Obrero is, I think, one of the last places you would think to find coffee shops in Davao City.
When looking for coffee shops in Davao City around two or three years ago, the first place that we would check to see, if there are any, are the identified food districts of the city — F. Torres St., Marfori Subdivision, and Juna Subdivision. Obrero would not usually be on the list because back then it was more popular as a destination for bars and a shortcut to some parts of the city.
However, in the past couple of months, several small coffee shops slowly opened in the area. Each offers its own unique vibe and menu.
When I plotted the coffee shops in Obrero on the map, it was interesting to note that you can pass by these shops in one drive. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that you can actually walk from one shop to another. Then, I had a eureka moment. I should try doing it and I chose to do it on Saturday.
STARTING POINT: Kiel’s Coffee
The Brick Lane Square, Guzman St. corner T. Palma Gil St.
The cafe is located inside The Brick Lace Square, a popular commercial establishment at the corner of Guzman St. and Palma Gil St. The cafe offers brunch, coffee, and non-coffee drinks.
I ordered their Chicken Tocino, Pastil Quesadilla, and Iced Americano. The chicken tocino was properly cooked and I like how it was not very oily. The Pastil Quesadilla was interesting but could be a bit too salty. However, the mayonnaise on the side helped balance the saltiness. The Iced Americano was dark and strong.
This was a very filling me to start my tour. I would be walking from here. Hence, the much-needed energy.
FIRST STOP: Balay Juice & Coffee Co.
Corner T. Palma Pil and Guzman St, Obrero (Near Bricklane)
Balay is one of the first coffee shops to open in the Obrero area during the pandemic. They offer a great cup of coffee, particularly their cold brew and pour-over. My go-to order is usually the pour-over. I like to order the Omakase, in which the barista decides on what coffee to brew for you.
For this visit, I had a classic iced latte. It was the right drink for a humid afternoon. I also love that the latte had a good balance of coffee and milk.
SECOND STOP: Darkk Coffee
T. Palma Gil St., Obrero
I was supposed to go to the newly-opened Thirty Third Cafe along Lupo Diaz St. However, it was a Saturday when I was doing the tour and I forgot they are closed on Saturdays. Hence, I moved on to Darkk Coffee, which should be my third stop.
It was a quiet Saturday afternoon for Darkk. I already had my iced coffee drinks in the two previous coffee shops. Hence, opted for a hot drink here. I ordered a pour-over.
The barista recommended I try Proud Mary’s Final Frontier for the pour-over. This is natural processed Colombia coffee beans with expected notes of chocolate, pineapple, and raspberry. The note that I got was the chocolate. It got more pronounced as the coffee cooled down. It was a delicious cup of pour-over.
THIRD STOP: Kapewenoz – Obrero
Vinzon St., Obrero (Near Chard’s Place and Angels at Work)
Kapewenoz is one of the “OG” mobile coffee shops in Davao City and it is nice to see that they have opened a second branch of their physical shop here in Obrero.
For this short visit, I ordered another iced latte. Their iced latte also had a good balance of coffee and milk.
They share their small spot with House of Sambal, which serves a tasty meal of Nasi Goreng and Beef Rendang. You can opt to have Kapewenoz as your last stop, so you can also enjoy a meal from House of Sambal.
FOURTH STOP: Southside Coffee
Rustico Cabaguio St. corner Lupo Diaz St, Obrero (At the back of Stella Maris Academy of Davao)
Southside took a quick break in July and it is great to see them reopen their shop again.
Since I already had three cups of coffee, I opted to have a non-coffee drink here. I ordered an iced Campfire Choco. This is their chocolate milk topped with their version of a torched marshmallow. It is a drink that children and adults will love.
FIFTH STOP: Lerus Coffee
Door A., Lim Bldg., Lacson corner Cervantes St. (Near Elysia Spa)
My second to the last coffee shop to visit in Obrero is Lerus Coffee. This is a newly-opened small cafe in the area. I love the simplicity of the place. They also serve a great cup of coffee.
During the tour, I ordered their Matcha Latte. I was also feeling hungry after all the walking and ordered their Banana Almond Croffle. The Matcha Latte was good and the Banana Almond Croffle was a filling snack.
LAST STOP: T’Brews Cafe
Lacson St. (In front of Kuilan’s)
Just near Lerus is another small coffee shop that was set up in the garage of the owner’s family. The shop is very homey and welcoming. I love how inviting it is.
To end the tour, I had their Toffeenut Coffee. It was a sweet coffee that was nutty and caramelly.
That wraps up my “coffee walk” in Obrero! It was a fun long walk from Kiel’s Coffee to T’Brews Cafe.
Aside from the coffee and the food I had, I thoroughly enjoyed walking quietly along the streets of Obrero and observing the things around me. I also had great conversations with the guys at Balay Juice and Coffee, Southside, and Darkk Coffee.
This was a weekend well spent for my mental health (but not my wallet. LOL).
If you are looking to do something this weekend, how about trying to have a “coffee walk” in Obrero and support our local coffee shops?
STARTING POINT or LAST STOP: Stash Coffee Co.
2nd floor, Davao TBT Bldg., Inigo St. corner Porras St.
The coffee shop offers a delicious cup of pour-over and several options for a filling meal.
A filling meal here would give you the energy for the walking tour and at the same time, satisfy your hunger after the tour.
I would recommend the Mocha Lava or a pour-over here. For the food, go for the Big Breakfast, which includes eggs, bacon, sausages, a small serving of salad, sautéed mushrooms, toast, and roasted tomato.
SECOND STOP: Thirty Third Cafe
(If the starting point is Balay Coffee)
Lupo Diaz St.
Thirty Third Cafe is presently the only plant-based coffee shop that I know in Davao City. They serve delicious plant-based pastries and a decent cup of coffee.
I would recommend you try their Black Sugar Latte. It is like taho with coffee and my favorite drink here. For the pastries, I love their butterscotch. I love the nuttiness of their butterscotch.
They are closed on Saturdays. Hence, you might opt to visit them on Sunday or on the weekdays.