ISLAND TEA COMPANY: HOME OF THE REAL TEA

My Impressions On Tea

Growing up, I have not been a tea fan or tea lover because I feel that the taste of it is so plain and it does not satisfy my palate (or maybe I have been tasting the cheapest teas before 🙂 I grew up loving sweets and sweet drinks, and tea is never on my list. However, the rise of milkteas changed my perspective. In Zamboanga, there’s this rising milktea store in the school where I have taught that really made every student and teacher crazy! On my first year here in Cebu City, I’ve been hopping to café shops to find the best milktea, and taste the best frappes and smoothies in town.

Early this year, I became conscious of my body and weight, and I promised myself to lose weight and look better on the outside. I went into a fitness gym and never rested except Sundays of the week. During my first week at the gym, I had a hard time controlling my food intake, and I remember I have a former student who’s now a registered nutritionist/dietician and a fitness instructor. I tweeted her and ask for some advice like the basic things to do when attending gym sessions. One of the things she said was to drink tea, specifically green tea, and more importantly to drink this before bedtime. That’s how I got to know tea better, and the health benefits it gives to our body. By that time, I forced myself to at least do the routines of drinking tea twice every day. But still, I only do that for the purpose of losing weight to partner with my gym routines, and because I still don’t love the taste of it, drinking tea did not become a habit and it did not last.

The taste of pure tea is finally here!

Checklist on the Health Benefits of Tea

  • Tea contains antioxidants.
  • Tea has less caffeine than coffee.
  • Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tea may help with weight loss.
  • Tea may help protect your bones.
  • Tea may keep your smile bright.
  • Tea may boost the immune system.
Healt benefits of tea, ALERT!
Island Tea’s loose tea leaves that differentiates them from the market.
Yes! Keep that SMILE bright! 🙂

On Tasting the Best Tea

I realized that the taste of teas perhaps depends on the type of tea, or on the brands you take. I remember my co-teacher in Basilan, Ryan, who has been ordering and drinking tea whenever we go and eat out with some friends on the famous hotel and restaurant we have there in town, I actually love the taste of their tea there. Although I don’t order teas, but Ryan will always willingly share or let us taste the tea he will order every time we go there. There’s a smell and taste of sweetness that soothes perfectly to your nose and throat. I thought that was the best tea I will taste ever for the rest of my life, until I tasted the tea of Island Tea Co!

Getting to Know Island Tea Co. More!

Island Tea Co. is not just a typical milk tea store! For the information of everybody, they are not even a milk tea store. They are actually a TEA STORE that sells one of the finest tea in the country. Their edge over other tea or milk tea stores? They give us the best and finest Ceylon Teas that are ONLY produced in Sri Lanka! Plus, what you get are not just ordinary teas that are prepared on tea bags and concentrates, but theirs are teas that are prepared from loose, dry tea leaves! So, yes, you are tasting not only the imported and finest teas from Sri Lanka, but you know as well that the tea you are drinking are more organic, healthier and 100 % natural tea compared to other tea beverages you’ll taste on some café or milktea stores!

So, yes, they are proud to claim that they serve the real tea because of their loose leaf teas! And yes, after tasting their teas and milkteas, I am more than convinced, without a doubt!

One of their best sellers – wild berry tea!

At first, the idea only started with bringing and selling loose tea leaves here in the Philippines, until the owner, who’s by the way a Sri Lankan himself, thought of expanding it as a store that caters other trendsetting tea beverages.

Diffrent flavors of their loose tea leaves that are also sold per gram.

Today, what they have in their stores are the following: milk teas, black teas, green teas, fruit teas, tea mocktails, tea shakes and tea smoothies. They also serve pure ceylon hot milk teas that are very new and are not seen on other milktea or tea stores. Just as you thought milk teas are cold drinks only, they have hot milk teas here that will perfectly compliment your mood.

This nutella cream cheese milk tea tastes heaveeen – my personal favorite!
To fight with the warm weather outside, this cold tea mojito will quench your thirst! You must try this best selling iced tea!
The making of nutella cream cheese milktea
Proud to say that Island Tea Co. is “Serving Pure Ceylon Tea”<3

If you have tasted their tea, for sure you will love to come back. If you’re on tight budget, don’t worry because you can still get your finest teas and prepare it at home! They actually sell loose tea leaves of different flavors by grams.

Check out the prices of your favorite flavors which are sold per gram.

After having been gone to Island Tea Company, I honestly started looking online for tea infusers so I can start buying loose tea leaves from them and have a tea party any time at home! I am excited to share this best tasting tea to my friends, and to Ryan, when I get back to Basilan. 🙂

The Menu:

To go with today’s trendsetting tea beverages, they offer different tea drinks from hot teas to iced teas – all with the flavor of the purest tea from Sri Lanka!

