I am a coffee consumer. More importantly, I consume coffee to help me focus at work. Now before the Covid 19 pandemic and the stay at home order by the government and our company, getting coffee was easy. I could just drop by any of the places I like to get coffee from (which honestly were mostly second wave shops with the occasional specialty shop especially when I’m in the Alabang office) and buy myself a cup. Now, I have to make myself coffee if I really want a chance to get through the (longer than usual) working days working from home.
Of course I chose a part of the kitchen that allows for a lot of natural light.
I admit that when the lockdown started, I just relented to drinking instant coffee – I’ll own up to that. There was still about half a jar of Taster’s Choice my parents sent over from the states. I figured since it was just for a month anyway, that I’d just hunker down at home and finish this jar of instant coffee. I even tried making Dalgona Coffee, though I always chose to add Irish Whisky to eat. That makes it better, BTW.
However, the lockdown was extended – twice. I had to accept the fact that I needed to know to brew coffee at home. For someone who advocates not drinking supermarket instant coffee, even going as far as writing a three part series about the cons of going instant, it would be hypocritical to buy copious amounts of the stuff just because I could not invest in home brewing equipment. And so, using the fact that my Instagram account finally got 500 followers as a catalyst, I decided to go on a home brewing setup shopping spree.
Now before this I already had some equipment: a Bodum French Press I bought from Starbucks; a smaller French Press similar to what we gave as presents to our principal sponsors during our wedding; a Melitta style dripper I also got from Starbucks; a Hario MM2 Small Grinder (ceramic burrs); and an old-school kettle (read: takure) that at least had a long spout for easier pouring. No scale.
Well two months in, I have since expanded that to a point that I had to set up a small area in our kitchen’s counter (between the microwave and the rice cooker) to be my dedicated coffee brewing station. So if you have read my piece about working from home, not only is my mind now primed to think our room is my “home” and the dining table is my “office”, I now also get to take my breaks in our kitchen which is now my “coffee shop”. It may sound crazy, but I need these things to help me work from home better.
So what have I learned from brewing coffee at home all day during lockdown? After finding a local supplier of beans in Lakbay Brew, getting to try beans from international roasters courtesy of Uggy Café, watching a ton of Youtube videos (like James Hoffman and European Coffee Trip), and buying a ton of coffee brewing related items from Lazada (V60, stove-top gooseneck, Timemore C2 grinder, bags of filters, a scale), and even buying a freakin’ Brita filter to see if my water quality improves? What have I really learned?
It’s okay to try brewing coffee at home, but we really need to celebrate the coffee people more: the producers; the roasters; the shop owners; and of course the baristas. We take coffee for granted and treat it as just part of our routine because of our busy lives. Brewing at home reminded me how hard it is to prepare a good cup of coffee. After two months, after all that new equipment, after dropping money on specialty coffee beans, hours of watching coffee content, and heck even after buying a fancy water jug that supposedly improves the water quality (it wasn’t that expensive considering the benefits) – I have learned that I still can’t create a cup as good as what I used to get from a shop. And that’s just filter coffee; I haven’t even tried making espresso at home!
Your equipment means nothing if you don’t use quality coffee beans to begin with.
So continue supporting the coffee people. They work so hard to give us our awesome cups of coffee. You can buy from their online shops. Some shops are even open for pick-up and deliveries. You’ll never know how much we need good coffee until it’s (and they’re) all gone.
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