Starbucks Davao

Starbucks Davao 3.00/5(60.00%) 2 votes

For most people, if you think of coffee, Starbucks comes to mind.  Perhaps it is not your first thought, but it will be a thought that will cross your mind, I am sure.  Starbucks is the giant when it comes to coffee shops worldwide.

I came from Washington State in the USA, and since Starbucks originated in Seattle, Washington, well, there were plenty of Starbucks in the area where I lived.  While I did not live in Seattle, few would argue that Seattle is a city that has probably one of the biggest coffee cultures in the United States.  People in Seattle, and the surrounding area, drink coffee at all times of day, and many drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day.

When we moved to the Philippines in 2000, the culture of coffee here was much different than back in Washington.  Even up to today, the majority of Filipinos drink instant coffee when they drink coffee at all.  Nescafe and other brands of instant coffee are the market leaders here.  Back in 2000 when we moved here, it was actually hard to find a cup of brewed coffee at any restaurant or even to find a shop that specialized in coffee.  Over the years, things have gotten better, in terms of coffee and many other parts of life as well.

When we moved to Davao in 2002, we found that there were a number of shops where you could get a good cup of brewed coffee.  Probably the market leader in Davao for coffee was Blugre Coffee Shop.  When we first moved here they had two locations, but over the years they have expanded, and have locations in many parts of town now.  In the years since we moved to Davao, the city has become the Coffee capitol of the Philippines in many senses, with literally hundreds of coffee shops around town.  Davao City came to have a similar coffee culture to what is present in Seattle, to be honest.

For most of these years, the coffee shops in Davao were almost exclusively home grown Davao entities.  A little over a year ago, though, Starbucks opened in Davao.  Starbucks has been in Manila for years, but now they have started spreading to the rest of the country.  The original Starbucks in Davao opened in May 2011, at Abreeza Mall.  I went there a few times.  To be honest, it is a tiny shop, and is always packed full of customers.  It can be hard to get a table, or even just a chair in Starbucks Abreeza.  Additionally, Abreeza is quite a distance from where I live, so because of these factors, I never went to Starbucks very often.  About 6 months ago, or so, Starbucks opened a second location, at SM City Davao, which is quite near to where I live.

The first time that I visited Starbucks SM, I was amazed at how large it is!  I would guess that it is at least 5 or 6 times the size of Starbucks Abreeza.  Comfortable with nice furniture and such too.  The ambiance is great.

Let me say, I am not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee.  Certainly, I don’t feel it is any better than the coffee sold at other locally grown Davao coffee shops.  But, Starbucks does have drinks other than coffee, and some of them are quite good.  For one thing, I enjoy the selection of teas at Starbucks.

One of the downsides at Starbucks (both Davao locations) is that, in my opinion, the service is quite poor.  Not only do I think that, but I have talked to many other people who tell me the same thing.  I guess they don’t train their employees well enough.  I often feel that the employees are too busy just repeating a script that they have been trained to say, instead of actually listening to what the customer is saying.  That can lead to bad feelings when you are trying to buy something from them, and it is apparent that they are not listening to you.

Overall, though, Starbucks is a good place to hang out.  Yeah, there are inconveniences, and I hope those improve with time, but overall I like the place.  A lot of people felt that Starbucks would be quite expensive compared to local Davao coffee shops, but I have found that their pricing is right on par with the competition.  I can’t complain at all about their pricing.

If you are in Davao, give Starbucks a try.  I hope you will like the place.


  1. Frank Bohlert says

    Hi Bob,
    it is good to see the availability of proper coffee in Davao, there are coffee shops in Rizal, Manila, but I have yet to find a good coffee store in Taytay!

    • says

      Hi Frank – Yes, coffee has been a culture in Davao for at least a decade now, and there is a lot of good coffee here. Come down for a visit and I’ll buy you a cup!

  2. David S says

    I live in Seattle and enjoy stopping in Starbucks as a treat from time to time. I really enjoyed it when I was in PI. Home away from home. Not sure everyone can afford it though. They are pricey even for here.

    • says

      That is very true, David. It is amazing, but these coffee shops are full of people day in and day out. It isn’t cheap.. where does the money come from?

  3. Steve Davenport says


    What part of Washington state did you live in? I currently live in Bothell and have lived in Lynnwood and Seattle. I’d say that my love for coffee is the only thing that makes me a stereotypical Washingtonian.

    For those of you not familiar with this region, we have countless Starbucks locations in addition to a couple of other chains like Tully’s and Seattle’s Best Coffee. We’ve also got little drive through coffee shacks on nearly every corner.

    I don’t find it surprising that Starbucks has a presence in the Philippines. Filipinos do love their coffee and there are enough A and B class folks in any major metropolitan area to support at least one or two of these establishments.

    • says

      Hi Steve – I was born in Port Townsend, Washington, but moved to California when I was 2 years old. I returned to live in Washington again when I was in my 20′s, this time in Vancouver, Washington, down near Portland, OR. I lived in the Vancouver area until moving to the Philippines when I was 38.

  4. Jhazz says

    Hi Bob! I’m from Davao. I mean I am here in Davao but I haven’t got any chance to go there (Starbucks – SM Davao). But I’m curious, do they have a coffee flavored ice cream? Both coffee and ice cream are my favorites, I love ‘em and I’d like to treat myself on the 26th of July since it’s my birthday. :)

      • Jhazz says

        Awww I thought they have. :( I saw a lot of starbucks coffee flavored ice cream pictures on tumblr. I’m kinda frustrated. :( Anyways, can you give me any recommendations on what flavor they serve is great? I love a bitter-(and a lil)sweet taste of coffee.
        Thanks by the way for your response. :)

  5. CydFreya says

    hello there! I’ve been to SM starbucks..but i didnt taste their coffee yet..
    but for now…i do have my intervw there..wish me all the luck! ;]
    i wanna work in there…

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