I am not a big coffee drinker, but it is one of my foodie wishes to taste the Civet Coffee, but the price tag that comes with made me feel this would remain but a wish... until I visited Green Bean Organic Coffee Company. For a very affordable price of 130 pesos a cup, I think this is the cheapest Civet Coffee you will find, considering some coffee shops offer this at 300 pesos a cup.
The secret? The company went straight to the coffee farmers and by not going through the middlemen, not only did they get to buy the beans at a lower price, they also got it fresh.
How did it taste compared to the typical brewed coffee? I found this richer and stronger, which has a surprisingly very mellow hint of sweetness, even if you drink the pure black blend. Even without cream or milk and sugar, I was able to enjoy the coffee.
Green Bean Organic Coffee Company started years ago when Dr. Gary Bunagan went to New York to practice medicine. Being a "promdi," he learned his ways around New York and offered to get his boss' coffee. Soon, he also started appreciating the unique blend of the organic coffee and upon seeing a contact information about Irving Farm - the supplier of the coffee, he set up a meeting and thought of bringing this coffee here in the Philippines, knowing that even if there are a lot of coffee shops here, there is nothing (or very few, if there are) that offers organic coffee. He learned the ins and outs of coffee - from growing it, harvesting, to brewing it - even trained to become a barista, and this new found coffee passion, coupled with help from family and friends is where Green Bean Organic Coffee Company was born.
Last Saturday, I was able to tour different Green Bean branches around the Metro with fellow blogger friends...
...starting with their branch at the lobby of Hotel H2O in Manila, where we had breakfast.
Here, we learned the secrets of what makes a good cup of coffee, as well as the different kinds of coffee. They take pride of their organic coffee... and although they acknowledge that there is an existing organic coffee farming in the Philippines, none is is certified organic yet, so in all of their shops, they serve coffee from Irving Farm, which is USDA certified organic.
Next stop was at this branch inside the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) Terminal 3. Co-owned by celebrities Jeffrey Hidalgo and William Thio, this branch has been existing for two years. In this branch, we got to taste their Organic Chai Tea with Dalandan, which was refreshingly good!
Along Pasong Tamo Extension, we got to see the soon to be opened branch inside the Tow & Stow Industries in the YMC Building. This branch is going to open sometime in August or September, and aside from serving drinks, they will also serve sandwiches, using organic meat. Here, we got to taste the Gangnam Cooler, which uses the Honey Citron Tea, made from Yujae Fruit. Another refreshing drink, but I think I prefer this with hot water.
The rain started pouring by the time we had our lunch... which was a little blessing in disguise, because we got to taste a very rich and comforting cup of Hot Chocolate at this cute branch located inside the St. Luke's Medical Center. Just like their coffee, they also got their chocolate tablets straight from the farmers.
Last stop for the day was at this homey branch in New Manila, which is basically a long walking distance from St. Luke's. This isn't just a coffee shop, but an art gallery as well - and all of the art pieces inside this shop is up for sale.
Green Bean Organic Coffee Company serves drinks, but they also serve snacks and pastries. Must try are their Banana Chips - which is one of the best I have tasted because it wasn't so sweet - and their Panini Pressed Ensaymada. The heat created by the panini press caused the sugar and queso de bola toppings to melt, providing a different taste to the ensaymada.
My coffee experience at Green Bean Organic Coffee Company was very pleasant. At breakfast, I was served with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar - just like I love my coffee, but I was told that customers have the option to tell the barista how they want their coffee to be done. One of the things I didn't like about brewed coffee in general is that I tend to add a lot of sugar and not getting the right mix of flavors I wanted, and I was surprised that them serving me a cup of coffee with cream and sugar hit the kind of flavors I want in my coffee - rich, creamy, and slightly sweet. Although customers have the option to have the cream and/or sugar served on the side, they do recommend you let them mix the coffee for you. They also offer muscovado sugar, which I learned that doesn't change flavor even with hot water.
Also, knowing that their coffee is sourced from New York, they don't overstock and that they grind and brew the coffee beans in little batches to ensure that each cup of coffee served has all the elements - smell and flavors.
One of the things I loved about this coffee company aside from their drinks and food is their sense of social responsibility. By promoting organic coffee, they offer people a healthier way of drinking coffee, but they also help the environment and small groups of people. A good example was their coffee cup sleeve - which was made from recycled paper, hand cut and hand stamped with food grade ink. Costing is a little more expensive, but this created a small way of people to earn money - by cutting and stamping the paper.
If you are seeking some comfort from a good cup of coffee, I recommend you try Green Bean Organic Coffee.