They also offer other pastries that vary every day, to perfectly compliment with your favorite tea beverages.

Island Tea Co Branches:

Join their team as they are open for franchise! As of today, they have the following branches open nationwide:

Now Open – SM North Edsa Manila Ayala Feliz Marikina, Ayala Market ! Market! BGC, Taguig Outlets at Lipa, Batangas SM City Cebu, SM Seaside City Cebu, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, Parkmall Cebu, ICM Mall, Tagbilaran, Bohol, J Center Mall, Mandaue, Cebu, SM Uptown, Cagayan de Oro, South Town Centre, Talisay, Cebu Shopwise Batangas, H Mall, Mactan.

Opening Soon – SM Taytay, Manila, SM Masinag, Manila, Sundance Residences Cebu City, Gaisano Mall, Davao, Ayala Central Bloc – IT Park, Cebu, Ayala Abreeza, Davao, Festival Walk Mall, Iloilo, Pacific Mall, Mandaue & Many more locations nationwide !

For further information, and for some promos available in their selected stores, visit their Facebook Page here.

The wanna-be model of Island Tea Company! 🙂

Definitely I have changed my idea on teas after having been gone to Island Tea Co. It’s absolutely a must-try. If you’re like me who’s not a fan at first of tea, come and taste the purest Ceylon Tea in the country now and let me know your experience! This is something you don’t want to miss out!

Please make sure to check and subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Maistrang Laagan for the video of my Island Tea experience. Link is here.

A HOMY RESTAURANT AT A MOUNTAIN TOP

Are you exhausted of the busy streets in the city and is tired looking on tall buildings in every corner? Do you want to take a break with your loved ones, family or friends from the unwanted smokes, noisy streets, busy people? Do you want to take a deep breath from your strenuous work or simply want to take time with yourself? There’s a new and refreshing place for all of us. Come at Balay sa Busay!

Balay Sa Busay, Tops Road, Cebu City

Balay sa Busay offers us a new dining place to chill and relax. It is not crowded and there is no need to rush. You can stay and enjoy the energizing feeling of the fresh, cool breeze, overlooking the city of Cebu! Yes! You are dining at a mountain top!

A family spotted spending quality time on this mountain-top restaurant.
No need for aircon. The cool breeze of the mountain is more than enough!
The refreshing view! What a good way to chill!

The Interior

If you also would want to take selfies or best shots for your social media posts, the architectural minimalist interior design will also catch your attention. Make sure to bring a photographer with you and get that “pangmalakasang” OOTD best shot! 🙂

This vanity mirror is crazy! Who wouldn’t love to take a selfie here? I just did with my camera! 🙂
The yellowish light when turned on during night time adds beauty to Balay. Sobrang nakakaganda, promise! 🙂
Let’s talk… not over coffee, this time. Let’s talk over a mountain-top.

The Palatable Food

Balay sa Busay does not only offer that refreshing feeling of a smoke-free environment or instagrammable interior designs, above all, the foods in their menu are insane! This is really what matters the most, of course, when you are dining in! Their foods are mouth-watering and even jaw-dropping for an exceptional presentation you can’t eat without taking a picture first! You’ll think twice if you eat it or just stare at it! Haha! I admit their food presentation is my favorite now (as of this writing), and they are not only visually appealing but they are truly delicious for a reasonable price!

Get ready to feast at Balay! Order any of the dishes in the menu. You can never go wrong!

When you dine in at Balay sa Busay, you also feel HOME because of the dishes they serve. Their foods are those you are already familiar with because most are usually cooked at home, these are added only with a modern twist, to make the taste distinct for Balay. Because it has a homy feeling, Balay sa Busay is best experienced when you share it with your family and friends!

Come and share with family and friends the one-of-a-kind dining experience at Balay!
A function room is also available for exclusive bookings.

It is also interesting to note that Balay sa Busay helps the locals of Brgy. Busay because their staffs are mostly residents of the barangay and the ingredients they have in the kitchen mostly came in the Barangay as well. Truly, a family-oriented dining home with a heart to care for its fellow locals.

Come one, come all! Experience great food and great view all at once! Come visit Balay sa Busay!

Other Information

  • Facebook Page: Balay Sa Busay
  • Operating Hours: 10AM to 11 PM Mondays to Sundays
  • -They are also open for reservations and exclusive bookings for any private gatherings, parties or events.
  • For reservations, please call (032) 354 7169 or 0917 712 9816

How to get there?

  • Balay sa Busay is located at Tops Road, Brgy. Busay, Cebu City. It is before the famous Tops tourist/local destination in Cebu. Just drive and follow the Cebu Transcentral Highway going to Cebu Tops Road.
  • From JY Mall in Lahug, hire a habal-habal/motorcycle that can bring you to Balay. You may ask the driver to wait for you so he can bring you down again to JY Mall.
  • You can also go through Grab/Taxi as it can be navigated via Google Map or Waze. However, the problem could be the part of going back down, since no taxi goes up to Tops Road if it’s not privately booked with meter down.
  • It is best to come to Balay sa Busay with your own service so there will be no need for you to rush or hustle.

Have you gone to Balay? Tell me your wonderful experience. Ayaw ug kalimot, balik-balik sa Balay!

Coffeeteria: A Coffee Made With Love

I grew up in a little barrio in Zamboanga City where everything was so simple; our commodities where cheap and almost always available whenever needed. I was living a simple life until I turned adult and moved living in a city. It was only this time that I learned how expensive a cup of coffee was! I felt like a price range of 130-160PHP for just a cup of coffee was already an exaggeration. Honestly, I grew up picking up some ripened fruits of coffee because my father had coffee shrubs growing in our farm (actually, we still have until this time, but just only fewer trees than before). With this reason, I know exactly the smell of coffee beans. My grandmother and relatives in my mother side have been grinding coffee manually – or should I say pounding coffee, until they get coffee powder. I grew up with this memory, and it remains vivid, still.

However, even with this childhood memory, I actually don’t drink coffee, especially black coffee. I only learned drinking 3-in-1 coffees (the creamy latte, especially) in my early 20’s, but even then, these just occasionally happens, as I still prefer milk or choco drinks.

Recently, as I was café hopping, I usually order frappes, smoothies or cold drinks, because I still feel that coffees are too expensive. Sometimes, I try their teas and at times I order cafe latte. I love the cream taste of café latte and so it is only this type of coffee I drink whenever I wanted to.

But… what really makes a good coffee? How do you say that the coffee you’re drinking is of good quality? What are the things you need to watch out for in preparing and making this type of drink? I honestly don’t know the basics or standards of coffee making. For those people who are new in the world of coffee, or even for those who love coffee but has little knowledge about it, let me share to you some fun facts I learned from Coffeeteria.

The entrance and lobby to the coffee shop

Coffee 101 with Coffeeteria

Because it’s my first, I am very excited with my coffee lessons with Coffeeteria, one Monday afternoon. It was my vacant day from my graduate studies class and I had time to visit their shop. The managing owners were very kind to teach us make our own coffee. In fact, they encourage their customers to ask the baristas anything about coffee, and they gladly would answer any queries the customers would have. The managing owner/barista of Coffeeteria, similarly, told me that whenever I go to any cafés, I shouldn’t be shy to ask about the details of the coffee I am ordering.

With the short lesson of making and preparing coffee, interestingly, I learned the following fun facts about coffee.

  • Coffees are not always bitter. It’s a common mistake and misinterpretation of many people. Coffees are not necessarily bitter. It depends on the beans and the way it was toasted that makes it bitter.
Coffee beans must be tightly packed or sealed and must be stored at room temperature.
  • There are two major types of coffee plants. The types of coffee also determine its taste. The two types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica grows in highlands like Mt.Apo while Robusca grows in lowlands. Because Robusca grows in lowland, it does not get so much sunlight, and as a result, they have a strong taste, example of these are the Kape Barako we are familiar with. On the other hand, Arabica are mostly used by café stores in making espresso because they have inviting smell and taste.
Accordingly, a coffee enthusiast should invest more in a grinder than in a coffee maker.
  • Coffees growing in a different location have a taste different from others. Coffees do not have exactly the same taste. They have a distinct taste depending on the area or location they were grown. For example, coffees growing in Mt. Apo have a different taste than coffees growing in Cotabato, even if they grow in the same country. Because of this, coffees are named after from their place of origin.
Grinding coffee should result in a fine coffee powder.
Crafted consistently with excellence. Your coffee worth your penny.
  • Coffees are very delicate, so they must be prepared carefully. One wrong move or wrong step in preparing a coffee does not yield to an exactly the same taste. At worst, ingredients such as coffee or milk are put into waste if procedures are not taken seriously. With that, coffee must be consistently prepared, with exactly the same procedure, with even exactly the same amount of force and pressure needed; otherwise, it will affect the taste and quality of coffee you are making and preparing. I understand now why coffees in the café are costly because they are prepared meticulously.
Steaming or foaming milk is not an easy thing to do, especially for beginners. It needs serious attention.
This amount of steamed/foamed milk mixed into an espresso produces your cafe latte. No more sugar added. Just purely the taste of coffee and milk.
  • Do not ask for expiration date. In coffees, asking for an expiry date is discouraged. Instead, ask for the ROAST DATE. Knowing the roast date of your coffee will help you determine whether your coffee is still fresh or not.
Coffee beans available in their shop, too.

