CEBU'S coffee culture is growing stronger as artisanal coffee shops are opening one by one. Those who wish to have the simple pleasure of drinking coffee in interesting spaces are now spoilt for choice. Here to provide people with and help them understand the craft of real, good coffee—the way it’s supposed to be—is 32 Umber.
Situated along one of the busiest streets in the metro, this coffee shop and bakery hybrid is the creative brainchild of friends Irene Abellana and Trixie Young. Even with its simple and understated exterior, the shop makes a beautiful impact on the block especially at night. Behind the unassuming facade is a warm and cozy interior that is decidedly rustic industrial, showcasing a sleek marriage of metal and wood.
The shop was designed to be transparent and with an open layout to allow for the baristas’ skills—and all the care and attention that go into preparing the perfect cup—to take center stage. 32 Umber makes it a point to spotlight the art of coffee-making so customers will be encouraged to learn more about what they’re sipping and to try new things as well.
32 Umber has clever seating arrangements in that it has both solitary spaces for those who seek them and buzzy zones where people can enjoy catching up with friends. Irene and Trixie shared that their travels abroad introduced them to some of the best tasting coffees they’ve had, and that is exactly what they wish to bring to Cebu. The two set up shop last March 1 and have since then been crafting specialty coffee using beans that are sourced internationally but roasted locally.
It’s been said that the way to a person’s stomach is through his eyes, which is why 32 Umber makes room for a coffee bar and pastries counter. One pairing to try is its bestselling crack pie and cappuccino. The crack pie is inspired by New York’s Milk Bar bakery. It’s a rich pie with an oat cookie crust and a gooey butter filling. One bite lets one know why it is called as such.
The blueberry lemon crumb donut which has a blueberry cake base with lemon glaze and sugar crumbs on top, goes well with a latte. The drip cake, a vanilla cake with caramel schmear, chocolate ganache, dripping white chocolate ganache topped with malt balls and popcorn, is complemented by an iced caramel macchiato.
There are also brownies and assorted cookies—fruity cornflake, peanut butter and pretzel, and compost cookies, the ingredients of which include pretzels, potato chips and chocolate chips, striking the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Pair any of these with the 12-hour cold brew or a cup of the hand-pressed brews. 32 Umber uses a V60 and an Aeropress for the manual brews. While the former yields a bolder taste and the latter brings out more of the fruity flavors of coffee, both actually give off a rich and smooth taste.
Customers know what they want from their individual coffee moments and whatever it is, 32 Umber can give it to them. Packing a big punch in a small space, it offers reasons for guests to keep coming back.
32 Umber is located at The Forum building along Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City. One can visit the shop from 1 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and up to 10 p.m. on weekends.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 04, 2016.
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