You’ve seen those clear boxes section from a major grocery chain, right? Where you can pick dried fish, dried mushrooms, packed beans, and yes coffee beans. BTW, have you tried cooking large sago (tapioca pearls) at home? Dude, it took me about 6 hours in total and it involved a lot of stirring, turning the fire off, straining, and waiting. I digress…
The family was standing in front of the box that had the sago in them. There were about 5 bags of uncooked sago in total, so I would need to really reach down to the bottom of the box. I said “excuse me po” in the most cheerful tone a 5’9” heavy-set guy can muster to the aforementioned family. My grocery basket was full of other items, it was heavy. It was too early in the morning for me, a dude who works either at a mid or night shift. I have not yet taken a bath at this point. I just wanted to get the one bag of sago, pay for my stuff, buy my fiancée the two pieces of donuts she asked for, get home, and go back to sleep.
But NO – this family did not want to budge until someone assists them to bag the (beyond) dark roast coffee beans that were right above a box full of dried, pungent mushrooms.
I stretched, reached over to the box housing the sago, which was right behind the mother. She moved alright. She moved her handbag away from me but still stood firmly in her place. I-was-triggered.
I’m not proud of what I did next. Talking loud enough to make sure they can hear me, I blurted out “why are you buying a kilo of burnt beans from a grocery store?” and walked, slowly, away. Yes, that was exactly what I said, this time in my normal baritone voice. I heard no reaction from the family, nor did I look back to see what their reaction was.
This family seemed well to do, basing solely on the phone their son was playing with. It was a similar model to the one I have, something I had to really think about if I can afford on a BPO manager’s salary (#humblebrag). And I had observed them as I was walking toward the said clear boxes of produce. They were really looking for these beans, barako, and immediately started waving for assistance when they saw them. They were in that area to really buy the (beyond) dark roast coffee beans.
For some reason their attitude towards buying the (beyond) dark roast beans really ticked me off. They could have moved when I asked, yet they didn’t. The mother could have moved forward a bit when she felt me reaching behind her but instead chose to just move her bag away, almost as if accusing me of being a thief. And the general haughtiness of them feeling elite by buying whole (beyond) dark roast beans instead of powdered instants.
I may be judging the family too unfairly.
I acknowledge that writing about them on this blog can be interpreted as me being the villain here, but my point really is that this is exactly why specialty coffee is still a small piece of the pie for the supposedly “coffee crazy” people of the Philippines.
Think about it: They probably read/watched/heard from somewhere/someone that grinding whole beans yields a better quality coffee. They then went to a grocery, found a box full of (beyond) dark roast coffee beans and decided to buy a kilo. Knowing this grocery, that kilo (I heard them ask for a kilogram) will be placed in a clear plastic bag that can only be sealed once. Then they’ll tell their friends that they were able to buy said beans for cheap in the local grocery store and then we end up with the MLM network of bad coffee consumption.
I’m one to talk — I use a blade grinder at home. But I do, at least, visit a specialty coffee shop when I can and let the trained baristas help me enjoy a quality cuppa. (I’m in EACH after work, before going home, most of the time when I’m in Alabang).
Mabalik tayo. I may be judging the family too unfairly. Maybe they’re just a really shy family that goes out seldomly. Thus a burly guy with a scruffy beard scared them, causing them to “freeze” where they were standing. Maybe the essence from the dried mushrooms actually makes the coffee bought from this place taste more “earthy”. But you know me, I like to over analyze things.
Their attitude and their choice in (beyond) dark roast coffee beans are reflective of a problem we have in society: Well to do people tend to act too important and too all-knowing for their own good.
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Categories: thoughts with kape