


Exclusively at Starbucks Reserve, Hazelnut Bianco or espresso with hazelnut flavor


Recently, Starbucks introduced a sweeter kind of coffee experience—its coffee-ice cream pairings that are all sorts of irresistible—but only available in select Starbucks Reserve stores. These beverages are based on the Italian affogato, where espresso melds with vanilla ice cream for an indulgent experience somewhere in between coffee and dessert.


Serving one of the coffee-ice cream pairings


It was a hot sunny day, perfect indeed for an affogato, when I visited the Starbucks Reserve in Three E-com Center just a few blocks from Mall of Asia, and close enough to Manila Bay to catch a bit of that sea breeze. It’s actually one of the lovelier Starbucks Reserve branches in town, with floor-to-ceiling windows to let the sunlight in, high ceilings, and enough space to lounge around in, especially if you snag one of the plush leather chairs.


Starbucks Reserve at Three E-com Center


I was happy to learn that this branch is one of only three that offers the coffee-ice cream pairings. I approached the coffee bar and ordered a Classic Affogato. The barista prepared two shots of espresso, then poured the hot brew into a glass with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. (I was told that the ice cream was specially developed for just the right balance of creamy sweetness when combined with the unsweetened espresso.)


Pouring espresso over vanilla ice cream


The affogato is a simple, yet genius concept really—the contrast of hot and cold, sweet and acidic, creamy and strong—making for an immensely pleasurable experience, especially for coffee/dessert lovers like myself who always look for that extra caffeine hit.


Classic Affogato (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


While the Classic Affogato is the most basic of the coffee-ice cream pairings, Starbucks Reserve offers other variants, too. The House Affogato is a variation on the Classic, but this time with a drizzle of demerara syrup and a touch of cinnamon powder, for added sweetness and spice.


House Affogato (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


Those who prefer iced coffee floats can choose between the Cold Brew Float, smooth cold brew coffee topped with ice cream, and the Nitro Cold Brew Float, made with nitrogen-infused cold brew for added creaminess.


Cold Brew Float (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


Nitro Cold Brew Float (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


Those hankering for the malted drinks of their childhood can order the Cold Brew Malt, a combo of cold brew coffee, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate bitters mixed in a spindle blender, just like classic milkshakes.


Cold Brew Malt (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


I tend to “reserve” my visits to Starbucks Reserve for those days when I have a little more time on my hands. I can cradle my specially-crafted coffee of choice while typing away on my laptop or simply waiting for the time to pass. But now, for those same days when I’m looking for a bit more comfort, a way to spoil myself (especially if I don’t have any dessert for lunch), then that Classic or House Affogato becomes all the more tempting.

While waiting for these drinks to become available at more Starbucks Reserve stores around the city, I’ll have to settle for seeking out these beverages at the following Starbucks Reserve stores: Three E-com Center, Bayshore Avenue, Pasay City; Westgate Alabang, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa; and the new SM North Towers, G/L, Tower 1, SM North Edsa, North Avenue, Quezon City.


Starbucks Reserve at Westgate Alabang (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)


Starbucks Reserve at SM North Towers (photo courtesy of Starbucks PH)




Additional photos by Monique Suzara