food + drinks by Tricia Quintero

On Coffee and Storytelling: The Narrative Coffee Company

Narrative Coffee Company breaks down the wall between the barista and the customer with their specialty slow-brew coffee.

Step into any café and the first sight that you’ll probably see is of people on their laptops, students hunched over their books, or groups of office workers in deep discussion. Coffee has been heavily associated with productivity and is often viewed as a supplement to our busy lifestyle. Yet there are times when you just crave for a dose of caffeine to sip over stories worth sharing.

Tucked in the busy neighborhood of Salcedo Village in Makati, Narrative Coffee Company is a small café that aims to do just that by allowing customers to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, enjoy how their coffee is made, and have discussions with their baristas. How do they do it? It’s all in the way their coffee is prepared. Here, you won’t find big espresso machines humming with mechanical noise. Instead, they make use of traditional slow-brew processes with simple, handheld equipment.narrative 2For Narrative, the absence of the machine breaks down the wall between the barista and the customer, and since it’s a slow-brew process, it also takes a bit longer than usual. But this is exactly what Narrative capitalizes on, allowing them to exchange stories and experiences with their customers more intimately.

As soon as you step inside, you are greeted by warm smiles from baristas who are eager to get to know each customer that walks in. And it’s not just the simple, courteous pleasantries; they’re more than willing to open up and share their own stories, like how they got their start through crowdfunding, as well the story behind each cup of coffee—connecting the farmers and brewers to you.narrative 4Another notable thing about Narrative Coffee Company is their ever-changing lineup of brewed coffee. Christine Rollings, one of the owners, says, “We want to be able to tell a story with and through our coffee. We want to take our customers on an adventure as we source our beans from different parts of the world. In a way, we make them experience a certain country through coffee.”

When we were there, they were gracious enough to let us try different varieties from their coffee lineup. Among them were their La Joyeria, which has hints of peach, butterscotch, and caramel; Rushashi, which is reminiscent of juicy apricot, dalandan, honey, and has a milky sensation to it; and Dimtu, which has notes of wild berries, green grapes, and a touch of black tea. Their tea selection, it’s worth noting, is just as impressive for non-coffee drinkers.narrative 3True to its name, Narrative Coffee Company is all about stories worth sharing – from how they started, how your coffee is made, where their coffee beans come from, to your own personal story. They change their menu almost every week so you may not be able to binge on your favorite drink each visit, but that’s what makes it so unique. They continuously offer you something different—different beans, different sources, different stories—which will always manage to both excite and surprise you. Through this, they make every visit a truly different narrative.

Produced by Tricia Quintero
Photos by Chio Gonzalez

Tricia Quintero
Tricia is a freelance writer who often imagines her life as a Wes Anderson film—complete with flat-space camera movements, nostalgic color palettes, and a '70s pop soundtrack. Her simple joys in life include music, coffee, chicken and waffles, art, and sushi. Follow her on Instagram at @triciaquintero.
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