Drinking copious amounts of coffee is a quick way to keep ourselves alert especially during bed-weather days. But we all know that too much coffee can do more harm than good. Fret not, fellow coffee lovers. There’s Green Bean Coffee Co. to keep us caffeinated the organic way.
The cupboard under the stairs
Green Bean Coffee Co. was founded by four doctors and started with a small kiosk under the stairs at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. They now have twelve branches that include a two-storey branch with an art gallery in New Manila, Quezon City; a kiosk at the second floor of NAIA Terminal 3; and one at UP-Ayala Land Technohub in Diliman, Quezon City.
Green Bean is the first concept café in the Philippines that serves USDA-certified organic coffee made from 100% Arabica beans and is the exclusive partner of Manhattan-based Irving Farm in the Asian region.
Founded in Manhattan in 1996, Irving Farm’s beans are hand-picked and roasted in their roasting facility in Hudson Valley and served at their four cafés in New York City and at thirty other establishments, a clientele that includes renowned chef Mario Batali.
“We pride ourselves in having a New York café concept that offers the best organic coffee at affordable prices,” says Eric Tan, General Manager of Green Bean Coffee Co. “We want to be known as a neighborhood café, that’s why you’ll find us in smaller spaces.”
Artisanal for less
I visited Green Bean’s branch in Manila, a cozy little place at the ground floor of Hotel H2O. The café is furnished with recycled wood and chalkboards with drawings done by young artists, giving it a rustic yet artsy vibe.
Irving Farm’s coffee has been dubbed as one of ten artisanal treats to try in NYC by USA Today and voted as the least acidic coffee by the New York Press.
Exotic Organic Eco-blend coffee
And true enough, my mug of their Exotic Organic Eco-blend coffee (P75) was a pleasant one even on a virtually empty stomach. Without any cream and sugar, it had an earthy taste and wasn’t bitter at all. After those first few sips, I only had to add less than a teaspoon each of cream and muscovado sugar to make it creamy and sweet. I have always preferred muscovado over refined sugar because it gives coffee an almost chocolate-y taste but I learned that it has another aspect that makes it a healthier alternative. “We use muscovado because we discovered that no matter how hot the coffee is, it can make it taste sweet [with just a little helping]. Refined sugar is not stable so the tendency is to add more when it’s very hot then when it gets cold, it turns out too sweet. With muscovado, [from] very hot to cold, the taste is the same,” explains Tan.
Exotic Organic Eco-blend coffee with cream and muscovado
I paired the Eco-blend with a plain Bagel with Cream cheese (P75), but if you are craving for a bit more flavor, there are garlic and blueberry bagels, or switch to their dried tomato cream cheese.
Bagel with Cream cheese
A must-try is their Ensaimada (P120), soft with lightly toasted cheese all over the top, made using a classic Kapampangan recipe that dates back to the 1930’s. At the first bite, you’ll have the same feeling as that critic from the movie Ratatouille when he took his first forkful of Remy’s dish. This puts the “home” in homemade. I washed it down with a silky Caramel Macchiato (P130 for medium-sized).
Green Bean also serves tea lattes and I got to try their Green Tea latte (P105 for medium-sized) and paired it with a gooey and not-too-sweet Ultimate Valrhona (a French luxury chocolate) Cupcake (P89).
Green Tea latte
Ultimate Valrhona Cupcake
If you’re a lover of civet coffee, you’ll be able to get your fix here just P150 for an 8oz. serving. “We go directly to the farmers for our civet coffee from Mount Apo. We’re selling it very cheap because we don’t have a middleman,” explains Tan. You can also buy civet coffee beans that range from P1,000 (125 grams) up to P5,000 (1,000 grams).
Brewing more soon
Green Bean is set to open 5 more branches by October and will be brewing soon at Silverlens Building in Pasong Tamo, Makati and at Museo Orlina overlooking Taal Lake in Tagaytay, among others. “We’re also building a coffee lab and barista academy in Makati,” says Tan.
In true New Yorker fashion, more people in Manila will be able to enjoy a cup of joe for less in the coming months.