I began writing this article at around 1 in the morning, after waking up 15 hours before, and I am still wide awake. Read on to understand why.
Toby’s Estate has been making waves in the Philippine third wave coffee scene since it opened in early 2014. The popular Australian brand has always been in the conversation of the best coffee places in the country. Well, except this blog’s Top Ten Coffee Places of 2014. This was simply because I was not able to try a cuppa from Toby’s Estate then. This is probably since I live far way from and do not work in either Makati or Taguig where the first four branches were. I do not want to walk a long way or brave crazy traffic just to get coffee, no matter how good it is, when Satchmi Store is so near at the SM Megamall.
That has officially changed. The Ortigas Center branch is in very close proximity to the Robinson’s Galleria complex and is in the absolute perfect spot for a coffee shop: Within a business district; Easily accesible; But in the quieter side of town. This area of the Pasig CBD is so seldomly used by motorists that you can stand in the middle of the street and take pictures of the shop. Believe me, I got four shots in and no car passed by.
Maybe the obscurity of its location was the reason I didn’t get wind of this branch, which opened on 01/27/2015, until earlier today when I browsed through a popular food blog. My heading over was really due to coincidence in line with a series of necessities: I read the article; I needed a hair cut (badly) which I get from a salon in Galleria; I needed coffee and a quiet place because I had to finish work I was not able to do in the office; I needed new material for this blog. Can I call that serendipity?
As I expected, the place was crawling with Filipinos that forgot to speak in Filipino as well as a plethora of MacBook users. I brought my office laptop with me and I think I was the only one proudly flaunting a Dell.
This is just nitpicking. The overall vibe was awesome!
It had a great staff all the way down to the security guard. The music was great as well, a lot of easy house music/EDM. When the Axwell-Ingrosso tie-up “Something New” pumped through the speakers, I couldn’t help but mouth a few of the words and bob my head to the beat. I almost busted a groove to “Uptown Funk”.
The only food item I ordered: Calamansi Pie
If you’re familiar with a key lime pie, you’ll more or less understand how this would taste like. It has a tartness that does not really cut deep into your taste buds though it may come off strong at first. It’s not too sweet, just enough to counter the sourness of the calamansi. I think that’s a graham crust which was crumbly in a nice way, not too thick and absolutely scrumptious. The whipped cream I scraped-off. A meringue would have been awesome though.
Toby’s Estate actually has a pretty capable kitchen but I was just looking for a quick snack this afternoon as the work I was doing was keeping me on edge.
First Cuppa: Off-the-menu-but-everybody-knows-about-it, The Gibraltar
The Gibraltar. It’s not on the menu but they’ll readily make it for you. If you think this should be called Cortado, congratulations on your deep knowledge of coffee orders. If you’re thinking now that calling the drink Gibraltar supposedly originated from San Francisco, I give you a virtual slow clap.
The Gibraltar is most easily explained as being shorter than a latte but taller than a macchiato. If you also know what a true serving of macchiato is (hint: Starbucks’ is technically not a macchiato), eh di wow. Ikaw na talaga!
Toby’s version pulls two ristretto shots (more concentrated than espresso), which is then added with milk topped with microfoam. All this in a small Gibraltar glass. It’s concentrated strong, bold, and absolutely full of coffee and milk flavors. Super yummy! Y’all should definitely try this!
Second Cuppa: Why-Not-I-Am-In-An-Australian-Coffee-Chain, Flat White
It’s a flat white. A drink you could say is Oz’ version of a latte. Why not order it here?
The flat white is reportedly made by pulling two espresso shots then warm full cream milk with microfoam is added. Some say the fineness of the microfoam is what differentiates the flat white from a latte but I do not really know about that.
Again, that full flavor of the Wooly blend with its hints of cocoa and that full cream milk. You can just go for this when you’re at a loss for something to order.
Two ristretto shots and two espresso shots. And I drank them at around 5 in the afternoon. Kind of ruing that decision right now. At least I finished my work in record time. Now you know that aside from their coffee being good, it is also perfect if you want something to keep you awake.
The Ortigas Center Branch is said to be the largest Toby’s Estate here in the Philippines so far. The ambiance is very cool and relaxing. I was expecting it to be full of people but it wasn’t. There is no WiFi though, or did the barista just did not understand my question?
Based on my experience, there are a lot of networking organizations within this area so don’t be surprised when those types of discussions reverberate here some times. If you’re planning to hold such a discussion here, this place would actually be perfect for you. If you’re like me and just want to chill while doing some work, be it updating your blog or your actual day-job, this place is it.
Will the onset of the Ortigas Center branch make Toby’s Estate my top coffee place for 2015? Tune in to find out!
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