The Reluctant Stylista

You know those quaint cafes and restaurants with an honesty system in place? I’ve always wondered if those could work in Manila. Heck, even the concept of paying bus fare or toll fee in a box without someone checking for the correct amount is a concept this third-world-born-and-bred girl has long marveled at. I’ve heard of the Honesty Cafe in Batanes, where each item from the shop already have a designated price tag and the novelty comes from being wholly self-service: nobody mans the shop and you simply list the items you’re buying on the shop’s logbook and leave payment.

Things are a little bit different at Recession Coffee inside Digital Walker in Eastwood. The concept store has long catered to stylish techies and social geeks–niche markets that would love the idea of a pay-what-you-want-cafe. Wouldn’t you?


Smores, cookies, cakes and cheesecakes!

So here how’s it goes. You walk up to the counter, tell them the coffee you want to order, then pay whatever you want or whatever you think is fair for it. Keep in mind that third wave coffee is pretty popular right now, and Recession Coffee is serving ones that come from Edsa BDG–basically the poster child for the coffee movement that’s making our caffeine experiences a lot better these days. So you do get coffee that is better than your average fast food cup.

Miah getting his coffee at the counter

While it’s true you can literally pay whatever amount you want for the coffee, you do still have contend with your own conscience should you be a cheapskate. Would you even be able to look at your server in the eye if you were to hand him/her a 50? Plus, there’s that funny little sign on top of the counter with cheeky comments on corresponding amounts. You would have to put a bit of faith that you’ll like your coffee, though–seeing as you’re going to have to pay for it before you even taste it.

To be honest, I would probably shell out 50-70 pesos for coffee I haven’t tasted yet. But considering customer service and ambiance, that would bump me to a 100. That’s possibly the regular amount I’d pay for a cup at the Recession Coffee. What’s the highest amount anyone has ever paid for a cup? At the time of this media launch, the folks at Recession Coffee told us it was P500.

Alex Lapa at Recession Coffee


This Honey cake was sooo sweet, I would recommend taking it with black coffee


I know about Scout’s Honor because I frequent Hole-in-the-Wall at Century Mall. I’ve only tried their shakes, though, so this was the first time for me to try their pastries. Most of them were too sweet for my liking, but at least that’s more reason to get strong, black coffee with it.


There aren’t just cakes at Recession Coffee–though sweets is what Scout’s Honor (their supplier for the snacks) is known for.

Handcrafted coffee roast!


I’ve always liked Digital Walker stores because they look quite hip and trendy. Recession Coffee is inside Digital Walker in Eastwood, so you can either browse the newest gadgets they have in store, or wait by the coffee shop (if you’re shopping with someone or if you simply want to sit down and test your new purchase).


What about you? Have you been to Recession Coffee yet? What do you think of the concept or their coffee?  And what would you pay for a cup (and be honest about it!)

Digital Walker sale

Oh and before I forget, here’s another reason to drop by Digital Walker. They’re having the Walker Madness sale from October 14-18 at Shangri-La Plaza Mall. It’s the perfect time to replace your worn out speakers, earphones or maybe buy your sad, banged up phone a new case. See you there?

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