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A Coffee Geek's Guide To The 9 Best Cafés In Cebu

From unique, hidden gems to unexplored holes-in-the-wall, this is the absolute, must-have brewdol coffee list!

Like a lot of coffee-obsessed people, I found myself going down the deep rabbit hole that is coffee during the pandemic. Unable to make my usual pilgrimage to a café to get that much-needed caffeine jolt, I was forced to brew at home . In so doing, I learned to appreciate the world beyond 3-in-1 coffees and chain coffee shops. These days, while I still drink 3-in-1's and the occasional sugary dessert drink, I’ve gone down the deep end and like a true coffee aficionado,  will usually take my coffee black, depending on the beans to provide the flavor and the funk.


It was at this time when I was inspecting Manila's cafés for more than the usual milk drinks that Gio Visitacion of The Good Cup Coffee Co. boasted, “If you think Manila’s coffee scene is something, you should come to Cebu.”





“Yeah, riiiigggghhhht!” I thought to myself, but when I found myself in the Queen City of the South, I gladly took the opportunity to see and sip what he was talking about.


Cebu’s coffee scene rivals that of Manila. While there have been many entrepreneurial cafés that have sprouted around Manila, a notable difference is that prominent Cebuano coffee shops have been built from the ground up in Cebu by self-confessed “Maximalists. 


That is, coffee fanatics/geeks/nerds/devotees that place coffee above profit. While lattes, cappuccinos, shakes, and other sugary milk-based cups are still on their drink menu, there is always that section of the menu that dares to put coffee from top growers and roasters around the world for what seems like exorbitant prices. Much care and attention is taken by the resident baristas to make sure discerning coffee lovers (who would gladly pay P300++ for a cup of black coffee) get their money’s worth.


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Most of the owners of these shops know their coffee and their way around their equipment. They sometimes man the bar and they CAN make a mean cup of coffee or pull a great shot of espresso on their own.


This list is far from a complete list of Cebu specialty coffee shops. Though I’d like to think that this is a nice cross-section of what’s brewing around Cebu and the surrounding areas. There’s something unique about these shops whether it’s the coffee they serve, the whole experience they provide, or the shop itself, that each brings something special to the coffee bar.


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Lead photos: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


Ed's note: Cebu has a vibrant coffee community, but for purposes of this article, we decided to put the spotlight on standalone cafés that can only be found in Cebu, with no branches in other parts of the country.