By Jude Aldrich Allaga

Photo Courtesy by Cold Treats / KATravelPh

Just 60 steps away from the burial site of Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi is a quaint fledgling cafe whose ambitions, just like his, were much more significant than uncertainty.

While Spain failed four attempts at conquering the Philippines, Legazpi opposed Muslim rule in 1571, establishing the City of Manila and cementing Spanish colonialization. Five hundred years later, Cold Treats Intramuros glistens just a few meters away from the grave of century-long anecdotes, with its unique history of success.

Majoring in Business, Mc Kenneth Macul founded King'sPawn MilkTea Shop, a self-made milk tea business brewed and assembled by himself three years ago. While he never fancied cold beverages, he had to make an artistic exception by tasting and experimenting with different milk tea recipes, attuning to the trend of the times. In 2020, however, a sudden shift in the public interest urged Macul to aspire beyond a simple milk tea shop.

“Yung first business ko, andun yung lahat ng problems na maeencounter mo… hindi nagsurvive nang ganto katagal kasi nasa trend lang siya.”

This minor lapse in fate leads us to Cold Treats Intramuros today- a walkthrough 40-square-meter café sandwiched within Casa Manila grounds, serving an array of your favorite cold beverages with a risktaker’s twist.

On Sunday, August 21st, I had a swift café getaway at Cold Treats after attending Mass at San Agustin Church.

Their menu ranges from shakes to coffee, lemonade, milk tea, and pastries. A refreshing 16-ounce (all drinks are of this “medium” size) cup of Avocado Graham shake costs you 110 pesos. The graham's sweetness offsets avocado's strong flavor just right, blending a perfectly satisfying yet healthy recipe for shake lovers.

Notably, their Sun and Moon Milk Tea (no, it’s not inspired by the song), worth 115 pesos, has a distinctly authentic flavor, tasting more accurately than most milk tea brands. While I can fault its blandness and lack of pearls, its tempered sugar level compensates for its plain delivery.

On the more mundane spectrum, their 95-peso typical Mango Shake leaves much to be desired. It pales compared to its other fruit drink on the menu, bearing a weaker, not-so-refreshing taste between the two. Fortunately, a 5-peso upgrade with graham is all it takes to turn it into something unique, tasty, and worthwhile.

Among their three available cookies, Cranberry is a flavor I did not expect to savor- but I did. The texture and crunchiness of their Caramel and Chocolate Chip are both to be admired, while Cranberry is a delicious deviation from the norm. Partnered with their Spanish Latte costing 110 pesos, this afternoon coffee-biscuit combination is remarkably one for the books.

Unfortunately, their cheesecake options were unavailable during my brief Intramuros escapade, as their café is still working on expansion. You can find another branch of Cold Treats in front of Mapua University, and Macul eyes for Cold Treats to enter malls before December.

Cold Treats Intramuros opened doors only this May 28th yet has already garnered 10.5 thousand followers on its official Facebook page and the attention of numerous social media vloggers.  “Hindi na kami nahirapan eh,” Macul confesses, despite the challenges of starting a business during the pandemic, “pabalik na yung dati na face-to-face.”

He also considered the shop’s location, Intramuros, being a historically significant district in the capital, as a hotspot for influencer promotion, which was a major factor in the success of his self-made startup business. “Pwede ka mag-vlog kasi maganda yung Intramuros. Nakakukuha kami ng free promotion unlike other coffee shops na you have to contact vloggers for paid promotion,”

Overall, my visit to Cold Treats Intramuros was wholesome. Not only was the owner generous enough to accommodate my request for an interview, the hospitable baristas, the delectable menu, and the tranquil ambiance of the shop made my trip all the more fulfilling.

Five hundred years ago, success might have tasted like triumphant colonialism; who knew that 500 years later, it would taste like your personal favorite cold brew?