Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Have a Taste of Native Iloilo Arabica Coffee at Madge Cafe

Madge Cafe, once tucked away inside La Paz Public Market since it first opened it's doors in 1951, has branched out to a new location in Diversion Road (a short walk from Smallville Complex). Madge Cafe is popular for bringing people from all walks of life - from businessmen, farmers, fish vendors, and politicians - together for a cup of coffee. This new store still hopes to achieve that.

The new location is very accessible to locals regularly going to Smallville, SM City Iloilo, or Iloilo River Esplanade and don't want to go out of their way and go to La Paz Public Market for a cup of delicious coffee.

If you drop by this branch of Madge Cafe, you would immediately notice that it's very different from the main store at the La Paz Public Market. Gone is the carinderia vibe. You won't find manang brewing freshly ground coffee using a culador (a flannel sieve). I assume the coffee is now being prepared in a back kitchen. If I would describe it, then I would say it's a more upscale version of Madge Cafe. It is like a modern-day cafe.

Here are some photos of the new store:

One familiar sight that you can still see in the new store are the trademark mugs of Madge Cafe with the names of their patrons stenciled on the mugs. These are still on display in shelves along the wall. Although, I'm not sure if some of the patrons of the original Madge go here to have their coffee. 

I'm also happy that despite the change in ambiance, the flavor of their coffee remains consistent with what you can get from the original store. The beauty of Madge Cafe is that they only use locally sourced beans harvested in Northern Iloilo. This means that whenever you drink from Madge, you are sipping a taste of Iloilo-grown Arabica coffee beans. Who knew you can grow coffee in the Province of Iloilo?  

I tried their Puro Regular and I have to admit it has a really strong, bitter taste if you drink it black. I added some brown sugar to the coffee to make it a bit sweeter. I have always liked the fact that Madge Cafe serves different versions of their coffee to cater to different tastes. I suggest you experiment with what you like best, but I recommend you try Puro Regular or Media Cafe.

If you are looking for sweets, they also serve a very delicious Oreo Cheesecake for 100php. I heard that they ship this yummy cake from Calea in Bacolod. YUM! If you are hungry, then Madge still serves local delicacies such as puto, dinuguan, and pancit molo. They also have silog rice meals if you really want to quench your appetite.

If you have never been to Madge Cafe before, I suggest you visit to the original Madge Cafe in La Paz Market for the authentic Madge experience. If you are looking for something more convenient, then the store in Diversion road is probably the more convenient place. 

Here's a video from Rappler that shows the original store. If you are curious to see how coffee is prepared using a culador, you should definitely watch the video. 

Here's some shots of the menu from Madge Cafe in Diversion road. It's now 35php for a cup of Puro Regular rather than 25php a cup at the original Madge store, but it's still the cheapest cup of good-tasting freshly brewed coffee you can find anywhere else. 

Madge cafe Coffee Menu

Madge cafe Food Menu

The next time you visit Iloilo, drop by Madge Cafe and have a cup of freshly brewed Ilonggo coffee. I'm sure you'll enjoy it! 

Further reading you might like:

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  1. I studied there for 4 years and haven't been or even heard of the place! Kmusta naman? Maybe because I'm not a coffee drinker so I didn't get to research about places like this. Good to know though. My sister is still there and she's a coffee addict. Will recommend the place. That is if she's not a regular there yet. :D

    1. Really! Madge is quite popular but their original branch is somewhat hidden inside La Paz market. Maybe that's why you haven't been there, since students don't normally go. You should recommend the place to your sister! I'm sure she would appreciate what local coffee tastes like. It's better if she tried the original brews