Beans from Kalinga-Apayao

Kalinga beans roasted

Kalinga beans roasted

Whoa, been over a month since my last post. Was busy working on a project, a mini-coffee table book (no, nothing to do with coffee, hehe), so I was out of town most of the time. (If you’re curious what that project is, see the PDF file here. Warning: that’s 3.5mb, so your computer may freeze for a few seconds until all is downloaded. So it might be wise for you to right-click on the link, save it to your PC and read with Adobe Reader or Mac’s Preview, instead of looking at it from inside the browser.)

Last month I traded beans with a friend, a fellow roaster here in Iligan. Half a pound of my favorite Ethiopian Harrar, and 2 kinds of Peppo’s green beans he got from a food fair in Manila. Both are from up north, in the Cordilleras I suppose.

One coffee I didn’t bother remembering, coz it really sucked. I can’t drink it at all.

But the other one, from Kalinga-Apayao, I liked. Not in the league of specialty grade you can buy from online shops. But if I’m out of cash, I can drink this coffee every day.
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The Aeropress inverted method revisited

The polyester felt filter for the Aeorpress is thick!

The polyester felt filter for the Aeorpress is thick!

Thanks to Steve A, one of the few readers of this blog, I finally got to try the filter medium suggested by the inventor of the Aeropress inverted method. Verdict: Looks like I’m back to Aeropressing.

I was brewing with the inverted method for a while, but using an inferior filter I found from a textile store. There were still some fine grinds that get past the filter, but lesser than the French press. I reverted back to using the French press after a coffee session in Davao with my sangay MindanaoBob, and after that I acquired quite an inventory of French presses of various brands and sizes. But still, the fine grinds at the bottom of the cup that pass through the French press’s metal filter bothers me a bit.

Then I got this filter medium for the hacked Aeropress — a five-micron polyester filter felt from McMaster. Almost no grinds at all, almost as clean as using paper filter, but with all the oils and flavor you can get from the French press. To give you an idea what exactly is this — you asthmatics, or those with asthmatics in the family, if you have a nebulizer at home, there’s a small (smaller than a coin) round filter where the air goes out where you insert the plastic tube; that’s polyester felt.
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My latest acquisition


Just arrived in the mail today! 5 lbs each of Colombia Monserrate, Tanzania Blackburn Estate and Sumatra Aceh Tengah.

Here’s how fellow coffee snobs at GCBC scored these coffees …
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Muscovado sugar in my coffee


I’m a sweet guy, remember? I said that so right when I started this blog. So I put a little amount of sugar in my coffee, about half a teaspoon or even less. Before I started roasting coffee in my kitchen, I used to drink Swissmiss hot chocolate in the morning. And when I ordered from those coffee shops, it’s usually café mocha. I’m sweet, can’t help it.

Over the years, I’ve preferred brown sugar over white. I just like the raw flavor in brown sugar, or maybe it’s just the looks? White sugar is too clean looking, so pure, so refined. That’s just not me. I’m rough.

And then I heard a lot about muscovado sugar. I heard it’s even rawer (there such a word?) than brown sugar. If I remember it right, my friend and fellow coffee guy Danny Ong, of Cotabato City, first introduced me to muscovado sugar. I tried it in his home. I liked it.
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Giant French press at work

That's BIG!

That's BIG!

Finally got to use my gigantic French press!!!

Saturday evening we had a mini-reunion, us batchmates of the Development High School class of 1981, of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). We fondly call this school DaHaSa. They changed the name now to Integrated Development School or sumthin, but for us, it’s still DaHaSa.

There were 9 of us. And boy was I able to make coffee for all of us in one brew!

This French press aka coffee press aka coffee plunger aka press pot is called a 12-cup coffee maker, but maybe when you use small cups like those they use in espressos or tea. I used bigger 5-oz cups, and just enough for all of us.

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Meet my grinders


“What? It’s not NORMAL to have 5 coffee grinders?”

That’s how you are labeled when you achieve a certain status, depending on your number of posts, in the coffee forum I’m in — the Green Coffee Buying Club.

So now I know I’m normal, coz, as you see in the picture above, I ONLY have 4 grinders.

From left to right, that’s the Bodum Antigua, a Zassenhaus manual grinder, the Clipper Mini Coffee Grinder, and the 3D Café Aroma Plus.

Having a grinder at home is important, because you should only grind your coffee beans just before brewing. Ground coffee goes stale fast, real fast. Those who buy their coffee already ground in expensive looking foil bags with famous brands, I’m sorry to tell you that you are drinking stale coffee. It may still be okay for you, but you haven’t really tried what real coffee tastes like. Read more

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


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!!!


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!!!

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