Saturday, March 19, 2011

Uhm, Excuse Me, There's Shit In My Coffee!

One of the many things I can't do without is coffee. I need it to start my day and I gotta have it right after my last meal for the day.

I grew up knowing only one kind of coffee- instant. the kind that came from the bevelled Nescafe  glass containers (that they marketed as "diamond glass")  that my Lola Pacing would rinse and scrub to turn into drinking glasses. Actually, she also used it as a coffee mug even if the glass was too hot to hold when she pumps out the hot water from the thermos. And if any of the grandkids broke a glass, she wouldn't mind so much as the replacement was just one grocery day away.
click on the photo to see the TV Commercial
The coffee experience in the 80's was pretty much just black, with sugar or with cream. Then the Frappe was introduced. Cold coffee was my introduction to coffee drinking. It was summer and there was nothing to drink but cold water from the fridge or lukewarm water from the tap. As I had no baon, I had no money to buy softdrinks from the sari-sari store. More so, the chocolate drinks of fruit juices in tetrabrick packaging from Glo-ri grocery. I still remember how I made myself a frappe and cleaned up the mess  I made in the kitchen, sat under an aratiles tree and drank my first glass of cold coffee.

Fast forward to 1997. The first Starbucks store opens in 6750. Now a working girl  (not that kind,  you green minded shithead) with some money to spend. I was astounded at the price of coffee. It cost more than my daily commute. But what the heck! Memories of my bootleg ice cold frappe came rushing back, steam rolling my feet all the way to Starbucks. After a few visits, Starbucks lost its appeal. Becoming more of a necessity for mornings when I needed a quick pick me up on busy, shitty Monday mornings. And when I got bored in the office I would schedule meetings at Figaro,  Seattle's Best, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Gloria Jeans (I so do not recommend the coffee in this joint), Bo's Coffee, etcetera, etcetera. My coffee consumption increased and so did my productivity. Any correlation there? I hope not.

Coffee drinking had gone on to be complicated. Now you had to choose between sizes (large, venti, schmenti), caffeine content (Decaf? Are you pregnant?), sugar type (brown, white, and the carcinogeninc suspect sugar-free sweetener), cream or milk, with froth or no froth, with cream or none, etcetera, etcetera.

When I used to train people in marketing, I used the Starbucks analogy every time I had to explain the power of choice. Back in the day, when life was simpler and all you had to do was say, "Miss, pa order nga ng kape" all you got was that, a hot cuppa Joe. Now, because you gotta feel empowered, you gotta make choices- starting with how you like your coffee.  And that is how people who have to have Starbucks in the morning start their day... the abundance of choices and decisions eating up their time, instead of having just a cuppa, so they can have some quiet time before they rejoin the rat race.

I have gone back to drinking my coffee the old school way. In mugs, black with just a little sugar. I now enjoy brews with blends I can distinguish. I'm no ubër coffee connoiseur  but I do like an occasional espresso from the Amici and the filipino in me never abides by the Italian rule of no milk in you coffee after 10 AM (because milk will leave you with a smaller appetite for lunch or dinner).

I also like the ocassional exteme coffee adventure. So when I got the chance to have Kape Alamid or civet cat coffee at Ritual at The Collective, Makati's latest hubbub for the artsy fartsy, I  swallowed my fears.

This benign dark amber is also known as Kopi Luwak in Indonesia, Kape Laku in East Timor, cà phê Chồn in Vietnam. And it doesn't smell or taste like shit at all.

That's because the coffee beans that the Asian Palm Civet has eaten and passed though its digestive system has been washed, sun-dried, roasted and brewed. For something that's passed through a body part where the sun don't shine, the aroma of the Kape Alamid has a mild sweetness that reminds me of Benguet coffee.  The mildness doesn't seem to justify why its touted as the most expensive coffee.

The brew I was served was a bit on the watery side and arabica-based so I don't know if that's how it was supposed to taste. I guess, this coffee adventure will have a sequel. Until the next coffee adventure, then.

No comments:

Post a Comment