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Serving coffee for the love of it at Sulok Coffee

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Caffeine is not a fix at Sulok Coffee. The specialty coffee cart conducts its business away from the many notions associated with popular coffee culture: fuel, palpitation, and caffeine kick. For its Founder and Managing Director Miguel Vasquez, not participating in that rat race has brought him fulfillment in unexpected ways. He takes each sip as a reminder to take things slow — a rest from the noise, a respite from the flurry.  

“I use coffee as a means of slow living,” Miguel shared with adobo Magazine. Whether a leisurely sip in the morning, or that comforting break from work on the day throughout, coffee plays a role in not overfilling his days, something that he decided to share through his pop-up coffee cart.  

Despite Sulok being one year young, coffee is embedded in Miguel’s childhood. Growing up in a family of professed coffee addicts, he has no shortage of experiences involving the drink. From enjoying the Makati café chain that offered the first latte art in the country to working part-time as a barista, he knew that his passion always leaned towards sharing quality coffee.


“In 1997, we were at the opening of the first ever Starbucks [in the Philippines]. Me, my lolo, and my dad, were at the opening at 6750 Makati, and my lolo ordered coffee. At the time I couldn’t drink coffee, so I ordered hot milk with cinnamon,” he recounted. This early encounter was followed by a lifetime of coffee devotion: scouring shops for beans, café hopping, planning overseas trips with café pilgrimage in which he would imagine his own shop someday.

“Coffee is such an exciting world, because it gives you different taste palates depending on what you want.”

Much like how coffee connoisseurs have made drinks an extension of their personalities, Miguel shared that there is no universal perfect cup of coffee. The same way everyone has a favorite ice cream flavor, “coffee is more of a unique taste per individual.”

“The perfect cup is a cup you enjoy and brings you joy,” Miguel said. In Sulok’s case, they craft the balance in each drink: not too sugary, not too milky, but with each flavor profile present. With every grind of the espresso machine, the hissing of the milk steaming, Sulok serves well thought-out classic options or its signature take Tisoy (Espresso with vanilla and condensed milk) or Manila Sky Latte (an espresso with vanilla and hint of cinnamon.)

Miguel chalks it up to the person behind the counter — or in this case, the cart — who scrupulously crafts each drink from beans to cup. A good barista tends to the calibration of the machine, he explained. “What people often overlook is a good barista that can calibrate the beans every day, every event to perfection. Calibration is one of the most important things that you will need because that actually brings out the flavor of the coffee.”  

Sulok distinguishes itself from the rapidly rising coffee culture with its very ethos: hinay-hinay lang. Roughly translating to take it slow, but also be gradual, the phrase was his consideration when developing the Sulok brand: somewhat equivalent to the siesta, or the habitual tambay when around good company.

“If you’re having a bad day and you just want to have your favorite cup of coffee for 10 minutes, you’ll feel good.”

Serving coffee for the love of it at Sulok Coffee 2024 ins 6

With a concise drinks menu and neat concept, Sulok shows promise from its humble corner coffee cart. Whether they go the way of the instantly booming coffee kiosks, Sulok is not one to partake in the people-pleasing approach of business. Miguel shared, “Take out the pressure and fill that cup with enjoyment and passion.”

Partner with adobo Magazine

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