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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Tibaldo: Third Wave Coffee: 'Coffeeology and Caffeination' (Part 1)

WITH the growing popularity of specialty coffee shops and increasing number of young people who regularly consume blended drinks like Espresso, Latte, Americano, Cappuccino, Frappuccino and similar drinks, venturing in a food and beverage business that offers the above can perhaps make a good livelihood prospect. However, I wonder if such is applicable only to a highly urbanized city like Baguio where tourists abound and thousands of young contact agents works at 24-7. I believe that the presence of business process outsourcing (BPO) offices, the booming of young professionals in the tourism industry and the constant arrival of foreigners like the Koreans has changed the traditional cafes of Baguio into specialty coffee shops.

With what I have heard from Sagada and Bontoc of Mountain Province and Tabuk City of Kalinga, the addiction and craving for such specialty drinks has already reached the uplands and it is not unlikely that these places will soon have Starbucks, Figaro or Gloria Jeans competing with what they already have like Masferre Cafe, Goldfish Cafe, Kalinga Brew and Kalinga Blend.

Over the weekend, I tried several drink preparations or concoctions following some instructions that I followed from youtube. It’s not that I am opening my Newseum Cafe soon but I just want to experience what it’s like to be a barista and drink coffee like a connoisseur. I guess, this is part of what I term as “Coffeeology and Caffeination” that I am into after having covered and attended several coffee related seminars, entrepreneurship workshops, and conferences including a media familiarization tour that my office handled.

In my notes, I have written down several observations that a gourmet coffee shop must have in order to be at par with the rest of the world. It must at least be conducive to the working class as coffee served during work breaks can mean a stimulant to a tired body that can also increase wakefulness.

Since coffee is believed to improve concentration and focus, it must also be served as a take-away drink like what I have observed in Japan many years ago where it is available in coin operated counters so that people can drink the beverage while driving to work.

As the world’s most traded commodity second to oil, those serving coffee must at least have a trained barista who knows the proper brewing, blending and serving coffee to discriminating tasters and consumers. In the internet, one can find numerous online sites of barista and coffee shop organizations and there are netizens who willingly share some tips and ideas about coffee preparations. There is this enterprising guy who demonstrates varied ways and methods on how to roast coffee beans using crude gadgets such as alcohol fired cylinder roaster, popcorn maker and hot air blower. A guy who goes with the username “Yankee Self-sufficiency” prefers the burr method of grinding compared to the blade type which chops the beans at high speed but causing it to heat up in the process.  The burr grind method involves two revolving abrasive surfaces separated by a distance set by the user. When the distance is larger, the resulting ground material is coarser and when it is set closer together, the resulting ground coffee is finer and smaller. Burr mills do not heat the ground product by friction as much as blade grinders, and produce particles of a uniform size determined by the separation between the grinding surfaces.

As a child, I have experienced roasting our backyard harvested and dried coffee the old fashioned way and I remember smelling its aroma all throughout till all the beans turned dark brown. I often get teary eyed with the smoke coming from the burning wood fuel as I cannot leave the roasting pan or stop stirring or else the roasting will be uneven and may result in a bitter taste.

In my home experimentation, it is like learning new things out of an old practice of preparing coffee. I learned that roasted and crushed coffee beans are only good for 18 days and it is even better if it is ground shortly before it is brewed. I tried several methods starting from the usual percolator or drip method, the French press and the use of Moka pot that produces coffee by passing pressurized steam of boiling water through the ground coffee. My curiosity fulfilling weekend spent on coffee and family was truly enriching for me especially on a father’s day. Next weekend, I will attempt to do the Turkish coffee, the Dutch drip and the siphon method using a vacuum coffee maker.
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