My first taste of coffee came when I was in grade four. I was eight years old, and my mother (God bless her soul) used to wake up at 4:00 am to prepare breakfast for five children. I was the youngest and had quite a difficult time staying awake over the breakfast table. One morning, my mom decided to fix me a cup of Nescafe. She took a teaspoon of the instant coffee granules, added 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, poured hot water until it was 1/3 of the cup, and then mixed in chilled fresh milk until it was tempered down.
The sweet, buttery, caramel flavor of the warm coffee made my toes curl and my dimples dig deeper with every smile induced by the sumptuous brew. It transformed my breakfast meal of rice, fried egg, grilled tomato, and “tuyo” or dried salted fish into a religious experience. I was hooked and coffee became part of my morning ritual. It didn’t matter that friends were telling me coffee would stunt my growth or make me look old; it didn’t, but then again this was the 70s. Coffee was the best way to start my day. How could it get any better? Coffee on a rainy day with Harry Gasser on RPN-9 announcing classes would be suspended!
Forty years from that first cup, I don’t believe I have gone through a single morning without a cup of my favorite brew.
As I am writing this piece, I am actually enjoying a piping hot mug of Batangas Brew.
Why do we love coffee?
Some people would even go further and say that coffee is “addictive.” The word addictive has a negative connotation and is used to describe a dependency on a bad habit or illegal substance with adverse consequences. According to science, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system or CNS, whereby regular intake of coffee may lead to a level of physical dependency. The idea of having a caffeine addiction may have come about with several people expressing withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, anxiety, irritability, depression, and the inability to concentrate after being weaned from coffee for a few days.
Inevitably, we love coffee because it makes us feel good. I like to drink my coffee black with a teaspoon of raw sugar or muscovado. My preference is to drink a strong blend, that is, French Roast or fresh ground full-bodied flavor of Arabica coffee from Ethiopia or Philippines. The strong, bitter flavor is certainly a great way to blow out the cobwebs first thing in the morning! Coffee can also be a pleasant weekend treat. On Sundays, I like to sweeten up my usual bitter brew by making my version of Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk or an Italian-inspired coffee affogato, that is, brewed coffee with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream.
Studies have also supported numerous health benefits of coffee, some of which are listed below:
- Improves focus and concentration
- Lowers the risk of prostate cancer in men
- Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Lowers risks on certain forms of cancer
- Prevents the onset of dementia
Here’s another reason why we love drinking coffee: It can help you burn fat and lose weight!
Several research papers have investigated how caffeine contributes to your fat-burning/weight loss efforts. Without going into much technical detail, caffeine helps you lose weight by:
- Elevating metabolism
- Suppressing appetite
- Increasing insulin sensitivity
Recent studies have investigated how mixing brewed coffee with unsalted organic butter and extra virgin coconut oil not only improves cognition but also exponentially burns up body fat. Seeing people in popular coffee shops scooping a tablespoon each of unsalted organic butter and extra virgin coconut oil into their favorite brew is not uncommon nowadays. I have done this myself and can attest to its positive effects on cognition and its wonderful taste.
So now, there are more reasons to love coffee!
There are even more reasons why it’s a good idea to start a coffee business.
When it was announced that Starbucks was opening outlets in the Philippines, more than hundreds of people were skeptical on the viability of the franchise. Critics alluded to the Philippines being a tropical climate and that selling beverages generally served hot would not be ideal to a nation of people where an air-conditioner is considered a necessity. But these critics saw only the coffee bean and not the entire coffee plantation. The act of drinking coffee in the Philippines is not a fad; it is a culture.
Within a few years from the opening of Starbucks, Philippines welcomed a few other franchises into the industry, both foreign and local.
In 1996, I did a study on operating a coffee franchise in the Philippines. We applied for the master franchise license for Second Cup Coffee, which is a coffee house from Canada. While we were going through the application process, we eventually went toward another direction in the food retail business. Looking back, Second Cup Coffee would have been the better option.