Before I became a coffee convert, I enjoyed immensely tea of different concoctions, much especially nai cha or milk tea which had me at hello in Chowking. Later on, I had the most flavorful nai cha I've ever tasted in Casa Cittadini prepared by the kind Indian nun sister Selena Joseph during one of the afternoons my students and I came to visit.
To set the record straight: I
am was not a coffee drinker. Well, I drank coffee, the 3-in1 variety and that was it. For me, all coffee tasted the same: bitter. You add creamer and sugar, and yes, they still tasted the same, brewed or three-in-one.
I don't really have good memories of coffee. The earliest I had was Dragon Coffee--the cheap coffee packed in transparent triangular plastic with the yellow dragon print and was sold in sari-sari stores and was the star of the show during wake in the provinces. Then, there was Taster's Choice (which I really never tasted) my aunts and grandmother would send from the States. In late 90s when coffee shops began to sprout in Cebu City, I hitched the bandwagon. I had brewed coffee in tropical weather and that was insane! Looking back, it wasn't really much about the weather after all. It was more of keeping up a yuppie lifestyle and bond with friends.
The monk's blend in Benedictine Monastery in Malaybalay, Bukidnon figured prominently as a good cup because it was free-flowing round the clock and it had me palpitating the whole time. Otherwise, I forgot how it tasted already.
Then I traveled to Viet Nam for the first leg of my Indochina trip. I arrived in the small hours and found myself in the backpackers' district called De Tham Street waiting for sunrise. Upon the prodding of the Filipina I met in the arrival lounge of Saigon's Tan Son Nhat airport, we got ourselves Vietnamese coffee while she waited for the first bus to Cambodia. The coffee preparation was appealing--the coffee mixture was placed on top a tin cover and had it flow drop by drop to another cup underneath. But then again, it still tasted bitter. Awfully bitter. Not my cuppa!
I didn't really get it why people were so agog about coffee! Not until I had that one first unforgettable cup. The one cup that changed the way I look at coffee. The kind of coffee that titillated my palate, rich and chocolatey with a creamy body and with a long and clean finish.
The pack I got from an organic farm near Bacolod was supposed to be a pasalubong for my coffee-loving colleagues. With no intention to drink, not even a cup, I handed out the pack to the colleagues the next day. The freshly brewed coffee painted a smile on their faces while the first-time drinkers complained about the bitter taste. They all got high just the same as the afternoon wore on.
In a twist of fate, W made me a cup. The sugar and cream she added was just perfect. One creamy cup with a hint of dark chocolate was enough to send me to caffeine heaven. My mouth had just had an orgasm! It was one good cup without the greasy, bitter aftertaste. One cup led to another and before I knew it, I had a cup too many. The coffee like extraordinary painting or poetry blew the top of my head. The details of images inside my head was crisp and clear I could write a novel. I stopped wondering why a few good writers I know need their caffeine fix before they begin writing a story or poem.
I bought my pack in Fresh Start Organics, an organic farm in Silay City when I attended the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards Visayas. I checked the website and found out it will open a store soon in The Walk, Robinson's Bacolod. Wheeew! That's seven hours by bus from Dumaguete! The thought of no coffee makes me shiver already!
To get to Fresh Start Organics farm, kindly inquire at Silay Tourism Office. The tourism office arranged everything for us (bloggers). You may also call Freshstart at telephone number (034) 441.1490 or shoot them a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.freshstartorganic.com