Issue of March 12, 2017
Mt. Province

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Benguet brew blood extraction
Science says that humans are composed of roughly 80 percent water. Now I don't necessarily plan to argue with that fact, but if scientists decided to study me a few years back, they might have found that I was 80 percent coffee instead. Coffee was – and partly still is – my lifeblood. So much so that I used to worry that anytime I was sent for a blood test, my hyper-caffeinated blood would either come spurting out as a jet of hot java at the syringe needle’s prick or that the lab technician would end up extracting Benguet brew from my veins in lieu of actual blood.

I’m happy to report that neither has happened. At least not yet.

Blame it on how coffee just seems to go great with almost everything here in the highlands, but with our misty mornings, foggy afternoons, and frigid nights, how could one possibly say no to a fresh brew? I used to rationalize that our climate and geography were simply a cup of coffee's natural habitat and that we, the caffeine craving lunatics, were simply doing our part in learning to co-exist with it peacefully – by consuming it in massive quantities and allowing it to habituate our bloodstreams instead.

Coffee was so ingrained into my daily routine that once on a trip to the warmer Ilocos region, I was asked for my choice between a cold soda and iced tea as an afternoon refreshment. Almost by reflex, I absentmindedly said I’d have a coffee. Not wanting to lose face, I pretended that it was part of my plan and I sipped away at the hot liquid as the beads of sweat continued to drip off my brow. It was at this point that I felt the phrase “be careful what you ask for” took on a more concrete meaning.

It also didn’t help my “addiction” to find out that a fresh brew was the perfect mental lubricant for when an idea seemed stuck in the disorganized cogs of my mind. It became my go-to answer for mental blocks and for days when the mental river of creativity ran dry. I would artificially get it flowing again by flooding it with a dark roast and, just like magic, the cogs would begin turning once again.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I decided to finally mellow on my coffee guzzling ways. I began to notice that instead of perking me up, the coffee felt like it had no effect. It was as if I was drinking coffee not to feel good, but rather to avoid feeling miserable. The instant inspiration and ideas that would flood my thoughts were replaced with anxiety and mild paranoia.

After a few weeks of enduring headaches that were most likely due to the sudden decrease in my caffeine dosing, I began to calm down and make peace with fact that you can’t force inspiration and that there are simply times when your brain just wants to slow down to focus on something else.

Now, when I remember how much I used to drink coffee, it makes me ponder the business possibilities of setting up a coffee shop. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the coffee chains Starbucks and Seattle’s Best were founded in Seattle, Washington where the general climate is, you guessed it – cold, foggy, and rainy. Knowing that, I think we Baguio folks are primed to begin our own international coffee chain. We can even go “Pinoy style” with naming our new venture. And by Pinoy style I mean that we take an already famous name and replace one word or syllable so we can save ourselves the mental strain of coming up with something new.

Anyway, how does StarBox Coffee sound?

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