Coffee Shop Review: KKK Coffee, Quezon City, Philippines

Author’s Note: This coffee shop is permanently closed.

Who the hey is this chubby, bald kid, and why is he talking to me about some weird sh*t, is what I was thinking the first time Pao and I talked during our break time in the office. We were on the same technical writing training, I was in my late 20s, and he was in his early 20s. I mentioned during our short self-introduction that I have a thing for slasher films, true crimes, and unsolved mysteries, and he probably thought it’d be a good icebreaker for talking with me. I know that I’m weird, but I guess I was one of those who are weird and awkward, while Pao was one of those who were weird and comfortable. Comfortable in the sense that he doesn’t give a fig about what other people think about his weirdness.

It didn’t take long for me to warm up to Pao because that’s how weird people are; they connect. I remembered him when I went to Quezon City recently and asked him to meet me. We met at a Filipino-themed cafe, KKK Coffee, in Maginhawa. 

Due to another engagement, I was late. Pao was already halfway through his chocolate cake, which I didn’t bother tasting. He was sipping coffee from a mug made of glass. Pao is no longer bald and chubby; in recent years, he has been into street workouts, which dramatically changed his physique. He now has hair, too, other than that, he remained the same geeky guy that I know. Pao was years younger than me but with an old man’s brain.

I googled for a list of cafes in Maginhawa and found KKK Coffee. I didn’t know what to expect, but the Filipino theme going on was enough to pique my interest. KKK is in reference to the Filipino revolutionaries, Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galagang, Katipunan.

The space is small, with no cushioned chairs so this is definitely not a place for lounging. I did like the simple design that they made of the place, probably in consideration of the fact that it’s just a small space. There is a KKK flag up on the wall, an old lantern, and a decor on the ceiling made of capiz windows. You know by how they designed the interiors that there is a theme, but they didn’t go over the top, so I really liked it.

I decided to be a little adventurous and ordered a Kapeng Labuyo original (Medium PHP 109 – USD 2.16). I’ve never had a spicy drink before, so I wanted to give it a try. According to the barista, they blend chili paste into brewed coffee to achieve that spicy and mild tangy taste. The first time I sipped, I have seriously forgotten that it was supposed to be spicy, so the zing caught me off guard. It’s the kind of sting that goes all the way to the back of the throat. I am a fan of spicy food, so I thought I would like it, but I didn’t. The zing got to the point when it became a nuisance that I wasn’t able to finish my glass.

Pao had Kapeng Ginto, which is a creamy coffee. I did try it; it was nothing special with how it tasted but definitely better than the coffee I had. I’d like to think I just didn’t order the right drink, so I still want to give KKK Coffee another chance. I like the ambiance anyway, so why not.

I soon forgot about my coffee when Pao and I started talking. We spent a few hours catching up, discussing philosophies, politics, and other heavy things I don’t usually talk about with most of my friends. I’m not saying that my other friends couldn’t take it, but I know and accept that it is not their cup of tea, so I lay off the heavy stuff when I’m with them. But not with Pao, this guy likes the dark stuff, which sorta betrays his happy disposition, and I love him for it.


There was a little bit of reminiscing—we used to work for the same company, after all—wondering how our other friends were doing and getting serious discussing how f*cked up the Filipinos are for blindly following their chosen idol (I do not mean showbiz).

Pao claims he wants to be neutral; I told him people with his way of thinking are tiny specks in the population. People believe who and what they want to believe. We all live with biases, and biases make people passionate. It makes the fools and the most intelligent of people lenient or tolerant of the evil their chosen figure makes and blind to the good deed of their perceived enemy. We’re all susceptible to it.

Are we capable of being partial despite our initial belief? I say, why not? We’re the thinking species, after all. All I know is that we can all take a second look and give it another shot. Just like I am giving KKK Coffee another shot if I ever go back to Quezon City. Maybe next time, I’d choose a better-tasting coffee.

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  1. What a unique concept! Labuyo in a coffee, kudos to you for such an adventurous choice. I can imagine why such a coffee shop can inspire political and heavy conversations. The signage already makes me think I’m going to meet Andres Bonifacio in a corner of the coffee shop. 🙂

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