Sip and save: Seven budget-friendly coffee spots around UST

AS STUDENTS rush to their buildings each morning, the smell of freshly brewed coffee trails them, filling the air with aromatic flavors. 

Coffee has become a morning staple, though it often comes at a hefty price. But it does not have to take a huge chunk from the daily allowance of students who need something to perk them up as they start a new day.

Here are seven coffee spots with less than P100 offerings for Thomasians with a tight budget.

Heyday Cafe

Iced Americano from Heyday Cafe. Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento and Art by Janssen Judd Romero/THE FLAME

Along G. Tolentino Street hides a chic cafe with an P85 Americano, with no extra charge for the sweetened version. With beans brewed to perfection, this wake-up cup encapsulates the smokey relish of a strong and authentic Americano.

If you are seeking a hideout with only your laptop and a drink, Heyday Cafe might just be your next go-to spot. Heyday Cafe’s top-notch and artsy interior is just a bonus: a perfect hub for creatives. If you’re lucky enough, you may even catch an open mic night featuring bands, artists and poets.

Tomo Coffee

There is a reason why long lines form within the narrow and often smoke-filled Antonio Street.

From morning to afternoon, students crowd around a tiny coffee stall bearing a holy grail of its own league: Tomo Coffee. Its overwhelmingly wide array of beverages is enough to rival the first high-end coffee shop you could think of.

The selling point would be its unbelievably low charge for a soul-awakening treat, hot or cold. With just P70, you can get the best Americano that the Dapitan area has to offer.

Other best-seller coffees include Tomo Latte, Cafe Latte, Spanish Latte, White Mocha Latte, Caramel Macchiato, and Coffee Jelly, with prices ranging from P85 to P105. There are also non-coffee alternatives, including honey ginger tea, chocolate, matcha latte, and strawberry over ice.

7/11 City Blends

7/11 City Blends French Vanilla Latte. Photo by Ron Kyle Gabrielle Reyes and Art by Natalie Reign Pacat/ THE FLAME

Nothing hits home like 7/11. With branches in almost every corner, Thomasians can easily get waking relief within walking distance — probably the most affordable one.

With prices ranging from P35 to P55, 7/11’s City Blends are the thrifty’s go-to, but they do come with setbacks. The coffee tastes artificial and is not much different compared to store-bought 3-in-1 coffee. It does not give a distinct taste and is instead diluted, but unexpectedly stays warm even after 30 minutes upon ordering.

The French Vanilla, being the best-seller, offers more than what its price suggests and delicately gives a hint of sweetness in the usual bitterness of the beans. Albeit not too pungent, it does the job and satisfies the need for a quick go-to coffee.

Rabbit Hole 

Hot Americano from Rabbit Hole. Photo by Ron Kyle Gabrielle Reyes and Art by Natalie Reign Pacat/ THE FLAME

It is not just in fairytales where one might chance upon an interesting rabbit hole. From España, take a turn to Extremadura Street to find the Rabbit Hole, a place for both coffee lovers and music enthusiasts.

There is an eye-catching ambiance to the dimly lit place whose walls are adorned with record collections.

The menu is extensive with food and drinks from across different eras and places. With caffeine beverages ranging from P100 to P140, it is more than worth it to spend the extra dime. The Americano, which was served hot, and also the cheapest drink on the menu, did not disappoint.

It was brewed by trained baristas and does not taste artificial at all. The creamy texture rivals the diluted feeling of instant coffee, its taste matching the soothing aroma of strong coffee beans, celebrating the raw beauty of simplicity. This unassuming cup holds more than just coffee; it is an invitation to explore the depths of flavor hidden within their glass mugs.


Mcdonald’s McCafé. Photo by Ron Kyle Gabrielle Reyes and Art by Kirstin Isabelle Osorio/ THE FLAME

While the fastfood chain is known for its burgers, crispy chicken fillets and soft-served Mcflurry, McDonald’s coffee is severely underrated. The beverage’s taste is also great for its price.

The coffee’s base is bitter and resembles the flavor of classic Black Americano. The aroma, rich and inviting, hints at the care put into selecting quality beans. It has a fragrance that promises a comforting start to the day.

The establishment also provides sugar and creamer for additional tweaking and is always freshly brewed. Overall, it truly does complement its wide menu of breakfast meals and is a great option to keep one awake in the Night Classroom.


Kkopi’s White Chocolate Iced Latte. Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento and Art by Kirstin Isabelle Osorio/ THE FLAME

Deeper into Antonio Street is a gem for college students struggling to budget the last of their allowance on a Friday. With two price selections, P39 for solo and P49 for jumbo, you get an adequate selection of either iced latte, hot latte, americano, or even milk tea.

You would think that with a price like that, it is likely not to deliver, but that’s just not the case with KKOPI. Enclosed in this budget-friendly morning cup is quality coffee — an absolute symphony of roasted enchantment to awaken you.

Daegu Korean Supermarket

Earl Grey Cafe Latte Daegu Korean Supermarket. Photo by Ron Kyle Gabrielle Reyes and Art by Kirstin Isabelle Osorio/ THE FLAME

Discovering the Earl Grey coffee from Daegu Korean Supermarket in España feels like finding a diamond in the rough. It is least expected but is nonetheless a welcome addition to the list.

The delicate and elegant earthiness of tea fits the strong caress of coffee in your throat. Despite being pre-made and processed, the beverage has a sense of familiarity with a flavor that hits close to home as a homage to iced tea and frappuccinos. The variety and affordability of options, ranging from P65 to P115, is a factor that Daegu wins over any other shop in this list.

Embarking on a quest for your daily caffeine fix does not have to dent your wallet, considering these alternatives waiting to be explored. From cozy neighborhood cafes to hidden gems, there is a great roster of affordable coffee options that cater to diverse preferences while taking into account the usual college budget. F – Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento and Ron Kyle Gabrielle Reyes

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