Yemen and Ethiopian beans, and 3 press pots

Green beans and French presses

Green beans and French presses

Wow, what a great day today! Two packages arrived. All related to coffee, of course!

First is the 15-pound USPS flatrate box, containing, what else, green coffee beans — 5 lbs of Yemen Hufashi and 10 lbs of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. As usual, distributed at GCBC, sourced from Café Imports. These coffees are my belated birthday gift for myself, as I mentioned in my post a few weeks back. The package reached Iligan, from the US, in 13 days. Not bad.

Yemeni and Ethiopian coffees, ahhh …. still my favorite after two years into this roasting hobby. The Yemen cupped an average of 88.6 at GCBC, while the Yirg averaged at 89.2. I got more of the Yirg simply coz it’s cheaper.

The second came in an LBC package — tree small-sized French presses. These are the plungers I traded with my sangay for three bigger ones, so I could hoard more and more of these press pots, which is now my favorite coffee maker. A proud owner of 8 French presses!

I’m gonna be busy roasting some beans tonight!
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A trip to coffeeland

With ripe coffee cherries. [Photo by Roger]

With ripe coffee cherries. Photo by Roger

My first encounter with a coffee plant was in 4th grade, when our teacher, Mrs. Abragan, ordered me and a classmate to go look for some branches for the class Christmas tree. Candidates were that of a jackfruit, or coffee, coz they branch out beautifully. We saw the coffee tree first. So we cut it. It didn’t cross our mind that there has got to be an owner somewhere. When the farmer saw us, he unleashed his dogs. We ran as fast as we could, the coffee tree in tow. I had to jump through a barbed wire as high as my chest, and hurdled it easily. My slippers didn’t even let go in the mud. So that afternoon, our class had a Christmas tree!

I’ve seen coffee trees since then, the most of them was during a trip to Patikul in Sulu island summer of last year. The coffee culture in Sulu goes way back, maybe coz Sulu has among the oldest history in the Philippines, and the Tausugs’ trade with the rest of Asia is well documented. There, they won’t offer you soft drinks as in the rest of the Philippines; they’d offer coffee instead. But really sweet coffee, poured into your cup from large kettles. The coffee trees were just along the highway, the road connecting Patikul to capital Jolo. As far as I could tell, they were of the Robusta variety. They appear to also just grow everywhere, not really farmed. But going to a coffee farm in a place like Sulu just didn’t cross my mind, and I have no plans, too.

Since getting into this hobby, I’ve long wished visiting a coffee farm. If I’ve been chasing green coffee beans all over Mindanao these past two years, naturally the next move would be visiting coffee farms.
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And now there are 5

Plungers galore!

Plungers galore!

Whoa! I now own five French presses (a.k.a. press pots, coffee plungers)!!!

My friend and ‘sangay’ Bob just convinced me to take a second look at the French press. In our “cupping” session at his place recently, he let me try his brew. And I liked it. So these past few days I gave it a try, setting aside my Aeropress momentarily. Looks like the French press won for now. Maybe until I get the proper filter for the inverted method of the Aeropress, I’ll do French press in the meantime. But the Aeropress will still see action, especially when doing a cold brew, or for my improvized cappuccino.

This morning I dropped by a surplus shop in neighboring Ozamiz City, a place called Brokenhaus. Yeah, that’s spelled B-R-O-K-E-N. Its Cagayan de Oro branch is spelled Brockenhaus. I don’t know which is correct. I heard this place is owned by a Filipina married to a Swiss guy, and they’ve been shipping Swiss and other European used items in huge containers. My wife loves to visit these two shops every chance we get; now, Miyam had a lecture to cardiologists in Ozamiz and Oroquieta. Last year, I got a Moka Pot from this branch in Ozamiz.

This time around, I saw an unbranded big French press that’s made in Switzerland lying around, along with cups and saucers. This plunger can do 4 regular cups, although in Europe they call this size as 8-cup, coz I heard they use smaller cups there they call tasse or something.
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Cupping at Mindanao Bob’s

Yours truly doing the inverted Aeropress. Mindanao Bob behind me.

Yours truly doing the inverted Aeropress. Mindanao Bob behind me.

So I went to Davao last week for a short meeting on Friday the 13th, then for coffee adventures.

Morning we went to SM to help Bob Martin to select kitchen items for roasting coffee. We got the simplest and cheapest of them all — a small aluminum rice pot, and a colander.

But we started the evening by “cupping” six different kinds of coffees — 5 from the Cordillera area up north in Luzon island, and the Red Sea blend, a mix of beans from Yemen and Ethiopia. Cupping is in quotation marks, coz it’s not the true cupping coffee professionals do. Our method is just to brew it the way we want it (Aeropress & French press), and drink it the way we want it, black or with sugar, or anything.
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Cordillera coffees

Cordillera coffees

Cordillera coffees

Look what arrived in the mail today! Four arabica green coffee beans from the Cordillera region up north in Luzon island. As usual, I got these from Serenity Coffee, who has been my almost sole supplier of local green beans.

L-R: La Trinidad, Bobok, Yaygan and Shilan.

They look promising. Minimal defects, just a few broken beans. Not much of the borer holes.

To the roaster right away!!! Then cupping tomorrow. These are half-kilo sampler packs that I paid for. Whichever I like, I’ll hoard a year’s worth of supply. :-)
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Coffee and ice cream

braziliansnow

During my birthday party last night with a mix of Mediterranean and Filipino food, the surprise hit was the dessert, ice cream and coffee combined. We actually first experimented with this on our family New Year’s Day dinner. My wife Miyam unearthed a recipe book of desserts published in the 1960s, and looked for anything with coffee. There she found “Brazilian Snow,” basically vanilla ice cream sprinkled with freshly roasted, finely ground coffee, mixing them, then topped with whipped cream, then garnished once more with ground coffee and, finally, maraschino cherry for a yummy presentation.

It was one nice dessert for a special dinner. But then I’m no fan of the cherry, and I think I didn’t really get the correct whipped cream for the topping from Gaisano.

Last night, my brother Jong brought some ice cream — strawberry and ube (for the longest time my favorite ice cream, along with macapuno). One of the kids got the strawberry from the freezer first, and everybody followed suit.
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