What better way to start up and wrap up a day than over a cup of coffee? Way back in college, I took to drinking coffee like I drank water. I always think of what made me a coffeeholic now. I think I have my dad to “accuse” for that, since he taught how to make a good cup of instant Nescafe when I was young. I had to take a sip before serving it to him. Until gradually, the sip turned into a teaspoonful, into sharing a cup of coffee with him till now, 2-3 cups of freshly brewed coffee a day for me. I still share a cup of coffee with my dad, though, whenever I am home.
Back then in Los Baños, a cup of brewed coffee was difficult to be had. That’s why I relish the thought of going to IRRI library to research(as an excuse, hehehe) then having a cup of brewed coffee in IRRI’s cafeteria. It cost around 1.50 then, with milk and sugar already. Now, it costs around 7 pesos and it tastes so bland.
There are other options though. If you find yourself at IRRI, they have a coffee shop that offers freshly brewed coffee, cakes, pastries and pasta. It is operated by Bean Hub, which has another branch at Vega Mall. A cup of barako coffee is only 20 pesos. Good enough to wake you up.
Outside the UP Gate, just walk along Grove and you will find coffee shops dotting Lopez Avenue all the way to Agapita. Among the notable ones are Bean Hub (Vega Mall and IRRI), Coffee Blends (in front of Agrix), Ristretto (Agapita), Isis (LB Square) and Café Amalia (Agapita). They also offer pasta, sandwiches and cakes to complement your coffee experience. Coffee Blends, Isis and Ristretto close quite late so they are good choices to go for after-dinner coffee.
For a coffeholic like me, going to coffee shops could be very expensive. So I got my own coffee maker and brew my own coffee. I have one at the apartment and maintain the office coffee maker. This poses another quest as to what coffee should I buy for brewing. As much as possible, I try to buy locally produced coffee. So far I’ve tried kapeng barako from Batangas, Aguinaldo blend from Cavite, Benguet Gold from Benguet and Monks Blend from Bukidnon. I get coffee as pasalabung from abroad and my favorite is the Don Francisco Vanilla Nut coffee I usually request from my cousins. From Quebec, where I went to recently, I got to talking about coffee with a French-Canadian and she gave me a bag of coffee granules from a Quebecoise cafe.
But those branded coffees are still expensive. Fortunately, I have discovered that Robinson’s supermarket sells barako coffee beans and they can grind it for you. It is by far, the best barako coffee I have tasted.