I am a certified coffee lover. It may have started when I was in 5th grade. My mother asked me to prepare coffee for her. I put hot water in a cup, scooped more than half a teaspoon of Nescafe instant coffee, and finally added a teaspoon of sugar. After tasting it, I almost spat it out because it was bitter. But after several days of doing that, I acquired the taste of coffee. Eventually, coffee became a constant companion for late night writing and meetings.
Instant coffee used to be the craze in the Philippines. It probably still is. I don’t know why but it may have been because of advertisements on the radio and TV. Instant coffee, particularly Nescafe’s, is a poor substitute for real coffee beans! Sure it takes more work to brew coffee beans but I know better now.
3-in-1 Coffee? No Way!
When I started working, cafes such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and a bunch of others, started showing up in the Philippines. I discovered the joy of drinking brewed coffee! It has a rich, strong flavor, as opposed to the bland, generic taste of instant coffee. Don’t even get me started on the abominable 3-in-1 ultrasweet coffee being sold in the markets of the Philippines!
Those pesky 3-in-1 coffee sachets probably got me started drinking black, unadulterated coffee. I had several coffee buddies who could consume mugs and mugs of this glorious dark beverage. Whenever I go to Baguio, I would go to the market and buy at least a kilo of coffee beans, ask the store attendants to grind it for me, and I will bring it back down to Manila.
For several times, I tried to give up coffee. I succeeded, maybe, for about 2 weeks at the most. But I just couldn’t shake it off.
After all, coffee isn’t just a simple hot beverage.
It represents so much more! Time spent with friends, conversations–silly or profound, or even time spent in solitude–thinking about life and work and what pursuits to go after. It is also a constant companion for all the meetings, brainstorming sessions, and late night preparations for events and programs.
In the parsonages where I grew up, coffee always adorned our dining and living rooms. (Parsonages is the term used for a house assigned to a Pastor serving in a church). Even in the heat of any day in the Philippines, my parents offered coffee to church parishioners asking for prayers, bringing food over, or just coming by for a quick visit.
In my mind, coffee is strongly associated with hospitality.
My mornings are not complete without coffee. That is why in our new apartment, I have a cozy coffee station. Since I discovered that freshly ground coffee is the best, I invested on a good coffee burr grinder! To top it off, I have a single serve Hamilton Beach coffee maker. Nope it is not a Keurig. I am not a big fan of those one-time use plastic K-cups that generate too much waste!
Did I say that by “invested” I meant spending $5 for the coffee grinder and another $5 for the coffee maker? The best things in life are almost free.