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Geeking-Out on Coffee

I am what you would call a coffee lover. My mornings are not complete without a morning jolt. My meetings become tedious without a cup of joe. My days are ruined if I do not get my usual fix of caffeine infusion. So yes, “lover” might be kind of an understatement.


It should therefore be no surprise that one of the retail expansions our business has been focusing on is coffee. Just about a week ago, I visited our newest Coffee Project branch in River Drive, San Nicolas III. It was a beautiful branch with a unique vibe with that familiar coffee aroma that envelops you once you enter. I also visited The Crossing Cafe in Molino, Bacoor Cavite, which follows Coffee Project’s Dear Joe and Ruined Project.


Coffee has such a complicated history. According to the Harvard School of Public Health coffee was included in a list of possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991. But in 2016 several scientific studies have proven that coffee does not result to “an increased risk of cancer; on the contrary, there was a decreased risk of certain cancers among those who drink coffee regularly.” 


In fact, many studies have concluded that “when consumed in moderation, coffee can be considered a healthy beverage. Furthermore, research has determined that consumption of 3 to 5 standard cups of coffee daily has been consistently associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Johns Hopkins Medicine also reported that aside from the “perks” of coffee drinking it can also reduce your risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease, a stroke and colon cancer.


But to be honest, I do not consume coffee primarily because of its health benefits. It is probably mostly psychological, but I like the stimulation it provides even before drinking it. Just the aroma of whole beans being grounded is enough to perk me out of a stupor. When I conduct meetings — before the pandemic — I usually do it in one of the Coffee Project branches. They are, in my book, better than any conference rooms or meeting rooms you will find inside posh offices in business districts.


A reasonable amount of coffee a day does promote “alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate.” And I write this from my own experience. I usually wake up around 3:30 in the morning. I like the solitude of the early morning. My mind is clear; my perception impeccable, it’s almost as if I can hear myself think. The aroma of the coffee beans, the whirring of the coffee machine, and the sensation of that first warm sip while the rest of the world still sleeps is something I truly enjoy.


Then I have multiple meetings the whole day. They are usually business-related but especially during these times, some are political meetings. It cannot be avoided that at some point, in the middle of these marathon meetings, I feel less enthused, low in energy. But a cup of coffee can easily fix this. It can jolt me back into the thick of things.


But beyond the personal pleasures derived from coffee, the popular beverage is also a social lubricant of sorts. We arrange to meet friends at coffee shops (“Tara, kape tayo!”), we make plans at coffee shops (“Let’s meet over coffee”), and, my favorite — kill time at coffee shops. I don’t mind sitting alone at a coffee shop for hours just holding a cup of good coffee watching the world go by and letting my mind wander.


Coffee has also provided inspiration to many people. Artists, journalists, politicians, and, in general, thinkers all have a favorite coffee place hang-out. The Filipino term “kapihan” encapsulates this social gathering. It refers to a place where a community drinks coffee and more importantly, engages in conversation. It also started this trend among journalists of inviting guests for a discussion of issues “kapihan-style.”


Some of you are probably reading this paper while you enjoy a cup of coffee. There is something elegant, even chic in sitting on your most comfortable spot, holding a paper with both hands and reaching out for your coffee in between flipping the pages of the newspaper, the smell of newsprint melding with the coffee aroma. Or maybe as you flip through the touchscreen of your tablet. It’s not as elegant but hey, as long as you enjoy that cup of joe.



Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar