With so many cafés popping along the streets and avenues of Manila, it’s hard to be different. In such a competitive industry, what can cafés offer customers that will keep them coming back for more? For us, it’s ultimately the overall offering of good food, good ambiance, and good service. And this is exactly what Caffe La Tea offers. A product of Cabanatuan city, Caffe La Tea’s owners Happy, Ermina, Ciarra, and Rona decided to bring their hometown’s specialties to Manila.
Caffe La Tea has a total of 8 branches across the country. They have 2 branches in Cabanatuan where the café originated from, 1 in Pangasinan, 1 in Tarlac, 1 in Cagayan De Oro and 2 branches here in Manila.
Caffe La Tea Congressional is fairly new opened just October of 2015. And their main mission here in Manila is to be the Cabanatuan pride. Jerro Santos, the café’s social media specialist tell us, “When it comes to food and beverage there’s still no food brand which is synonymous to Cabanatuan and we want to be that café when you say Cabanatuan, CLT would pop into mind and we would be people’s go-to.”
Behind this success, are owners who are natural entrepreneurs. Having a degree in hospitality in UP, the owners wanted CLT to highlight the sense of hospitality Filipinos are known for. “Plus we put up CLT because we want to offer good business opportunities to people through our franchising.”
Entering the café, a sense of calm will overwhelm you; smiling servers ready to pamper you with lovely food and pleasing customer service.
Muted shades of orange and brown covered walls and teal accents surround the place which make the whole place more relaxing. “Customers comment that the ambiance of CLT can be likened to a spa because of the colors and the lighting.” Perfect for their tagline “Zen and Happiness in a cup”
According to Jerro, some of the materials used to build the first café la tea are recycled. One of the most notable is the coffee cup emblem carving affixed on the café’s ceiling. “We got it from a café that closed down and we recycled and customized it to be our own.” Now, this emblem can be seen across all branches.
Caffé La Tea’s Logo is straight to the point. Coffee, Milk tea, and food but we are told that they are more than just that. “All our tea products are sourced from Taiwan because we want it to be authentic as it can be.”
Caffe La Tea also takes pride in their coffee “We can say that our coffee is really delicious. It’s a blend of Robusta and Arabica and its sourced both locally and abroad.” But regardless where it came from, Jerro says Caffe La Tea has already established its coffee’s signature taste which is bitter with a hint of sweetness even without adding the sugar. This also explains why their Espressos are one of their best-sellers.
Speaking of best-sellers, Caffe La Tea gave us the privilege to try their line-up of food from their menu of best sellers.
First up is the Crispy Dinuguan. Bits and pieces of crispy pork cutlets are drenched in dinuguaan sauce. This amazing goodness is placed over steamed, white rice. Find you cannot stomach the blood? Don’t worry, tasting this savory dish will make you wonder why you haven’t even tried it yet!
Cabsy lonnga rice is one of Cabanatuan’s pride. “Cabsy” which stands for Cabanatuan, is known for their garlic tasting longganisa. A dish perfect for breakfast or brunch this greatly satisfies the tummy!
My personal favorite among the rice toppings is the grilled liempo with salted egg; just because liempo and salted egg is an ideal combination. The succulent meat is soaked in savory soy sauce and grilled to perfection is made perfect with the salted egg and tomato sides.
Baby back ribs rice toppings offer tender meat glazed in peppery bbq sauce that overall, produces a sweetly spiced dish!
The Crispy Sinigang is another must try in CLT. Paired with soup that has the perfect pinoy sour taste poured over the crispy pork cutlets offers a different sinigang experience.
Next to the list is the Bicol Express. Creamy and with a hint of spice, their bicol express has rich flavors of coconut sauce made perfect with the eggplant garnish.
It’s also important to note that all rice toppings offered by Caffe La Tea only sells for 70 Php up to less than a hundred. A great gastronomical deal if you ask me. All of their rice toppings were flavorful, satisfying, and worth every cent!
“We are aware that we are not the only one who offers milktea and coffee but one of our differentiators is our price. That’s why there are many first time customers who get surprised whenever they visit Café la tea “oh my gosh this is just 140?”
It is indeed surprising that the priciest dish in CLT’s menu is their truffle pasta and amazingly, it only sells for 159 php. And it doesn’t stop there. CLT also offers LOVE value meals which stand for: Loads Of Value Everyday. For as low as 115 pesos, you already get a full-serving their rice toppings and a drink. One example of this offering is the Burger steak rice topping paired with a grande sized milktea. A really LOVE-ly deal!
Their chicken pesto pasta is both luscious and herby in taste. Topped with chicken strips, this dish is outrageously delicious.
Passionate about good food and good tea concoctions, Caffe La Tea’s menu as a whole was conceptualized by the owners themselves. “Just imagine how many coffee and milk tea they had to taste before coming up with the recipe for each item.” That’s why you’ll know and taste the hard work put into each every food and drink you consume in Caffe La Tea.
Caffe La Tea is also known by its own offering of cupcakes. “Since hot teas are one of our best sellers, it would be perfect if we also offer our customers cupcakes since it makes the perfect pair.” But besides the cupcakes, the café also offers a range of lovely pastries for everybody’s sweet tooth! “We want everything made by CLT. So any food or dessert we can prepare onsite, we offer our customers.”
We also got to taste their appetizers. The Crispy Baked Wings in BBQ sauce is a classic favorite with its sweet sumptuous sauce and a little tangy in taste!
Gambas and Mushroom pasta drenched in lightly spicy olive oil topped with shrimps and mushrooms is a must-try. Full of garlic flavor, this dish will remind you of classic Spanish cuisine and fresh seafood!
The wild mushroom and truffle oil pasta is also of the day’s favorites. Pasta covered in truffle cream sauce mixed with lovely mushroom slices is rich in creamy flavor and truffle goodness.
Overall, CLT is surely a place you’d want to come back for more. Because of its affordable priced dishes that are both delicious and hefty in serving, and refreshing drinks that range from hot teas, milkteas, to coffee, you’ll find yourself feeling rejuvenated after every meal.
Caffe La Tea is continually expanding and right now, they’re opening a branch this month in Valenzuela so we have to watch out for that. Caffe La Tea is located at 16 Congressional Avenue, Bahay Toro, Quezon City, Congressional, 1106 and is open Mondays to Sundays from 12 p.m. to 12 n.n. Peak hours are from 6 p.m. until midnight.