Coffee appreciation at Himawari Specialty Coffee in Silang, Cavite

Personally, I can’t get started on my day without my cuppa joe first thing in the morning. I’ve found that, in order to be physically energized and mentally alert, I need to have a cup of hot coffee waiting for me as soon as I get up from bed.

At various points of the day, such as the unholy hour after lunch when I feel a wee bit drowsy or late in the afternoon when my energy levels start to dip, I would find myself reaching for another cup of coffee to get that energy boost.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my dependence on this beverage as Statista revealed in a recent study that total coffee consumption in the Philippines in 2020 reached 3.3 million 60-kilogram bags.

However, this consumption is actually driven by the demand for soluble coffee, also known as instant coffee. While so easily accessible and, for many, very affordable, instant coffee does not fully showcase the possibilities of the beverage, and that experience of enjoying an outstanding cup of coffee will remain beyond reach for a lot of people.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Introducing specialty coffee

Fortunately, there’s a coffee shop in Silang, Cavite that advocates for the highest quality of coffee, prepared according to exacting standards, so that Filipinos can discover the experience of enjoying a really good cup of this amazing beverage.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Himawari Specialty Coffee is a coffee bean roasting shop located along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road. It sells single-origin roasted beans sustainably sourced from various countries. It differentiates itself from other coffee shops by offering specialty coffee – those which come from green coffee beans of exceptional quality which are farmed, roasted and brewed to a significantly higher than average standard.

The shop is helmed by its Master Roaster, Mr. Yutaka Shinozaki, whose pursuit of knowledge and skills in specialty coffee has earned him 100 points in the Coffee Skills Program and a diploma from the Specialty Coffee Association.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

“I want to introduce specialty coffee here in the Philippines,” he said.

To this end, he established the Himawari Coffee Shop in 2019 and regularly holds coffee brewing workshops at the store on Saturday afternoons.

During my recent visit to his shop, Mr. Shinozaki provided a crash course on what goes into specialty coffee which he summarized into three elements: the bean, the roasting process and the brewing method.

The bean.

Specialty coffee begins with single origin beans grown in select altitudes, climates and soil, and nursed for years before harvesting. These beans are free from defects and picked at their peak of ripeness.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

“There are two main types or species of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta,” shared Mr. Shinozaki. “Robusta is mainly for instant coffee. Arabica is for coffee shop practice.”

He further explained that there may be differences in levels of quality among Arabica beans. “The lowest grade of Arabica are normally used by some commercial coffee shops. They say that they are using Arabica, yes, that is correct. But it is the lowest grade, meaning low-quality and cheap. So they are using cheap beans but selling at high price.”

Specialty coffee, on the other hand, is made from the highest quality of Arabica beans, as certified by the Specialty Coffee Association.

The roasting process.

Mr. Shirataki personally roasts the green coffee beans for up to twelve minutes in a 180-deg C roaster, taking careful note of the measurements and resulting flavor profiles.

The beans are lightly roasted, going from a light green color to beige to medium brown, throughout the process. A light roast ensures that the distinct tastes of the coffee depending on the region where it was sourced are discernible.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Common lore is that coffee is best when its freshly roasted, but Mr. Shirataki shares that immediately after roasting, the beans are still emitting some gases so it is best to wait for up to three days before brewing.

To maintain the freshness of the roasted beans, they are stored in air-tight containers at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

The brewing method.

The final element to creating the delicious cup according to Mr. Shirataki is the brewing method.

“To make a good cup of coffee, of course, you need good beans. But you also need to know how to make good coffee. Even with the same bean, if you don’t know, your cup is different from our cup.”

Brewing specialty coffee to bring out all its natural goodness requires a very specific method and measurements. The process begins with grinding the fresh-roasted beans only when you’re ready to brew and pre-heating the equipment that you will use.

The ground coffee is placed onto the filter, then 20ml of freshly boiled water is poured over the grounds to let them expand or “bloom.” After thirty seconds, 140ml of water is slowly poured over the bloomed coffee for a minute, making sure that the white foam – which has a bitter taste – that appeared on top of the grounds does not touch the filter so as not to transfer the bitter taste to the coffee.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Whew! All that effort just to get a cup coffee. However, for true coffee lovers, that perfect cup of coffee is well worth all that effort.

