I live my everyday life starting the morning with a cup of coffee. It gives me a push to begin the day energised, somewhat excited, enthusiastic, and alert. It makes me think and it soothens my mood and my mind. It is my favorite stress reliever.

Somehow, any coffee works for me...may it be just those instant coffee sachets available everywhere, or those luxurious ones sold in coffee shops. They may be those artificially made or those organic. They may be those just added in hot water or those filtered or brewed to its bittersweet state. Wow! Just the thought of it makes me feel like having one right now. Ü

How did I like coffee?

I grew up watching my dad have his coffee every morning. He wanted it black. I said, "How's black coffee?". Apparently, it was the easiest - just coffee - no milk, no sugar. I tasted it and it was yuck! Seldom does my mom drink coffee but when she did, I drank half of hers. Why? It had cream and sugar. I had a sweet tooth. My whole teen years revolved around sweets - cakes, white chocolates - they were just infectious!

When I was in college, I went for those sweet caffeines but since I had no parents around at that time (I'm part of the lone students living in dorms), I settled myself in coffee shops and my personal favorite, Starbucks. Of course, Starbucks...they were everywhere! And it was just around the corner near my school and it closed til 2AM hence, more time to chill and relax with my coffee, with my book. It was in the same shop where I stayed with friends coz, obviously, I can't invite them in my dorm room. Anyway, I started with cold drinks (coffee frappe, iced caramel macchiato) - very sweet but very yummy! Sometimes, I go for cream-based drinks (no coffee). My favorite - Iced white chocolate and caramel cream frappe!

You'd think I had lots of money but, no. I deprived myself of other things back then, like breakfast and lunch. Sorry Papa and Mama if you read this.Ü

When I became a job trainee, other than Starbucks (I was still living near school), I visited Figaro sometimes. It is a local coffee shop here in the Philippines and it features some of our locally-grown beans (I promise you they are strong and the best! Try them sometime when you visit my country.) What I love about Figaro is that it caught the taste of Filipinos capturing the sweetness that most foreign shops lack. I always ordered Cafe Mocha (sweeter than Starbucks) with my favorite pesto pasta.

When I was officially employed (in a different company), Starbucks was just in front of our building. Thus, other than having my morning coffee, I hang out with a friend every lunch at Starbucks. It became a routine, a sort of tradition already. The baristas already knew our names and our orders. The barista went, "Hi Aira, the usual?". I said yes and poof! there served by Tall Hot Cafe Mocha. When I have extra cash, I ordered a glaced donut or an upgraded drink like the Coffee Jelly (Yum!).

There were times when we tried other shops and in those times, I tried ordering brewed coffee. When I lacked cash, I went for brewed coffee and that was where I started liking it.

I drank it with cream and sugar, with sugar only, or with nothing with it - depends on my mood. You'll get used to the taste but it is an acquired taste. You just can't like it the first time unless you adjust to it. But in most times, I put 1 packet of sugar into it just to put a little sweetness.

Now, I graduated from Starbucks and settled myself with brewed coffee or artificial ones - cheap but stronger. But I have to say, those trips in those coffee shops were my biggest influences to make myself want to build my own cafe.

Till next time! Thanks for hearing me out.

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