There are still other things I learned such as the difference between an espresso versus café latte versus a macchiato; how to design your latte, etc. For this time, I will just leave it to myself. J Feel free to leave a comment after reading this and let us talk over a coffee. What do you think?

Espresso is only served this much. I only learned it at this point. I though all coffees are served in one cup or mug.

What I Love About Coffeeteria

So, what makes Coffeeteria different from other coffee shops? Here are few things that stood out in my visit to their shop.

  1. Quality Coffee Crafted With Love. Cofeeteria is owned and managed by people who are coffee lovers. This love is radiated and reflected to the kind of products they produce in their coffee shops. They make it sure that the customers receive and taste the coffee that they themselves would love to have. With this, you are ensured that the coffee you’ll get is nothing but the best. I have personally seen how they make their coffees – it is consistently crafted with love!
Your coffee made with love and perfection
Literally Physics in a coffee! I asked the barista to had Einstein’s famous equation as a design on my cafe latte so I can brag that I had just eaten (drunk) Einstein’s equation! Hahaha

2. Cozy Place. Their place is not so wide, it can in fact accommodate a maximum of 25 persons only but the place doesn’t get crowded. You can have enough peaceful and calm “me-time” whenever you need it.

3. Good Food. They just don’t give quality coffee services but they also offer other varied snacks you’ll surely love to taste back. I personally tried their chicken nuggets and the tuna pasta and the serving is quite large for a solo eater, so make sure to bring someone with you.

Taste the unique flavor of ‘Garlic Pasta with Sardines’
Chicken nuggets and fries perfect for any trip
Coffeteria’s Best Seller!

4. Wifi. You can enjoy an internet connection and take your time either working on something or visiting your social media while just chilling around the place.

5. Accept Bookings & Reservations. If you are looking for a place for a small gathering, like bridal shower or birthday parties with few guests only, you can make a reservation at Coffeeteria. The following are the rates consumable for four hours.

12:00 NN – 4:00 PM (3000php)

4:00 – 8:00 PM (4000php)

8:00PM – 12:00 AM (5000php)

An extension will cost 500 PHP per hour.

6. Board Games. You can actually play games with your friends while waiting for your order, or while waiting for a company to come – just some mind and board games to ease your stress and free your mind from the loads of work outside.

7. Humble and Friendly Staffs. The staffs they have are mostly co-owners of the shop. They are very approachable and very modest. As I have said, ask anything about your coffee, or your order, and they will gladly answer you back.

8. Environment-Friendly. This is really one thing that I adore and I salute about Coffeeteria. They are skipping the use of plastics in as much as possible. They are in fact using metallic straws in their drinks and paper straws for take-outs, truly worth to be emulated by other cafe stores.They have an online store for these types of items. Please visit them here. The following are rates of their eco-friendly products.

  • metal straws set (silver) – 350 PHP
  • metal straws set (rose gold/gold) – 450 PHP
  • metal straws set (black rainbow/purple) – 550 PHP
  • (All sets include a bent straw,thin straight, Milktea straw & eco pouch)
  • collapsible cup – 650 PHP
Collapsible mug/cup also for sale

Aside from their online store, the aboved items are sold also in Crossroads, Craftstory, beautymanila.com and Makers – Bonifacio District.

Where to Find Coffeteria

Their coffee shop is located at Talamban, going North Gen Hospital, just above 360  Pharmacy. For those who are commuting, you may ride a jeepney bound for Pit-Os, either 62B/C or 13I, just tell the driver to drop you off at Saver’s Depot, Talamban – this is the landmark just next to Coffeeteria.

If you are riding your own vehicle, a taxi or grab, the place can be navigated through Waze or Google Map.

Other Information:

  • Cafe Hours:       3PM to 12:00AM (Weekdays)

                                      2:00 PM to 11:00 PM (Weekends)

If you have some updates about Coffeteria, feel free to comment or message me, or if there’s something wrong in my fun facts 🙂 – since those are just some of the things I remember from the quick lesson. I hope you can swing by at Coffeteria – truly, they are pouring happiness in every cup!