You can find all sorts of cafés around the Metro, ranging from bigger international franchises to smaller mom-and-pop shops, minimalist coffee spots to Instagram-ready hangouts. Among these are also the gems that are semi-hidden in neighborhoods or even residential areas. Though they might take a bit more effort to find compared to bigger chains in a mall, they're well worth seeking out as you get support independent players who truly care about their coffee—and more often than not, they also sell their brews at affordable prices. We recently spotted a coffee shop that does just that, and it happens to be totally Instagrammable too: Check out Crema MNL, an under-the-radar café in a residential area in Mandaluyong!
Located on Agudo street, Crema MNL greets you with its minimalist exteriors—their clean white walls and light wooden bench will definitely have you snapping photos. Owner Metha Dawn Orolfo-Olivar describes Crema as a "home café," and made it a goal to convey a homey vibe to (and prioritize the safety of) its customers. "We got inspired by small cafes in Japan that speak of itself, showing character and warmth," Orolfo-Olivar shares in an exchange with SPOT.ph.
Together with her husband, Orolfo-Olivar started Crema as an online bottled-coffee shop and—after a month of experimenting with "about 20 types of coffee beans from different shops"—found success, selling 200 bottles in their first month. As they gained regular customers and patrons in 2021, they began exploring the possibility of opening a physical, "pandemic-proof" café. "It was really our dream to have a coffee shop albeit [a] small [one]," says Orolfo-Olivar. "[Whenever] we travel we always [make] time for coffee crawls and [to] just enjoy the vibe and scenery of [cafés]." They established the café by converting one of their garages into a small shop, right below their house. "We could say this makes us unique as we warmly welcome the community in our own home."
For their coffee, Crema MNL aims to support local coffee-bean farmers. "Since we started we have tried Northern Folks beans and Sergio Loon Farms," Orolfo-Olivar shares. Crema's menu includes hot and cold cups—purists can try black brews like the Northern Fold Brewed Coffee (P60) and Single Origin Cold Brew (P90), while those looking for a milkier sip can also try the Cafe Latte (P100), Spanish Latte (P115), or Caramel Macchiato (P115). You can also get their bottled coffees on the go, like the Single Origin Cold Brew (P100/300 ml, P300/one liter), French Latte (P129/300 ML, P380/one liter), and Cafe Mocha (P130/300 ml, P390/one liter). Alternatively, check out their non-coffee options, which include the Honey Lemon Tea (P90/cup, P100/300-ml bottle, P300/one-liter bottle) and Double Chocolate (P130/cup, P130/300-ml bottle, P390/one-liter bottle).
What's great about Crema MNL is that you can come as you are—it's as laid-back as you can get and there's no pretense. Whether you're just driving by or staying to enjoy your coffee on one of their benches, it truly does feel just like you're at home.
Crema MNL is at 719 Agudo Street, Mandaluyong City. For more information, check out Crema MNL's Facebook page.
* This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.