If you've ever been to the Land Down Under, you'll know that they take their cups of joe seriously. Australians are known to have a passion for truly good coffee, and you'll find plenty of cool cafés around the country—particularly in Melbourne—that happen to be totally IG-worthy, too. One café in Makati takes inspiration from Aussie coffee culture and aims to bring a similar experience to our shores. Say hello to The Black Bean, a must-visit spot where you can get great coffee as well as savory and sweet eats!
The Black Bean is owned by Christian Paul Casino and Omu Toledo-Camus, two good friends who share a love for Australia—in particular, its coffee culture. Casino, who was doing research in the said country, had long wanted to open his own coffee shop, so he approached Toledo-Camus—who was going back and forth to Australia for work—about his idea. Toledo-Camus agreed, and thus, The Black Bean was born. "When we said yes to being partners, it happened fast," Toledo-Camus shares in an exchange with SPOT.ph. "We were meeting with the architects... there was already a venue, everything was pretty much ironed out, so it rolled out pretty fast."
We took the new Kia Stonic for a spin and drove over to San Antonio, Makati, where The Black Bean is located. Not only is it quite the looker; the vehicle is spacious inside and easy to maneuver—perfect as a first car for beginners. The Kia Stonic's compact size is perfect for city driving, especially in the Metro where one is bound to pass through narrow roads every now and then. If you get stuck in traffic, there's the 8-Inch touchscreen audio system to keep you company, which lets you blast your favorite tunes to keep you energized during your ride. Connecting or syncing your phone with the said system (via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) is also really easy—just plug it in and you're all set!
Stepping inside the café, you'd get a cool and collected vibe at once. There's shades of off-white and brown plus touches of greenery in the rustic-industrial space. It's relaxed enough that you can come here on a lazy afternoon to find your inner Zen, but also conducive as a working spot in case you've got presentations to cram.
For their coffee, The Black Bean worked with Henry & Sons to come up with a distinct blend of coffee beans from Brazil, Columbia, and Papua New Guinea for the nutty, chocolatey flavor blend they were going for. The Black Bean also prides themselves on making the other components (such as the syrups for flavoring their drinks) from scratch.
You can get classic faves like the Black (P120/hot, P130/cold), White (P150/hot, P160/cold), and Mocha (P170/hot, P180/cold), as well as brews like the Aeropress (P140) and V60 Pour Over (P160) from their Slow Bar. But it's notably worth trying their signature espresso-based dessert drinks. The Meringue Cappuccino (P190) is a one-of-a-kind take on the classic foamed beverage, as its topped with an Italian meringue that adds a slight sweetness as it melts into the coffee. There's the Salted Caramel Creme Brulee (P190), which has a great balance of caramel, coffee, and Mediterranean sea salt. If you want a cold drink, try the Lazy Barista Iced Latte (P190)—espresso with milk, coffee jelly, and muscovado syrup, which adds a distinctly earthy, toffee-like flavor to the mix.
As for the food, Toledo-Camus explains that everything on the menu is based on Casino's favorites. "He’s very picky with food, and everytime he eats out he always tells me that he’s never satisfied—so he would tell me if ever we’re gonna be including stuff on the menu, it has to be perfect [and] it has to be good. So in terms of portion, value, and taste, they all have to come together and work well." Most components of the dishes they offer are made from scratch as well.
To start off your meal, try the Caprese (P320)—a house-made flatbread with with balsamic reduction, mozzarella, tomatoes, and arugula. If it's breakfast flavors you seek, go for the Breakfast Bacon Slab (P280) with sweet-smoky honey-sriracha glazed smoked bacon, a perfectly cooked egg, and garlic rice. Craving filling comfort eats? You'll want to dig into the TBB Roast Beef (P380), which has melt-in-your-mouth, 12-hour slow roast beef belly and its jus served over mashed potatoes or a baguette.
For dessert, we're huge fans of the Damn Fine Carrot Cake (P220), which lives up to its name with its moist and fluffy crumb. And for your post-dessert dessert—no judgment—be sure to grab one of their Chocolate Chip Cookies (P100).
With well-thought out eats and drinks in a soothing space, it's no wonder The Black Bean has become a hit among locals. Much as we miss flying out to Australia, it's great to know there are local spots like these where we can seek solace. And it sure doesn’t hurt that it’s just a drive away.
The Black Bean
2/F Eton West End Square, Chino Roces Avenue corner Malugay Street, San Antonio, Makati City
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Photos by Symon Siman
*This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.