When I was getting ready to go into grad school a few years ago, one of the draws that made me decide to live in Maginhawa was its profusion of restaurants and cute little cafes that was on everybody’s cool radar. It just appealed to me to live in a place where dining options weren’t a problem, so that’s how I came to call Maginhawa as my second home away from home (or was it third? I have moved so many times it’s hard to keep track).
One thing I noticed when I lived there was Maginhawa’s lack of third wave coffee shop options. Sure, there were a bunch of small cafes that offered espresso drinks, but nobody really had any specialty coffee options for when I really just wanted to geek out on single origin beans, blends, and meticulous extraction methods. Even hoping for good espresso drinks was asking too much. I have always hoped for a decent cafe so that I can just stay in the mile radius within my community and never have to leave to get coffee elsewhere. It was a long time coming. It started when Catabolic Coffee carried EDSA BDG’s expertly roasted beans and then The Lost Bread followed suit.
I have long moved on from Maginhawa. I went back a few days ago to eat at my favorite Indian joint in Malingap when I saw the sign for SGD Bodega. I was intrigued because it boasted of an on-site roastery and coffee lab. I have never heard of this roastery and coffeehouse before so I made my way to it and saw it for myself.
SGD is in a quiet residential street along Maalalahanin, not far from where I would do Yoga before. I love how the structure obviously used to be a house, so it’s nice and spacious. It has murals outside near the ample parking space. It was pretty busy for a Sunday afternoon. Good for business, bad for those who want a little peace and quiet.
Inside, I was relieved that they didn’t go for the decor du jour of industrial fixtures and minimalist design, but instead, made it look like it’s a multi-purpose shrine dedicated to coffee. I dig the nods to traditional Cordilleran design, from the ling ling-o fertility motif that is peppered all over the place, to the trademark Ifugao symbology and textiles. It is unabashedly local, yet modern. The heavy wooden furniture are inviting and conducive for long hours of reading or working, and the high ceilings give it a great flow of air and a copious stream of sunshine.
I had a flat white, which was pretty underwhelming because the milk didn’t have a chance to stretch well. I was also looking forward to tasting the house specialty coffee but they didn’t have beans available for retail brewing. They don’t even have manual brew options so that one could sample their roasts on-site. However, they hold classes and workshops on coffee appreciation and cupping so I think that’s the reason why they don’t normally have hand-poured coffee on offer.
I hope to come back when they have more third-wave style coffee because it would be nice to sample just how much they know about their coffee, which they claim has won awards abroad.