T’was a busy Saturday with a predominant wedding theme: I was set to attend an old friend’s wedding in Binangonan, Rizal; My fiancée was to meet with her dear friend for help in planning our own wedding, a meeting in Makati which I was also going to be part of.
I needed coffee, copious amounts of coffee.
Have you ever tried getting the standard coffee from wedding caterers? No? You haven’t missed anything. Even in swanky hotel receptions, the coffee is just black and bitter. The brand of the sweeteners and creamer just change the fancier the set-up gets. If you saw my story for this day, you would know from the way the table napkin was “folded” and stuffed inside the goblet that I was not in an overtly fancy wedding reception (sorry dude).
Thus I found myself in a tricycle that was traversing the Manila East Road so I can get to the Angono Public Market. From there, a short walk down the road from a fairly-sized Jollibee and I was finally in a shop I have been looking to visit for some time: Uggy Café.
It’s a cozy affair, two rows of tables and seats line parallel to each other on each side of the café, then the bar cuts the room in two. Lining the walls are a an odd assortment of things: Photographs, the coffee taster’s flavor wheel, framed used coffee bags, vintage cameras, a Mickey Mouse doll, and even (arguably the most fascinating) a golden snitch. It gives color and character to the otherwise bare white walls, giving patrons an idea of the personality of the coffee shop (and most probably the owner/s).
Again, it was a tiring but fulfilling day, and at this point I was only half-way done. I had to get coffee, copious amounts of it. Also, unlike shops I frequent in the Metro, I would not be able to know when I can visit Uggy Café again. All these are my excuses for ordering three coffee drinks.
Started off with a cafecito, a cortado-like drink but sweetened (and I cannot vouch for the accurateness of this) with muscovado; Then I transitioned to a pour-over, a light and fruity affair; Finally – and only because I was extremely curious – an espresso martini. It was like a three course meal: An appetizer to whet your appetite (and get an idea of how they treat coffee), a main course that seems simple but requires technique and skill, and a dessert where anything goes.
How I knew about Uggy Café was by following one of their baristas. I was impressed by her latte art skills and decided to check up about this specialty coffee shop in Angono. She was also the barista on this particular visit and boy did she deliver. It was great to experience all these so close to the Rizal side of the Laguna de Bay.
And this segues to another point: Third wave coffee is about the coffee itself, regardless of where you drink said coffee. It would’ve been an absolute high risk to open a coffee shop this far from Metro Manila (when talking about Rizal, you have to factor in the highly congested traffic you have to go through to get here) not so long ago. Also, light, citrusy coffee was perceived as weak and inferior. Bitterness was associated with caffeine strength. Sweetness and artificial flavors were how people judges the taste of a coffee drink.
Although I myself live in the great east (represent), my entire life is anchored in Metro Manila. But here I was, a city rat going to great lengths to visit Uggy Café, because I was curious about the coffee. This was also why I wanted to go to ELYU, even though I do not have the body for a Surf Town. I wanted to visit El Union (a latte from which is the first post on @shareyourkape) after reading about it on Pepper.
I was given two small packets of coffee samplers before I left. Either it’s standard procedure of the café or the barista thought I haven’t had enough coffee yet (probably the latter) and through these I had an extended encounter with the café.
Two days after my visit, I posted on Instagram stories that I had brewed one of the two samplers. The café’s Instagram account sent me a DM asking me about the coffee. It was an informative and engaging short chat, one which made me realize further how little I still know about specialty coffee. It also reminded me that I have an opportunity to learn and places like Uggy Café (even through an Instagram DM) are more than willing to educate us about it.
227 Don Justo St., Angono, Rizal
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Categories: houses of Kape