Coffee party!

More than the coffee, the conversation was great!

More than the coffee, the conversation was great!

Now that I have various kinds of coffees from all over the world, although in small amounts, it’s nice to share the blessing. And so I called up a coffee party and invited a few friends last Friday, May 29.

Twelve people came, and many thanks to all of them — Sir Boy & Allan; Eric, Bevs & Valerie; Rogier & Mabel; Roger, Manman, Jaeger, Ace, Alfritz.

The coffee lineup — Ethiopia Harrar & Yirgacheffe, Rwanda Bufcoffee Nyarusiza (a Cup of Excellence coffee!), Sumatra Iskandar, Cordillera Bobok, Batangas Barako, Costa Rica Tarrazu and Brazil Moreninha Formosa. That’s eight different coffees from six countries and four continents! The Barako was the one I’ve been cracking from the dried cherry these past days. Really smells nangka (jackfruit), the moment you roast, and when you brew. I’m gonna try this coffee some more.
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Giant 12-cup French press for a bargain

The giant 12-cup French press

The giant 12-cup French press

The family happened to be in Cagayan de Oro City yesterday, Saturday. While Miyam and Arkay were at the Lim Ket Kai mall, I drove to nearby Gaisano. It’s been some time since I visited their kitchen section, where I found some bargain coffee toys, like China-made French presses.

Lo and behold! There’s another bargain I found — a giant, 12-cup French press! At only 799 pesos (around $16), wow! I bought it right away. It’s not 12 cups for our regular cup of joe alright. That’s 12 cups only if you use those small espresso-sized cups. But for a regular-sized 6-ounce coffee cup, that’s enough for 6 coffee addicts. Still a lot!
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Cracking coffee cherries

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How far are you willing to work to be able to try some new coffee you haven’t tried before? For most people, roasting green coffee beans is unheard of. And I thought pounding on them coffee bean still in parchment was already hard work. Maybe sorting the defective beans from the good beans was too tiring a job, too.

Yesterday, a friend sent his driver to bring me some coffee, still in cherry form! The cherries are dry, but they smell good. That for a while I thought it wasn’t coffee but something else. My son RK said they smell like sampaloc (aka tamarind). But when he opened one cherry, we were sure those were coffee beans inside.

I was told this came from Batangas, a coffee growing area up North in Luzon. It’s known for its Barako (some Liberica variety) coffee. Maybe these are Barako, too. They’re slightly bigger than most of the beans in my stash, except the Sumatra Iskandar.

So I really want to try these beans. Not easy to extract them. I had to pound each and every hardened dried cherry to get the two beans inside. Not easy work. I was working half an hour, and I only got 53 grams worth of green beans! Will keep pounding every now and then, in between other work. Until I can get enough beans to roast, maybe 200 grams worth. Whoa! That sounds like 2 hours of hard labor!

Experiencing hard work like this, makes you appreciate more the long work involved in that cup of joe you drink every morning.
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Coffees from EIGHT countries!!!

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Wow! How did my green coffee stash accumulate this much, with beans from eight countries!!!

I never had this much variation since I started hoarding green beans over two years ago.

Left to right, top to bottom: Cordillera Bobok, Sumatra Iskandar, Costa Rica Tarrazu Sta. Elena, El Salvador Finca Alaska, Ethiopia Harrar Ayinage, Tanzania Organic AB Hope Project, Brazil Moreninha Formosa, Yemen Hufashi, & Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Koke.

How fancy their names are! Most are named after the places where they’re grown, the region, the province, sometimes down to the name of the estate or farm.

Well, that’s really not much, compared to the coffeegeeks in rich countries. I heard some would hoard as much as half a ton, in their house’s basement. With burlap bags full of green coffee from 47 countries.

Gotta hold a coffee party one of these days. Lucky you if you’re from somewhere near; wait for the text message in your cellphone. You know who you are. :-)

Kape ta bay!!!

3-in-1, anyone?

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Photo: Roger Marcelo

Yeah, it’s been a long time since I drank instant. But at somewhere in the vicinity of 7,500 feet above sea level, I got no choice really. So I drank that Maxwell House Original 3 in 1!

When my life-long dream of climbing up Mt. Apo, the country’s highest mountain at 9,692 feet, was about to be realized more than a week ago, I was dreaming, too, of bringing my coffee kit there and have specialty coffee in the mountains. In the highest peak, no less.

So the night before we drove to Davao City, then Kidapawan City for our trek up Mt. Apo, I roasted some Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Koke beans. But as I was packing up later that night, I thought it would be too much hassle to bring my coffee gear — a manual travel burr grinder and the Aeropress. My friend Keith was to bring a burner, so there should be no problem heating water there. But the thought that climbing up would be so tiring, and there would be so many of us up there, discouraged me to have specialty coffee somewhere near heaven. It was a tree planting activity with over a hundred participants.
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