Washed with muted navy walls and adorned with thriving plants, Bowerbird Coffee is a quaint gem in Cagayan de Oro that reminds us of walks along the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Starting out as a pop-up coffee catering service, the café now stands in 62 Justo Ramonal Street, where guests can enjoy a cup of good coffee al fresco.
“Our inspiration was drawn from hole-in-the-wall coffee shops of other Asian countries,” Bowerbird Coffee Co-Owner Che Roa tells TripZilla Philippines. “We wanted a lot of natural light and greens for that relaxing yet organic feel. We upcycled a lot of old stuff from our homes instead of buying new things. The vibe we wanted to give is one that is inviting and not intimidating — a small coffee oasis in the middle of this bustling city.”
Where ideas hatched
Unlike other shops that flew straight into the vast sky, Bowerbird Coffee started as a hatchling — a humble pop-up café at Centrio Ayala Mall in March 2017.
“Our goal then was to introduce the coffee catering concept for weddings,” Che reveals. “At first people were hesitant, because popular options then were wine or cocktail bars, and even dessert tables, but not a coffee cart. We didn’t give up on the idea because we saw potential in our business. We’ve been catering weddings and other events for almost four years now.”
With many coffee lovers coming back for more, Bowerbird Coffee finally took a stride forward on 20 Oct 2020, when it finally extended its nest for customers.
On best-sellers for every customer
Bowerbird Coffee goes by their slogan, Creativity and Passion in a Cup. “It is all in the art and science of bringing out the best of the bean in every cup we serve,” Che explains. Their menu is clearly well-thought-out, with each item telling a story of its own.
Take the Spanish latte, for example. Che reveals that they first discovered this when her partner, JR Caballero, worked as a barista in Kuwait. “We tested the recipe but found it rather too sweet. So, we adjusted the ratio to balance the coffee, milk, and sweetness. Eventually, it became one of our popular drinks throughout the years, especially for those who want their coffee nice and sweet.”
From there, Che and JR came up with the White Brew — “a hit for those who like it sweet but are keeping an eye on their sugar intake!” Leveraging on the raw flavours of the beans, White Brew has no sugar or artificial sweeteners, yet tastes “naturally sweet and velvety with a white chocolate note.”
Finally, Che talks about the Cortado: “a 4oz drink consisting of just double restrito and a small amount of milk, for those who actually want to ‘taste the coffee’ in their coffee.”
“There is nothing fancy about our drink selection,” Che admits. “We are often criticised for the lack of fluff and whipped cream. But, that’s the very essence of the coffee culture that we want to share in our little corner of the city.”
Beyond beans and beverages
Inspired to share the love for coffee, Che and JR made sure to let customers enjoy a cup of joe in the comforts of their shop. From the get-go, the owners envisioned Bowerbird Coffee to be laid-back and homey (and now, it literally is, as it sits right below a residence!).
Unlike many cafés in the metropolis that draws in busy bees, Bowerbird creates an environment for those ready to unwind or have good conversations. “We’ve had feedback from customers saying they feel like they are away from the city. Ironically, our shop is located in the middle of the city!”
And while their ambience certainly impresses enough, Bowerbird Coffee also takes pride in their service. “We’re a small shop and we are so passionate about sharing our coffee philosophy to others. We make it a point to engage with our customers — be it small talk on the day’s weather to a discussion behind the process of making that cup of coffee in their hands. At Bowerbird Coffee, you can feel and see the culture we’re building. We connect people because of coffee.”
Bowerbird Coffee is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm and on Sundays from 1pm to 8pm. Since their space offers limited parking spots, they offer drive-through or pick-up services — just order at 09179405478. For more information, you may check them out on Facebook or Instagram.
All images credited to Bowerbird Coffee Ph | Official Facebook Page