I’m a coffee lover.
No, I’m a coffee addict.
Nah, that’s not even strong enough – my blood type is Coffee+.
In fact, most days, Java is the only thing that keeps me up and semi-functioning like an adult. Without it, I am some sort of sub-human zombie with eyes half shut who can’t handle even a basic question like, “Excuse me, sir, why are you drooling on my arm?”
Normally, that’s not a problem, as I can easily make coffee every morning at home and chug cup after cup (light cream, no sugar) as I work. But, to me, drinking coffee isn’t just a function of downing a hot beverage so I can get caffeine in my system. Instead, it also represents ritual, socializing, community, and even comfort. For that reason, I choose to head out to work from a coffee shop, café, or restaurant every morning (after my first cup at home partially wakes me up so I can walk in a straight line). It’s also better because I can’t make cappuccinos at home.
While that can get a little expensive (I guesstimate that I drink two cappuccinos per day, which comes to about $7 or $200 per month!) it also is relatively easy in most places I live and travel. For instance, in Dumaguete, my seaside hometown for the last two years, I hit Bo’s Coffee on the Boulevard, Tom Tom’s, or Fun Café on the regular. And in my new home at the McKinley Hill area in Taguig, Manila, there’s a whole row of five coffee shops just a block from my front door and great spots like The Coffee Project a short trip away.
But, my whole life plan focusing on great café falls apart when I travel – and I travel a whole lot, to remote islands, secluded beaches, and villages far out in the jungle.Not only do they not have commercial coffee shops (or air conditioning/functioning showers/and sometimes electricity), but “normal” coffee is impossible to find.
Instead, the Filipinos love something called 3-in-1, which is a disgusting powdered mix of chemicals and sugar. They love it, for some strange reason, and just add hot water to it and call it “coffee,” although it bears little resemblance.
Ordering “brewed” coffee – as they call normal coffee – is something that’s a crapshoot at best. Even if they do have it, the brewed coffee is barely palatable at best, creating a major crisis for me.
Thankfully, I’ll be prepared this year, as I’m returning to the Philippines from my visit back to the USA armed with a secret weapon for my coffee consumption – the Espro Coffee Press.
This productessentially serves as a French Press coffee maker, but also as a thermos. They do that by simply including two lids, one for each, that also conveniently fit on top of each other and screw in so there are no loose parts to lose. While it only holds 12 ounces (about two cups), it does have an internal screen and press system that pushes the grounds down and double filters them adequately without grounds, making a decent cup of coffee anywhere I have hot water.
There were plenty of French travel presses when I looked online, but I liked this one because it’s not made of glass but durable metal in a black matte finish, so you can put it in your luggage without worrying about it being fragile and breaking.
Now, I just have to remember to bring enough coffee grounds for my trip, which I can just put in a baggie and store inside the dry press as I travel.
I can’t wait to use it – and get a great cup of coffee that I can bring on the road or just sit by the beach and enjoy!