The Giving Cafe has a focus on storytelling. The interior features hints of the family’s business origins, like the abaca ropes on the ceiling. They started out as one of the few abaca rope manufacturers in the Philippines before growing to become one of the biggest coffee companies in the country. Another way they are starting true to their roots is the food menu, which mirrors a classic Chinese tea house, serving up dishes like fried rice and lemon chicken.
If you want a bang for your buck, TGC’s tasting flight is quite a bargain. It’s basically three pour overs for the price of two. The cafe is also a smart way to learn about different coffees. Baristas here are well trained, with roaster Adrian Vocalan being a National Latte Art Champion, and owner Michael Harris Conlin recently awarded as the 2019 Philippine Barista Champion.
This is probably the only place you can get food like Taiwanese fried chicken along with a shot of espresso in Manila. The Giving Cafe’s meals are mostly comprised of comfort food. Eating here is something we always look forward to, mainly because of how the food pairs with the complex flavors of their coffee. We always try a different meal every time we visit and it never disappoints. On the right is their lu rou fan with Taiwanese fried chicken—it’s a crowd favorite and at 300 pesos you definitely get your money’s worth. (Just look at the serving size, the meat doesn’t even fit in the bowl!). Next is the salt and pepper spareribs, a rice-bowl that balances nicely with the sweet and fruity note of their espresso and the salty flavor of the ribs. It’s a surprisingly good combination. Since their espresso offerings vary in taste, it’s always a good idea to ask the well-informed staff about what food best pairs with which coffee.