How I Got Into Coffee

Coffee is a part of my everyday routine, in and out of school semesters. I’m among a lot of professionals and students today who drink a cup of coffee or more everyday. Not that I go to a coffee shop every now and then and have “Adrian” signed on my cup. I’m frugal. Instead, when I’m at school, my regular cups of coffee are a hot 7-Eleven’s City Blend, a cold Nescafe French Vanilla or White Mocha, and (the main cup among them all) brewed coffee in the house. 

I thought of coffee as a bitter drink before, but as I grew up it would become a daily dose, my favorite drink aside from rootbeer.

My first coffee
My parents like coffee very much, as much as your parents do (I believe). I remember times when I was still so young when Pa and Ma tell me while we eat breakfast (or maybe evening dinner): “O, mag-kape ka...” (“Why don’t you have coffee?”) in a jokingly way. I would simply refuse. I didn’t like coffee yet at that time. But I tasted one. It was a cappuccino either my auntie or my brother got from briefly working on a night shift, if I am not mistaken. 

Later on, I happened to learn how to make coffee when either Pa or Ma called me to do it for them. I would ask how, and they would instruct me: 1 teaspoon of coffee, 1 or 2 of creamer, then 1 to 3 of sugar. I even remember Ma telling me to level the amount of either of those three on the teaspoon. But the first time I made a cup of coffee for myself was also the first time I didn’t sleep at all. 

I was in second year in high school—when academics demanded more. I was desperate to reach the deadline for lettering plates on Drafting that I turned out cramming. I have believed that coffee would make me stay awake. And with the parents asleep, and the TV on ANC, I made the coffee on my own. And it was not tasty! But what mattered was I got awake. So I went through the night trying to get those letterings done, like someone keeping a radio station on air overnight. I survived, with the help of a bitter coffee made by a once novice to that drink.

The yellow cup I usually use for the drink

I can’t recall any third year experience with coffee, but I do recall times when I got into drinking coffee during my fourth year in high school. Several times came when demands of school (and lack of managing time and beginning work as soon as possible) pushed me to go and finish outputs overnight. 

I remember one time when I was working (rushing, rather) on a blueprint for Civil Tech, laying out a tracing paper with bond papers containing several plans for a house. DZFE, the classical music station (which has just begun to extend its broadcasts ‘til 3am), was on the background. I took a break and made coffee. I put a sachet of a usual three-in-one coffee on a cup, filled the cup with hot water, then mixed it. And again coffee helped me get through the night. And this time it was tasty!

I hardly liked to sip a brewed coffee yet at that time. At home it was then made by boiling water on a pot, then settling it down for a while, then putting 3-5 spoons of ground coffee on that water. As a result, you likely get the remains of the ground coffee on your cup when the pot is already less than half-full. So, I would usually buy sachets—from Nescafe to Maxwell’s House. I would even carry a mug and a few sachets with me to school, and take advantage of the hot water coming from the dispenser. 

The habit of drinking coffee began to form, especially when I was done with high school and off to college.

(L-R) My mug, my mother's cup, and my father's mug.
We and our coffees gathered as we watched
UAAP Cheerleading Competition last year.

During the longest summer vacation I got after an academic period, I have made and drunk more coffee. Later on, I learned to make and to appreciate brewed coffee on the pot. With a fresh brew on the cup or mug, I would add 2 or 3 teaspoons creamer and 2 or 3 teaspoons sugar. Since then, that’s my usual mix of coffee. But sometimes I also make a cup with instant coffee (different from 3-in-1), so I would have a teaspoon of it in the cup or mug.

With such blend, I have formed my general definition of my coffee—creamy, and sweet enough.

Coffee was with me as I ate breakfast, as I read a book or write something, and as I surf the Net. Aside from a way to get awake, it has become a way to get moving through the day. It really fits in those things I do—especially reading and writing. I don’t simply got into drinking coffee because it keeps me up, but more importantly it happened to be a great complement to my lifestyle.  

Then came the coffee machine during my first year in college, revolutionizing the way brewed coffee was made in the house. I would learn the ratio for coffee and water—1:1. Drinking coffee became more pleasant, as well as more frequent, whether I stay late at night or not. 

Others would settle on a frappe or simply iced, but I was content on a brewed blend. But sometimes I’ll have a cold version. Once I bought in a stall in the community mall, and once I’ve bought in a convenience store. But still, I’m often frugal.

In my commutes back to home,
I would often buy a cup of coffee.
Instant blend
In my second year as a college student, I further practiced that frugality. I would usually have a cup of City Blends on 7-Eleven, where I often have lunch with my closest companions. Actually, buying a coffee there secures our stay. We don’t buy our lunches on the store; we bring packed lunch. And I see it unfit that we have lunch there but won’t buy anything there. So either my classmate, I, or both of us, will buy coffee there. 

Sometimes, since there are only three choices for hot coffee, we would buy either Kopiko 78, Nescafe French Vanilla, or White Mocha. We were even glad when an Iced Coffee was added to their selections. I have no favorite among them, though. They are all the same for me, at least in what they are called. They are all good coffees, as long as taken in moderation. Besides, they less likely aid me in keeping myself up in afternoons, unfortunately. That’s because when I get back to the campus library about an hour after lunch to read (and sit back), I often end up dozing off.

Before I ride on a bus back home, I would even go to a 7-Eleven near the bus station and buy a cup (and also some food). Maybe that’s the only instance where I buy coffee to keep me awake and do something productive while I’m on the bus (as a commuter, you’ve got to have some way to save and even redeem time). This time, the coffee’s more likely to keep me awake.

Coffee is now a part of my life, and it came right before I undergo what they call “adulting”. Cups of it, or bottles, or tetra packs of it, have been with me as I struggle past academic years. 

If others got to like coffee by influence of socialization (not saying that I was totally immune from it), I got into it with an amount of “parental guidance”, as well as a liking into its self-defined taste. If others have it chilled on a tall or grande cup on a coffee shop (with details of how it is to be done), I find some joy or comfort in a hot, creamy and sweet cup from the house (or on the convenience store). But maybe, when I have the resources, I could learn discover more about this drink—beyond the usual blend. But I’m not into that for now.

I understood from a chapter of a Sociology textbook that coffee has been bringing people together in some ways I can’t instantly explain now. Yet on a personal level, I believe that coffee has been a companion—a good one, compared to other beverages. It is one of those things you grab, keep, and consume to get you through the day (like music or talk on the radio, or that portable battery-powered mini-fan on your bag). 

A record label names itself Fueled By Ramen. In my case, I may describe myself: Fueled by coffee.

How about you, reader? How long have you been a coffee drinker? And how did you get into it? Give me a comment, if you may. :)

Disclaimer: This blog isn’t any paid advertisement just because I mentioned coffee brands. :)

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