My earliest coffee experience was at 6. I didn’t drink it, but instead, poured it over fried rice for breakfast. I can’t imagine discovering this on my own, so I am guessing that I saw someone do it first: Kapeng Barako (Batangas coffee: liberica beans) on rice, crispy dried fish, and sunny side up. It was a favorite weekend treat for me.
We didn’t have a coffee maker back then. We used a percolator, or sometimes just a pot of boiling water where we let the ground beans steep.
Despite this very early introduction to caffeine, I didn’t pick up drinking coffee until after college, and even then it was an occasional dessert coffee. Starbucks and similar coffee shops were my hang out places after a late night movie. I would make an afternoon trip there too when I got bored working at home.
Now, I am a regular morning coffee drinker. I enjoy drinking it black, sometimes with a bit of demerara sugar. In cafes, I order mocha, non-fat, no whip.
From a non-coffee drinker 10 years ago, I have managed to be a coffee aficionado where I grind my own beans every morning. On one of my trips back to Manila, I brought back dalawang salop* na Kapeng Barako from Lipa. I got a fancy espresso machine for my wedding, so I indulge on cappuccinos on weekends.
My children cringe at the thought of pouring coffee over fried rice. I don’t blame them, but I can’t deny that I loved it when I was younger.
Ground barako beans
Put brown sugar in a pot of boiling water. Add ground coffee and beans and remove from heat. Steep for 5 minutes. Pour through a sieve to minimize latak (coffee sediment).
*salop is a unit of measurement equivalent to a kilogram
Barako is a tagalog word which means strong or tough man. Kape means coffee.
Kapeng barako is a common name for liberica coffee beans grown in Lipa and other high places in Batangas. Because of the coffee’s strong taste, it got the name kapeng barako.