Davao does not have a Starbucks, but the plethora of coffee shops that dot the city can adequately fill the veins of any caffeine junkie. Donâ€™t be surprised if you find that there are no lines in the morning, that time when the rest of the world normally drinks their lattes. These places are virtually lifeless in the daylight hours.
Coffee shops in Davao started out as the alternative de rigueur places to see and be seen at night, especially for those want to hang out with friends without reaching for that dirty martini or ice-cold beer. Coffee initially gained popularity as a nocturnal drink in this part of the country.
This changed when Wi-Fi or free wireless internet became widely adapted and popular. Nowadays, coffee shop nighttime habitus have been replaced by laptop and PDA-toting yuppies who want a comfortable place to cocoon and enjoy a cup of java while eating, working, emailing, chatting, surfing the net and hanging out with friends.
Most coffee shops in Davao open in the early afternoon. Check out these places for your caffeine fix. We are particularly proud of our Davao-born and bred brands.
This is the place that made coffee shops a chic place to be; it is the first and considered an institution in Davao. They offer unique local flavors and the durian coffee is a must, especially for first-time Davao visitors and gastronomic adventurers. (Blugre may be found in Matina Town Square; Landco, Bajada and SM City Davao)
Bastiâ€™s mainstreamed free wi-fi and is one of the first to be conveniently located in a mall. They donâ€™t charge for plugging your laptop and have a wide variety of sweet and savory accompaniments to their excellent brewed coffee. Another Davao original. (Basti’s is located inside Victoria Plaza Mall, Bajada)
Bo’s Coffee Club
The furniture in Bo’s Torres is a winner. The ambiance is extremely relaxing and allows for conversations to flow. This is the best place to get the absolute best desserts to go with your favorite latte. Itâ€™s also a great place to hang out with your best buds. Bo’s also has a branch in SM City and accepts credit cards.
The offerings of Kopi Roti are similar to the Kopitiams in Singapore and are not typical Davao fare. For a stimulating change to your taste buds, try their soft Kopi bun, yummy Kaya toast and to-die for soft-boiled eggs swimming in a savory sauce. Surprisingly, the place is extremely affordable. (Kopi Roti is located at Jacinto Extension)
Karloâ€™s is located within the Jack’s Ridge compound in Shrine Hills. It’s cozy and offers the best view of all the coffee shops in Davao bar none. It being away from downtown lets you enjoy a hot brew while you indulge in the feeling of having gotten away from it all. (Jack’s Ridge is in Shrine Hills, Matina)
Davao is not only a Durian Republic, itâ€™s also gone bananas! Kasagingan offers a refreshingly sophisticated twist to the native desserts Davaoneos grew up with. Imagine the ordinary turon (banana spring rolls) served with Belgian chocolate or that paypay (banana fritters) with strawberry syrup. Simply delicious. (Kasagingan is located at F. Torres St.)
Cups and Lowercase
Music and coffee go together, and nowhere is this more apparent than at Cups and Lowercase. Get acquainted with Davaoâ€™s musical talents during their weekend acoustic nights. (Cups and Lowercase is in F. Torres St.)
Get a whole latte love at Tata Benitoâ€™s. Owned by a young and pretty entrepreneur, this is the first that offers free coffee delivery service (call 302-1646). Tata Benito’s offers one of the most extensive coffee and food menus to satisfy every craving and features cakes of the week including ta-dah! krispy kreme! (Tata Benitos is located at the World Palace Complex, Acacia St.)
This is not a definitive list of Davao cafes. There are new, cozy nooks that serve great food and coffee all over the city. We might feature them in another article, so stay tuned. But if you had a first-hand — or was it first-sip? — experience with coffee shops in Davao that are not mentioned in this article, let those cute little fingers do the typing and recommend them for other travelers to try. The comment box is just right there at the bottom of this page.
Now, if you like taking the road less traveled, take a latte adventure and discover your very own little piece of heaven. You can never go wrong with a great cup of coffee.
This article is written by Diana “Din-Din” Velasco. Din-Din also writes for SunStar Davao.