Visitors of Himawari Specialty Coffee can enjoy hand-drip hot coffee by the cup for:

  • Specialty Coffee (Yirgacheff from Ethiopia, El Jagar from Costa Rica, Fazenda and Ipanema from Brazil, Mandheling from Indonesia): Php250/cup (roasted beans also available in 100g pouch for Php1,000)
  • Local Beans (Mt. Apo and Bukidnon): Php150/cup (roasted beans also available in 150g pouch for Php400)
  • Mimawari Premium Blend: Php200 (roasted beans also available in 100g packs for Php200)
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Those who want to munch on something as they sip their coffee can also enjoy Japanese cream-filled pastries such as the Chocolate Eclair (Php120)and the Cream Puff (Php120) or the Japanese-style Cheescake (Php200) which has a smooth and silky cheesecake layer.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Whether you’re a true-blue coffee fan or a casual coffee drinker, Himawari Specialty Coffee is definitely worth a visit. Here, you can enjoy your favorite beverage or expand your coffee horizons. Doing so will also support the continued growth and richness of our own coffee culture.

Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee
Himawari Specialty Coffee

Himawari Specialty Coffee is located at CVI Building along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road, Sitio Muson, Silang, Cavite. To order its specialty coffee beans, visit its online store.

To stay updated on its offers, follow Himawari Specialty Coffee on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: I attended a workshop and coffee tasting held here. Food and beverage items mentioned here were served in exchange for this feature at no cost to me.

A French cafe experience at PAUL le cafe

France has a delicious history with coffee dating back to 17th century when cafes started opening up, offering not just coffee but also a feeling of community. Cafes encouraged the practice of slowing down, lingering and connecting with one’s neighbors and peers; they became focal points for conversation, artistic expression, and, at some point, even revolutionary sentiments.

With the opening of its first Philippine store in Greenbelt 5 in Makati, PAUL le cafe brings the French cafe experience center stage, much to the delight of coffee lovers in the metro.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

PAUL le cafe also incorporates classic coffee colors as well as black, the emblematic hue of the original family-owned PAUL bakeries in France, and terra-cotta red, the color of coffee cherries.

Its clean and modern look was developed with the help of interior and set designer Emilie Bonaventure. Its spectacular lighting, gleaming coffee machine and welcoming colors are accented by artfully placed photographs, all set against the PAUL trademark black and white flooring.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

In this stylish setting, coffee lovers can enjoy their favorite beverage expertly crafted by PAUL’s baristas, using 100% Arabica coffee sourced from sustainable Rain Forest Alliance producers.

The store also offers and expanded menu of hot coffee drinks that include classics such as espresso, latte and Americano, to gourmet recipes such as flat white, cappuccino, cafe Viennois and mochas, even vegan options made with almond or oat milk.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

To cool down on a hot day (which we have a lot of in this country), customers can also opt for iced versions of their coffee favorites.

The store also offers non-coffee beverages such as hot and iced teas, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

Customers can also get a taste of the PAUL macaron frappe – a concoction made of milk, cream and a French macaron – blended together with ice, resulting to a sweet and brightly colored drink.

These drinks are best enjoyed with something delicious to nibble on. Luckily, savory lunch items such as freshly prepared sandwiches and salads, quiches and pizzas are on offer.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

However, the highlight for a sweet tooth like me has got to be the pattiserie – a collection of French pastries and cakes that appeal to the eyes and tastebuds of every dessert lover.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

Among the macarons, fruit tartlets, Napoleons, and more on display, all manner of sweet cravings can be sated.

At PAUL le cafe, coffee lovers can bask in the elegantly relaxed atmosphere of a French cafe while enjoying premium drinks and high quality pastries.

It is a place to relax, unwind and take a precious moment, whether to catch up with friends or enjoy one’s solitude in comfort.

PAUL le cafe
PAUL le cafe

Drop by PAUL le cafe at Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City and say “Bonjour” to a posh yet relaxing coffee shop a la francaise experience.

For more details on its offers, follow PAUL Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: I attended the Grand Opening of this restaurant where food and drink were served for honest feedback.