The simple pleasure of brewed coffee



My wife brought home from Canada a drip type Oster coffee maker (“retiring” our older unit) and several big cans of Tim Hortons ground coffee beans.  I wake up each morning to the wonderful aroma of brewing “Timmy’s” coffee wafting through our bedroom door.

There is nothing better in the morning than a mug of fresh brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast with my wife to prep me up for the day’s grind ahead.

I started drinking coffee when I was in college, partly because everybody was having a morning cup of instant coffee in the boarding house, but also because I have discovered its stimulating properties that kept me awake and alert at school and work.

Many, many years later and scores of blends from Colombian to Turkish coffee, I have sort of become a coffee connoisseur (and a “caffein junkie”), able to distinguish the color, thickness, aroma and taste of a good brewed coffee from the generic and bad ones.

Before that my late parents used to brew a native variety of coffee beans called barako (a variety belonging to the species Coffea liberica) but I never touched the stuff, believing at that time that coffee is fit only for elderly people.

Back then when you crave for coffee you boil the coarsely ground beans in an earthen pot called palayok for 10-15 minutes and sift the dark liquid to separate the spent coffee grounds.

The introduction of instant coffee in the country caused the near extinction of barako beans in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.  Consistent decline in the market and prices of barako beans, coupled with unregulated importation of coffee beans, forced many coffee farmers to shift to the cultivation of other agricultural crops.

The fairly recent revival of barako beans by a Filipino chain of coffee shops called Figaro Coffee  Company will go a long way in providing coffee farmers with a modest but steady local market for their produce.  Much work needs to be done though by the coffee industry (and the government) if barako is to be restored to its former preeminence as the “king of Philippine coffee beans” in both taste and commercial success. 

Instant coffee, to me, is not “real” coffee.  But it is cheap, convenient to prepare and has long since become a regular breakfast fare in many households and carinderias (roadside food stalls) throughout the country.

Nowadays it is chic and cool for some people to meet or be seen in a popular foreign chain of coffee shops sipping brewed coffee from disposable plastic or Styrofoam cups while toying with their laptop or tablet computers.

But that is hardly the proper way to serve and enjoy a good brew.  When I am out of the house and in need of a quick “caffeine fix,” I drive to the nearest Figaro store.  Not only do they brew good barako-based coffee, they also serve it to you in a ceramic coffee mug or cup.  And there I would be with my mug of brewed coffee, oblivious to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, indulging for a brief moment in one of the great simple pleasures in life.

There are few things as nice in the morning as the smell and taste of fresh brewed coffee.  Ahh, pure bliss!

Author:  Rene “RC” Catacutan
Published 01 April 2012

 “Coffee” photos

 Me and my wife Elsie at a Figaro store in Baguio City

At a coffee shop in La Union province

At a bibingka (rice cake) and coffee shop in Baguio City

Coffee at the balcony of a room in Manor House, Baguio City

At a Starbucks store in Baguio City

Coffee at a room in Taal Vista Lodge, Tagaytay City

At a bake and coffee shop in Baguio City

Morning cup of coffee and papers at Subic Bay, Olongapo City

Coffee at a room in Manor House, Baguio City

Morning cup of coffee at Club Morocco; Subic, Zambales province 

Some popular brands of ground coffee (in alphabetical order)



Hills Bros.

Maxwell House

Seattle’s Best


Tim Hortons