FNDMNTL: Streamlining Specialty Coffee

Makati is graced with yet another awesome coffee space! Fundamental Coffee will officially open its doors to the highly caffeinated urbanites and foodies on Monday, September 5th. Yesterday, September 2nd, I got a chance to take a sneak peek of what Fundamental has to offer!

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Located in the developing Ayala Park Terraces right across Glorietta 2/Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Fundamental Coffee (which is also stylised as FNDMNTL) offers craft coffee with a more streamlined process. A bit polarising, yes? That’s what I thought at first too! When talking about craft, on the one hand, you would usually expect it to be something personalised. Something subjective that takes longer prep time. No barista pours the same way, right? And with this variation, the taste usually differs each time. On the other hand, scaling the process when it comes to retail coffee production entails a more defined outline of work. This results to a more consistent beverage with less the amount of time in preparation. As far as I know, Fundamental Coffee is first to approach specialty coffee this way.

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With high quality coffee equipment (ahem, La Marzocco :D) all around the bar, the marriage of artful pursuit of third wave shops and the standard of efficiency often seen in second wave spots like Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, etc. and specialty will be celebrated by caffeine junkies and foodies alike when Fundamental opens!

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The place is very reminiscent of Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH) Coffee Bar in Singapore. Upon entering the shop, you will be met by the counter in the middle where you can get a cold brew on dark pharmacy bottles carefully laid in a stack over ice. Packs of freshly-roasted beans are by the glass wall beside the door.

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The bar goes around the back of the main counter. On the right side upon entering, a big board of menu which is very much like the flight board status you see in airports. On the opposite end, there are high chairs facing the Park. At the back of the bar, there are screen-like frames above small wall-installed tables for quick grabbers and lone wolves.

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I enjoyed sitting at the back of the counter, facing the entrance where you can see MARCO in action – an installed coffee maker which does pour-over method sans the gooseneck kettle.

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I got to try three of Fundamental’s coffee – two single origin and an original blend. The first of the single origin coffee I tasted is Colombia – light-bodied and sweet like caramel-filled chocolate. The next (and an instant favorite!) is Konga – tea-like, a bit spicy (?) and has an interesting finish! You gotta try it to get what I mean. 😀 I also got to try their 101 blend which includes Colombia, Brazil and Indonesia. They use it on my flat white which gave it that roasted hazelnut taste profile.

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Ordering coffee in Fundamental is very simplified and straightforward. You like it black or with milk? It’s either one or the other. Should you wish to add some chocolate, burnt honey, etc., you may choose from their add-ons and the barista will happily infuse it to your drink.

All in all, Fundamental Coffee is a force of its own – breaking new grounds and still finding creative and interesting ways on providing specialty coffee! I personally love the scaling concept without sacrificing the product quality. It just goes to show how the coffee industry in the country is growing and still has a lot of potential.

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But the burning question is… Is this new approach the start of 4th wave? Head on to Fundamental Coffee starting Monday, September 5th and let us know what you think! 🙂

Fundamental Coffee

7AM-11PM | open daily

Ayala Park Terraces, Palm Drive

Makati City

 

Frank x Dean

Frank x Dean is one of the cafes I frequent the most. It’s a few blocks away from the office at Bonifacio Global City so it has become a perfect go-to place to relieve stress or just kill time.

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They are relatively young, with operations started barely a year ago. They are the first shop to open in the Forbes Town Center Open Garden. As of this writing, Tipsy Pig has already opened. With its very modern and artsy vibe, Frank x Dean has slid through the BGC market pretty smoothly.

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Frank x Dean teams up with Yardstick Coffee to upscale their coffee menu and is at par with their creative and delectable food selections.

Here are a few of what I’ve tried so far:

Frank’s Espresso Shake

I am down with anything topped with ice cream! Frank’s Espresso Shake is iced beverage concocted with espresso shots, milk and vanilla ice cream! Perfect for a post-lunch drink with friends!

