Monday, March 07, 2005

:: Coffee as therapy ::

When I'm uptight and under pressure, I turn to... uh, coffee, to relax. I know, it’s strange. When you’re uptight and under pressure, coffee is the last thing you need, if you're a normal person.

But I’m different. I grew up with coffee flowing through my veins. Credit that to—or blame it on, if you like—my paternal grandmother. Coffee flowed freely in her farmhouse in San Juan, Batangas. Good strong barako coffee, made by thowing a fistful of coarsely ground coffee, bought from the town market just that morning, into a pot of water brought to boil over a wood-fed fire. The resulting brew was then filtered through a piece of katsa (as a joke, we would tell our younger cousins that it was filtered through some used socks!), served in a stainless steel pot, and brought out into the dining room to fill the room with its aroma and poured into cheap ceramic cups.

Coffee was served at breakfast, lunch, merienda, and supper. There was no minimum age required for access to the coffee pot, and although the bitter brew was unpalatable to most of the young children, spending summer after summer in that farmhouse meant that we all learned to drink coffee at an earlier age than most other people.

No one was a coffee connoisseur. At least I didn't hear any of my uncles or aunts or older cousins talk about the merits of Liberica versus Arabica or Robusta. We just enjoyed a good strong cup while exchanging jokes and stories after each meal.

After thirty years of drinking coffee, I'm blissfully immune to its effects, and I can nod off in front of my computer monitor half an hour after downing a mug of coffee. I drink it to relax, not to perk up. I prefer to take my coffee in a large mug, and sip it slowly, and just let my mind relax.

These days, my modus operandi is to escape to a nearby coffee shop with a book in hand and just read and relax while sipping a tall coffee of the day (P70 at Starbucks, Colombia or Sulawesi blend preferred)) or a refillable americano (P55 at Cinnzeo).


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