For a non-habitual coffee drinker like me, a cup of coffee, however fancy its name is or how complicated it's mixed and served doesn't matter much. It's still a cup of coffee. I don't abhor coffee but I drink it very mild up to the point of dividing a single-serve sachet into two servings, no creamer and just a pinch of sugar.
But I envy those who savor their coffee down to the last drop, taking tiny sips between conversations or while reading the papers. I'm too impatient for that. I usually stir my coffee until it turns lukewarm and I drink it straight, bottoms up. Before, when I drink coffee my limbs would turn to jelly and I would develop palpitations which last well into the next day.
My taste buds started to develop a liking for coffee just last year because back in Palau my buddy Robert always saw to it that I have coffee in the morning, never failing to fix a steaming mug for me and putting it in my car so I have no choice but drink otherwise it will spill. It's noticeable that in less than two years, coffee shops trying to outdo each other in their specialties sprouted out all over Davao city. The concept of coffee shops has also changed, from simple places with a few tables to great comfortable and cozy places to stop by to grab a cup of coffee (or linger on it), hang out with friends or do some work on your computer as most of these coffee shops are wi-fi hotspots.
As part of its "come-on" charm, each coffee shop sports attractive menus advertising offers of espresso, cappuccino, mocha, whiteout, latte, macchiato, Americano or whatever mix of names the coffee shop owners come up with. I usually order the house special or the kind I haven’t tried yet. Internet caf‚s too are serving coffee to their customers, the aroma so tempting that I gave in to the urge while surfing the net in Claveria last week.
"Maam, that's a strong one," the staff told me when I gave my order. I told her I can manage, and was surprised when they served my order. The coffee (espresso something I can't recall) came in a teeny weeny tea cup, with just about two inches of black liquid topped with a creamy bubble. I even thought it unjust for the high price but what the heck it was still coffee anyway. I took a sip and hiccupped. It was so bitter. Served me right for complaining, albeit silently.
Just recently, buddy Gwen and I ordered coffee at BluGre at the Matina Times Square. We both ordered hot cappuccino. I toyed with the straw and stirred my coffee for a while. When I took a sip, it was all bubbles and delicious-tasting froth so I sipped all the way through. Then I stiffened. It was scalding hot and it burned my tongue. I said nothing and when Gwen took a sip of her own coffee, I didn't have time to warn her. She too was burned but unlike me, she was not quiet about it. I guess it shows I need a long time to educate my tastebuds to learn all there is to love and crave for coffee.
(Published in Sun.Star Davao September 23, 2007 )