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Basic Brew & Homemade Blueberry Cheesecake

This combination I got after a long day at work. I love the simplicity of the Basic Brew. It’s black and light-bodied. It has a very low level of acidity and just enough bitterness to wake you up. No unpleasant after taste which is really, really good.

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I paired it with the melt-in-your-mouth Homemade Blueberry Cheesecake. I was really surprised at how the big the slice is! Crust was a bit too hard but it’s fine. That blueberry jam oozing from the top is really the star!

Long Black and Doughnut

I’ve been trying to get a bite of their doughnut but I only got a chance a few weeks ago. It was a bit crumbly and has a bit sour aftertaste (though not the bad sour, maybe brought by lime extract?). Paired it with a long black to get that perfect balance of bittersweet.

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Cappuccino

I love the sharp taste of their cappuccino. It cuts right through my palate which makes it easy to down a cup! The foam is just the most perfect I’ve seen so far. I’m not a great of milk foams but I’d be pissed to miss this one.

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Visit Frank x Dean in the morning from 7AM – 10AM. You’ll get a free basic brew for an order of a breakfast. Also, make sure to taste their pizzas for a #HoldAndFold experience!

Frank x Dean gives a different experience for your usual cravings! I love how I can just escape the busy urban life without really leaving the business district. I’d suggest to go in the afternoon and pick an al fresco table.

Frank & Dean Cafe x Kitchen

1/F Forbes Town Center Open Garden

Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

0917-445-7056

The Curator Coffee & Cocktails

The Curator Coffee & Cocktails is the first third wave coffee shop I’ve ever been into. They have actually inspired me to start my specialty coffee journey.

Part of the adventure of coffee crawling is finding where the coffee shop is located. You wouldn’t usually see them in the busiest streets. They wouldn’t welcome you with huge signs or billboards. But they are surely nearby. Probably two or three blocks away from the center.

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With The Curator, they are in the vicinity of Makati’s central business district. But perfectly hidden in plain sight. Located in the corner of Legazpi and Palanca Streets, you need to go inside Cyrano Wine Shop. There’s just one illustration board showing the chalk-written name of this place and its working hours.

The Curator serves specialty coffee from 7AM-7PM everyday (including Saturdays and Sundays) and turns into a craft cocktail bar from 6:30PM-2AM (from Monday-Saturday only).

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I’m pretty sure you won’t notice it if you’re not really seeking for it. That’s the magic of this place! People who come in are usually the targeted market. You have to make an effort in finding the place. But no worries, they’d pay you off with a great experience.

Here are my personal favorites:

Winds of Winter

From what I heard, this is a tribute for the unpublished sixth book of A Song of Ice and Fire (or more popularly known as Game of Thrones!) with the same title. It’s a blend of coffee beans from different origins – Ethiopia, Panama and Guatemala.

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It is a medium-bodied drink with a little hint of citrus at first sip and a chocolate-y finish. It has a crisp flavor and leaves no unpleasant after-taste. Two thumbs up for this drink!

Dark Matter Theory

From the name itself, this one is for those who likes their coffee very black. It has a pleasant bitter taste and very well complemented by its level of acidity.

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This is perfectly paired with a Skinny Monkey (a peanut butter and oatmeal muffin) or a blueberry cookie.

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A very sophisticated drink for sure! This one is a definite must-try when you visit The Curator. Coffee base is Dark Matter Theory mixed with coco syrup and milk and topped with three little kisses. That foam is just perfect!

[Update: Check on the comment section for The Curator’s additional information.]

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I got a chance to learn more about specialty coffee from their awesome baristas! Shout out to Mykah and Wilmer for a very fun and informative discussion.

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I also got to try to do my first latte art which is very bad. 😀

Drop by The Curator Coffee & Cocktails to earn a new level of coffee experience! Do not hesitate on asking the baristas about coffee! They sure have a lot to tell. You’ll enjoy it!

Contact Information:

The Curator Coffee & Cocktails
U/G, Legazpi Parkview Condominium
134 Legazpi Street corner C. Palanca Street
Legazpi Village, Makati City
Philippines
1229

Contact No: 0916 355 4129

Website: www.thecurator.com.ph