During the quarantine, most people took pleasure in making their own coffee. In fact, many coffee machine brands and coffee shops came up with their barista home kits which usually include a coffee and espresso machine, coffee beans and syrups.

While home baristas have already perfected their cup of Joe, there’s just something different about enjoying coffee in your go-to coffee shop.

In the city of Talisay—home of the “Lechon Festival”— newly opened homegrown coffee shops are giving Talisaynons great places to hang out, work or study while enjoying a good cup of coffee. One of them is Akasya Cafe, owned by a millennial entrepreneur who used to work for a big coffee shop chain.

Growing up, 26-year-old Ciara Mendoza, wanted to open her own patisserie which led her to take Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) in college.

Her working in a big coffee shop chain helped her gain more knowledge about the food and beverage industry, and she honed her skills.

During the quarantine period, Ciara unleashed her inner barista and took pleasure in making coffee for herself and her family to enjoy and help them get through the day, since there are not many coffee shops in Talisay.

“Why not open one instead?” she thought. Ciara wanted people to get their caffeine fix from a local café where they can enjoy the whole café experience: the sound of a coffee machine, the smell of coffee, the relaxing environment and the coffee culture.

In June, Akasya Café was launched. Located on Sangi Road in Tabunok, Talisay City, the café is named after a century old big acacia tree standing tall in the property where Ciara’s childhood house was, which is also a landmark in the area.

The 14-seater café features a Japandi (Japanese-Scandinavian)-inspired interior which looks and feels clean—classy yet homey; an ideal relaxed social space. Breathing in some fresh air is also a very nice experience, and that is why tables and chairs are set up al fresco which can seat up to 14 people.

While it is a nice place to pose for your Instagram post, you could also catch up on your reading while appreciating its Iced Caramel Macchiato (one of its best sellers), or digging into its croissant and taking a sip of White Brew using the café’s eco-friendly straws.

For its menu, Ciara kept it basic so it won’t be overwhelming for the customers.

“I don’t want to overwhelm our customers. I just want to serve them good coffee, and offer them something to pair it with like pastries but we’re very open for suggestions,” she shared.

Akasya Café also strives to be an environmentally friendly café. It strictly uses eco-friendly straws and milk boxes for take-away orders. It even offers coffee grounds for free if its customers need one for a DIY project or for their plants as a fertilizer.

Ciara is a strong believer of “girl power,” and she’s proud to say that Akasya Café is run by empowering girls who have the same goals as she does: to promote girl power, serve a good cup of coffee—all while helping the environment.

Akasya Café, located on Sangi Road, Tabunok, Talisay City, Cebu is currently open from 1 to 8 p.m. daily.