Along the bustling Shaw Boulevard is an all-day, all-night coffee haven. It stands as a short reprieve from your demanding job or schoolwork, a sanctuary for self-reflection, or a quiet place to hold casual meetings or finish tasks.
Regardless of your intentions, Coffee Project stands as an Instagram-worthy backdrop for your next break from the urban jungle—and of course, a source of good food and drinks.
DIFFERENT KIND OF BLEND
As the café culture sweeps the nation, we see various coffee shops—from international franchises to artisanal holes in the wall—sprouting one after another. Each one looking for a way to avoid getting snores from caffeine fiends.
But homegrown Coffee Project stands out. Owned by business magnate and former senator Manny Villar, Coffee Project is under the Villar Group’s retail arm, All Value Holdings Corp. Coffee Project Shaw, the 11th branch that opened just last month, is the first in the chain to operate 24/7.
Just like other Coffee Project stores, this branch at Worldwide Corporate Center offers a fresh and inviting ambience. It has a warm and cozy feel thanks to the yellow, dimmed lights. The dark half-opened blinds diminish the light glaring through the glass walls during the day.
The environment is definitely not dull, with the wooden ceiling bedecked with lights, the tinted glass walls of the shop painted with typographic art, and light bulbs on a wall lined to spell out “Smile. There’s Coffee.”
On the far left as soon as you enter the room, a bike hangs on the wall above a beckoning sofa topped with leather and donning a Union Jack design. A few other couches are scattered in the dining area, along with wooden tables and chairs.
Most of the furniture and displays in Coffee Project, including the tables, chairs, flowers, vases, and sofas, are available at All-Home stores.
Flower ornaments (they’re not real, but beautiful just the same) and lamps in cages hang from the ceilings, while inspiring and coffee-themed quotes are painted on the walls. Flower-filled vases sit atop tables, decals make sure no empty space is found on walls and the floor, and framed quotes decorate every nook and cranny of the Coffee Project Shaw charms through and through.
It had only been two days since the branch opened when Speed dropped by. Most of Coffee Project Shaw’s customers are the employees and corporate heads whose offices are in and around Worldwide Corporate Center. It is only a matter of time until the coffee, food, and the ambience pull more people from nearby cities as well. The free use of Wi-Fi and power outlets is a big plus.
But let’s talk about the star of the café: the coffee. Coffee Project Shaw uses coffee beans produced locally (in Sagada, Mountain Province and La Union) as well as from other countries like Vietnam and Egypt.
Served hot or iced, depending on your preference, the Ca Phe Sua Da and Vietnamese Latte shine as the bestsellers. Meanwhile, Café Americano, Cappuccino, Cafe Latte, Caramel Latte, Cafe Mocha, White Mocha, Brewed Coffee, and Coffee Indochine are among the top choices. Coffee-based and non-coffee frappes, floats, and smoothies are available as well.
If you are looking to fill your hungry belly, Coffee Project Shaw offers all-day breakfast meals (called Manila Breakfast), sandwiches, pastas, and salads. The Garlic Longganisa breakfast meal, Sardine Pasta, and Salted Caramel Cheesecake are must-tries. If you want something light to go with your drink, various breads and pastries are on display for you to choose from.
This branch is also the first to offer Coffee Project-branded products. In one corner of the cafe, a high shelf carries exclusive merchandise such as mugs, notepads, and canvas bags with designs that reflect the store’s theme.
With a shot of caffeine and a dose of the inspiring, Coffee Project Shaw welcomes anyone who needs to refuel energy, reinvigorate the mind, and recharge creativity. It easily tops the list of your barkada’s hang-out spot, your colleagues’ meeting place, or simply your personal haven.
Words Pat Calica
Photos Melai Balitaan
First published January 2017