What’s Brewing: The Cravings Group Brings Di Bella Coffee to Manila

The café scene in Manila has thrived tremendously since the beginning of this year. Coffee lovers who can’t survive a day without their caffeine fix are now spoiled for choice as more shops take residence in almost every nook. With the third-wave coffee culture growing even more, it can be quite hard for cafés to build a loyal following, especially since more choices also mean more competition—and more decision-making on the consumer’s part.

The Cravings Group (TCG) is the newest player in the coffee scene, aiming to bring a fresh brand of specialty brews into the country with its exclusive partnership with Di Bella Coffee. The mogul that introduced us to restaurant concepts like Epicurious, Lombardi’s, C2 Classic Cuisine, B&P, The Blackboard by Chef Michel, The Coffee Beanery, and of course Cravings has brought in the Australian coffee line—a product of years of seeking after the perfect beans to match their dessert creations.

Known in Australia as one of the best coffee brands, Di Bella Coffee not only washes their premium beans onto our shores but also aims to anchor its “crop-to-cup” philosophy into the local soil. A philanthropist and an entrepreneur, Phillip Di Bella, the founder of Di Bella Coffee, has his sights on educating Pinoy farmers about ethical and sustainable coffee bean-growing practices, as well as training baristas to provide the best cup experience possible.

Di Bella has so much passion for coffee, earning him the nickname “Coffee King”. I personally saw his fire when I had a chance to meet him at a Coffee Academy session in CCA Manila, where he introduced us to his gourmet coffee products and shared a few stories about how he started his business. It was impressive to hear that Di Bella sources his beans directly from farmers, interacting with them consistently therefore ensuring that only the best beans are harvested and helping the farmer’s livelihood in the process.

I also had the privilege of witnessing the official launch of Di Bella Coffee last week in Epicurious—an event attended by coffee enthusiasts, dessert junkies, chefs, fellow media people, as well as the people behind Di Bella Coffee and The Cravings Group. It was a casual event filled only by excited buzz and chatter amidst gleeful coffee tasting and dessert hoarding pairing.

Baristas from The Coffee Beanery, personally trained by Phillip Di Bella, were there to make coffee for the guests.

A dessert spread was prepared by Chef Christine Paredes along with other CCA Chefs. Tables were filled with pastries, breads, and Epicurious’ signature cakes, meant for everyone to enjoy with their coffee.

My personal favorite was the plain Di Bella espresso, which was really strong and more acidic than bitter. For me this kind of coffee is the perfect one for sweets.

Despite knowing that I might be thrown into three days of wakefulness, I still went ahead and tried other variants. I liked the Cappuccino and the Latte, both milky but still strong. They also have a Flat White for folks who prefer less froth.

Among Epicurious’ desserts, this batch was my favorite. The salted caramel cake has balanced sweetness and is perfect with the coffee. The brookie? Insanely good! Crisp and rich. But the yema coated with hardened caramel was the biggest surprise of all; it turned out to be my favorite for the night!

With the crazy amount of choices, I didn't know what to pick so I just randomly put stuff into my plate. LOL! Aside from desserts, savory items like quiche and pasta-in-a-jar were served.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot where you can hangout and sip your coffee or hankering to brew some on your own at home, Di Bella can satisfy your needs with its coffee beans for sale and its product line available in all TCG-owned restaurants. I recommend Epicurious as a good place to start—since this deli/restaurant/café not only offers coffee but also contains a huge selection of gourmet products like cured meats, cold cuts, cheeses, breads, and cooking ingredients (hi, truffle oil!). Or why not attack one of the Cravings branches around the metro? (I'm posting a separate article on Epicurious soon!)

Congratulations to The Cravings Group for this exciting venture of introducing Filipinos to a fresh, world-class coffee product! I’m excited to see how Di Bella Coffee will elevate the local coffee-drinking experience.

Lower Ground Level, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall
(02)570.7741 or (02)506.6474/Mobile: 0917.590.7420 
Email: epicuriousmanila@gmail.com
Facebook: epicuriousmanila

I was invited by The Cravings Group to this event. All opinions are my own.

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