Ella and the Blackbird (Katipunan): The Backstreet Gem

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Take a Sip

(UPDATE: Craft Katipunan has renamed to Ella and the Blackbird. It’s still under the same management and the only major change has been more items on the menu). There’s something to be said about a coffee shop being what would be considered a “franchise”, yet seemingly surpassing not only its contemporaries, but its home base as well. Such is the story of Craft Coffee Revolution in Katipunan, a Third Wave coffee shop located along Esteban Abada. Opened in 2013, I curse the fates for this place not being around yet when I was still studying nearby, but I’d like to think I go here enough to make up for lost time.

The first thing you’ll immediately notice upon entering Craft is the atmosphere. The walls are lined with various drawings, sketches, and paintings given by Craft’s customers. The filament lights play nicely with the wooden décor of the area, and you can’t help but just feel the coziness of the atmosphere, it’ll make you want to stay for hours on end (which a lot of the clientele end up doing).

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Pasta Love

The other thing you may notice is the menu. Craft Katipunan is unique among the other locations for offering a full-on menu for all day meals such as breakfasts, salads, pastas, and even burgers. And contrary to the perception that third wave coffee shops are only made for the usual coffee and pastries, the offerings on the menu are quite delectable. Feeling a bit down? Try their Juicy Lucy, a burger with a juicy beef patty infused with cheese. Want something filling? How about their selection of pastas ranging from their Aglio Olio de Gambas (my personal favorite), to their Truffle Mushroom Pasta (which has won the hearts of many of my friends).

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Clear as Day

But of course, any visit wouldn’t be complete without having to try out the coffee. Craft offers a multitude of brewing options for their coffee, ranging from pour overs (Hario V60, Kalita 102, Kalita Wave, Clever, Chemex), an Aeropress, and a Syphon brewer. They also offer a mean espresso, and milk-based beverages such as Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Flat Whites (HINT: Ask for Latte Art). Each cup of coffee can be brewed to your preference, and whether you’re looking for a nice clean cup, or something with a whole lot of body, their highly trained baristas will be sure to make the perfect cup for you.

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Tools of the Trade

Which brings us to an extremely important element of the Craft Coffee experience, which is their baristas. A good coffee shop is nothing without the talent behind the bar, and the baristas of Craft are not only some of the friendliest you’ll find around, but also some of the best people to learn about third wave coffee from. I got my first few lessons in understanding specialty coffee from the fine people behind the bar (i.e. owner Mark Jao and baristas Francis, Jenalyn, and Mark), and I haven’t looked back since. From brewing calibrations to flavor profiles, these bits and pieces of knowledge, coupled with the craftsmanship (no pun intended) of the baristas, you’re sure to always get a fine cup of excellent coffee.

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Spot the Artisans

Without a doubt, there is no place in the Katipunan area that delivers the kind of experience that Craft does, and it’s definitely a must-visit for anyone attempting to do a Manila Coffee Crawl.

Craft Coffee Revolution

88 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights

Quezon City

(02) 294-1633

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