Riding on this "coffee wave" is 18 Days Coffee Roaster, which — judging from the way it markets itself — is a Filipino brand through and through. They offer hot coffee, iced coffee, coffee alternatives (e.g. hot chocolate and herb tea) and desserts. However, their most notable offering is the Coffee Alamid a.k.a. Philippine Civet Coffee.
What is Coffee Alamid?
As you can guess from the name, civet coffee comes from civets — or rather, their droppings. Every time coffee season rolls around, these animals would sniff out the best coffee beans and eat them. They would then leave their droppings all over the forest floor, to be picked up by gatherers. If the gatherers are lucky, they can pick up as much as one kilogram of droppings a day. Because of its seasonal nature, civet coffee is quite expensive.
Now, you might have heard about how civet coffee is harvested in other countries. You might have heard about the inhumane practice of trapping the animals, and force-feeding cherries to them in order to increase production. According to Bote Central, a supplier of Coffee Alamid, they do not condone such practices. Instead, they pick coffee beans straight from the forest, and leave the animals "free, wild and happy in their own natural habitat without disturbing their ecosystem." They also make sure their pickers "understand that civets play an important role in the ecosystem — as natural seed dispersers in the forests." If that's true, and it's not just some marketing ploy, then it's all right to patronize Coffee Alamid.
Now that we've gotten that info out of the way, let's go to the review proper.
18 Days Coffee Roaster
As of this writing, 18 Days Coffee Roaster has a grand total of two branches. One is in South Supermarket, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City; the other is in Cash and Carry Mall, Filmore St., Barangay Palanan, Makati City. Since this is an "Enjoy Makati" blog, it's not hard to guess which branch this picture came from.
Since it's Christmas, 18 Days Coffee Roaster is obviously taking advantage of the season. As you can see above, they're selling all sorts of coffee-related souvenirs (on top of their usual coffee products, of course.)
Then again, we're not here to review souvenirs. We're here to review good old coffee.
One of their bestsellers is Café Americano, currently priced at Php77. It wasn't strong enough to jolt this writer's senses, but it was bitter enough to require a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar. (You may prefer your coffee bitter, though.) Obviously, the drink was designed to be consumed on-the-spot: If it was meant to be taken out like Starbucks Coffee, it should've come with a cover. But perhaps it's this writer's fault for not specifying "Dine In" or "To Go."
Anyway, the shop did its best to recreate the coffee shop feel within its noisy-food-court environment. To the coffee stand's right is a row of tables-and-chairs complete with umbrellas. The shop also offers colorful magazines for you to read while sipping your beverage. You can order one of their homemade cakes and pastries if you're feeling hungry, or you can buy one of their coffee packs to take the 18 Days Coffee Roaster experience home with you.
Unfortunately, this writer wasn't able to try out the famed Coffee Alamid. Since she wanted to try out the bestsellers first, and did not want to drink too much coffee in one day, she opted for the "safer" (i.e. bestseller) option. She'd also heard that Coffee Alamid doesn't taste all that different from ordinary coffee, though she has yet to confirm that one for herself. Maybe you'd like to try out this exotic beverage, dear reader?
If you're the type who visits coffee shops for the ambience, rather than the coffee, then 18 Days Coffee Roaster isn't for you. You may be put off at the idea of sipping your coffee alongside noisy families feasting on less-than-premium food in Cash and Carry's Food Court.
But if you don't really care about that, and are just out for some good old coffee, then give 18 Days Coffee Roaster a shot. Try out their famed Coffee Alamid, or give one of their bestsellers a chance. It might just change your mind about Filipino coffee in general.