There are plenty of good coffee shops in little Dumaguete – but you sometimes need to search for them, as they may be small, off the beaten path, or just don’t do a good job of advertising or getting their name out. But with Duma being the home of prestigious Silliman University – as well as hosting 30,000 total university students at any given time thanks to St. Pauls, Foundation U, and others, you know that there’s a serious need for caffeinated beverages!
Poppy Coffee in Dumaguete
Of the many options, I find myself stopping in Poppy Coffee from time to time. Unlike in the United States where coffee drinking is mostly a morning ritual, and coffee shops are thriving most well before noon, cafes go all day and well into the night here, and are more active and buzzing when the sun goes down. In fact, in small-town, socially stunted Dumaguete, going to meet friends at a coffee shop or hanging out for a cup of Joe while you work or just relax and listen to music is a great option.
I first started going to Poppy for practical reasons – it was located in the Portal West building right by the gym I used to go to on the third floor there. So I’d stop by Poppy Coffee first, grab a latte, do a little bit of work, and and then head upstairs to get my workout on.
I found Poppy to be friendly, inviting, and have some seriously underrated coffee. They are definitely not cheap, but still a little less than the super popular Bo’s Coffee franchise that sits right on the boulevard. But I find the quality of their coffee and their baristas to be better skilled than most in town. It’s also a group effort, as they are over staffed at any given time – a great thing in the Philippines where service often lags behind! There are plenty of places to sit and hang out inside of Poppy, including individual small tables, bigger booths, and some weird benches against one wall. You can also scoot up a spiral staircase and sit in their upstairs loft area, which offers a great view, but I find it’s often full with other patrons.
With all of the love and personal service you get at Poppy’s, you also can expect a little longer wait time, and it’s definitely not a place to get in and out quickly or get your coffee to go if you’re in a rush. Their wi-fi is a good deal underwhelming, too, and you’ll connect but it crawls along when the place is full and most people are working or browsing on their devices. But everyone once and a while, just ask them to reset the router and it will speed you up temporarily.
I also think they can turn the aircon up a good deal, as it can get a little stuffy in there and two sides of the cafes are windows to the outside so it gets a lot of sun. It’s more of a local café than a foreigner hangout, so they don’t seem to mind the heat as much – but even a fan would help.
But all in all, I dig Poppy Coffee and will keep going there when I head to the gym or just have some work to bang out over a great cup of coffee.