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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Tibaldo: Third Wave Coffee: 'Coffeeology and Caffeination' (Part 2)

COLD coffee drink is not yet common in the Philippines but canned lattes and espressos are already available in 24 hour kiosks and stop-over stores along highways. I prefer this cold drink to keep me going during long drives especially that travelling from Baguio to Manila and back nowadays is mostly on expressways. But, should I take a power nap along these stopovers especially at night time, I prefer the regular steaming coffee with its invigorating aroma.

During provincial travels like in Lagawe, Ifugao, where I am writing this column, its either you are offered kettle brewed coffee or just hot water and a sachet of three-in-ones. It is common in the Philippines to see assortments of 3-in-1 coffee in carinderias or sari-sari stores and one can have a hot drink in a styrofoam cup for as low as P8 to P15 depending on where you are buying from. I believe that there is value added to the store's services if freshly brewed coffee can be had instead of the instant mix of powdered coffee, cream, sugar in a sachet poured into hot water. My carinderia breakfast in Ifugao reminds me of the one I had in Kalinga three days earlier where Michele Vargas of the Golden Berries Hotel personally brewed the coffee served.

Back to my topic on Coffeeology and Caffeination, it has been noted that Turkish coffee is the original and natural Viagra because it is "as sweet as love and black as hell."

In my online coffee-ducation, I learned how to prepare Greek coffee from one who is certainly not a geek. A Greek lady demonstrated a simple process using a kettle of water poured with coffee grounds. The simple process she advices is to watch the rising of the froth and do not over boil.

A video upload by Mark Wain of Caffe Luxxe demonstrates three simple brewing methods namely, French Press, Chemex coffee and Pour over. Accordingly, flavor is slightly deeper through these methods but the coffee grounds should be a little coarse and not too fine. The water poured for the French press should not be boiling and must steep for about 4 minutes.

I have a vacuum coffee maker that operates like a siphon. It has two cylinders or vessels that when the lower vessel is heated, its vapor pressure pushes hot water up into the upper vessel where ground coffee is placed. Heating is stopped when the lower vessel is emptied allowing the brew to fall back down into it through gravity. The coffee can then be poured from the lower chamber into separate cups for serving.

I have a Moka pot coffee maker that functions like an espresso maker only, it is heated using a stove. The iconic Moka pot by Vialetti of Italy forces water up from the bottom chamber through a third middle chamber containing the coffee grounds to the top chamber which has an air gap to prevent the brewed coffee from returning downwards. The prepared coffee is then poured off from the top.

Often incorrectly spelled expresso, Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso has creamy foam called crema on top of the extract and it is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods. This coffee brewing method is also the base for other drinks such as a cafè latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha, or Americano.

Because of its pressurized method, more caffeine is extracted from the coffee grounds than most coffee servings, but because the espresso cup is much smaller, the total caffeine content can be lesser than a mug of standard brewed coffee.

The presence of specialty coffee shops in urban places and increasing number of snack bars and eateries serving freshly brewed coffee in the provinces down to the Barangays is actually part of our being Filipinos. There is mutual respect if parties agree to sit on a table and sip coffee together. Many friendships and understandings were forged over a cup of coffee and many deeds and contracts were likewise penned with both parties agreeing to have coffee after. When one invites "intayo ag-kape!" or "mag kape tayo", it does not necessarily mean that both parties must take that drink for its caffeine fix but rather, it is a gesture of goodwill among friends. No matter how we prepare our brew, the important thing is we enjoy doing it. After all, it is only coffee.
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