The Girl Whose Blood Runs with Coffee

I'm about to tell you of a girl and her in-depth relationship with coffee. Her name? Let's call her "The Coffee Girl." She is in her mid-20s, whose blood I'd like to describe is running with caffeine.

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She would often ask me if I would rather have someone prepare my coffee, or if I would prepare it on my own. Of course, I'd answer no, since I haven't fallen in love with the idea of preparing one. But as a morning person, she lives for it. She wakes up with muscle memory for coffee preparation.

But it wasn't always this way...


Part 1: From Beer to Espresso

It's pretty funny how her in-depth connection with coffee started.

She'd tell me that she would drink beer with her sister to survive the turmoil of evening studies in college. For some reason, this makes me laugh; but knowing her peculiar personality, I wouldn't be surprised. She somehow made it through the midnight deadline without relying on caffeine.
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When she started working, she grew out of her comfort box and began meeting people in cafes. Alongside the conversations, there was coffee. "I'll get what you're having," she would say since she doesn't know any order at all. The first deep kiss to caffeine was awkward - it was Americano. Bitter. Strong. Expensive. Her face seems to react the way her palette assessed it - she did not like it.

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But when she met her best friend, who was a barista that time, she experienced the beauty that is the caramel macchiato - a "beginner's treasure", she'd describe. Eventually, she was able to explore and fall in love with a more diverse mix and match. When she went black, there was no turning back.

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The adventure of her taste journey was fun and all, but the connection with people in the cafe brought her closer to the warmth of coffee. There is coffee in every pause of conversations, every heartfelt empathy, every getting-to-know a person's soul. It was bewitching.


Part 2: Here Stands Kafe Banwa

As soon as the pandemic hit, everything else crumbled. It was vital for her to build a routine to keep her sanity, and part of that is coffee. She decided she'd start learning the slow but beautiful process of preparing it. She bid goodbye to instant sachets and shook hands with the real deal.

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One time, she ordered a lot of ground coffee from Kalinga since she wanted to supply herself with her actual coffee preparation. She learned it well and got good with it.

When her father noticed that her coffee supplies began to pile up at home, her father suggested that she make for other people and sell them. She thought hard on until it was an "Aha" moment. The next day, her father, who has a lot of creative pursuits, drew an idea for a cafe.

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The concept was "Coffee Experience in the Bukid." In the Philippines, "Bukid" is the equivalent of a farm or the countryside. Her father decided to design a "Payag," a Filipino cottage, for the cafe. Her sisters followed support, and soon excitement built up. The following week, the idea started turning into a reality.

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The "Payag" was built in Borbon - a Northern municipality in Cebu. It was a unique concept not just in their place, but in general as well. The aesthetics of the cafe solely revolved around "bukid" experience, and it was a catch.

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Officially, they named it "Kafe Banwa". In Cebuano, "Banwa" refers to a dense growth of bushes. Since the cafe was located in the middle of grasses and wild plants, it was rightfully named so.

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Everything started to concretize. It became a well-implemented idea for a small entrepreneurial business. The coffee experience was redefined. Bikers started to visit the place. In her friends' eyes, she became the Coffee Girl.

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She has mentioned to me before that it was a unique experience to have gone from someone who negatively reacted in an Americano sip, to actually preparing good coffee for others. It was another level of her relationship to the well-loved beverage, but there were still layers ready to be unearthed.

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Part 3: The Coffee Farm Excursion

Everything was running well, and she also decided to build a take-out branch in front of her house to make things more accessible. Eventually, business ideas for the family came and she had to find another supplier for her coffee.

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One time, she and her cousin decided to visit Tuburan Coffee for a coffee break. This was also a good opportunity to get information on coffee sources. When they arrived, they saw on the Television that the Cofee Shop had a farm. They asked the guard if it was open, and an hour drive later, they arrived.

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The Tuburan Coffee Farm is relatively far-flung but worthwhile. It is an intentional drive so you'd have to have good reasons for the visit. The caretaker toured them around the farm and introduced them to the process of coffee making - from planting the seedling to harvesting, drying, selecting, and the actual process of coffee making.

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It was quite a surreal experience since she was bringing the coffee she ordered from the cafe. With every sip, she was able to appreciate the arduous process of making one. The connection of the starting form to the end form made it more sublime.

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It's an art - according to her. She'd describe the excursion as a generally transcendent encounter knowing how much she has grown from a consumer to a coffee maker. She was already happy with drinking it and making it for others, but these coffee experiences made everything else more sense.

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For her, this was a needed step. Learning about the history of each of her Espresso sip passed by a painful process of harvesting, drying, and careful selection solidified her love for the coffee-making process. It was a turning point.

It was this growth of affection from disliking an Americano to a loyal believer of the coffee-making process that made me in awe of her. Overall, she is already a great person, but her constant desire for creative coffee pursuit makes her more interesting.


Part 4: Enter Me

So why do I know all of these? It is because she talks about coffee a lot!

She has been transparent with me in her endeavor as the Coffee Girl. Even during our early stages of friendship, coffee was already there.

The first few weeks of knowing her, she invited me for a virtual morning coffee talk. If I'm not mistaken, she probably had Hazelnut, and I had an instant coffee in a "beer-designed" mug. (What a way to remind her of her former love of beer prior to coffee!)

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I was kind of ashamed I had instant coffee, but then again, I wasn't a big fan of coffee after all. To me, it was just there - during my thesis, my piles of papers to check, my board exam review, and my expensive endeavor to get that Starbucks planner. But I have always considered myself a tea guy before.

When we first met, we went to Starbucks Reserved, and I got an iced black tea. She offered me her drink with coffee jelly, and to my surprise, it was tasty. I didn't even know they exist. She would even mock me on my basic choice for Mocha, and how I should explore other coffee recipes.

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It was when she ordered coffee for me during one of the work meetings that I started to understand her love for it. It was Caramel Macchiato - a "Beginner's Treasure". At that time, it was one the of the most memorable coffee experience I had; and since then, I've been craving a macchiato in every cafe.


I still don't know how to prepare good coffee or even have the desire to learn it. But I have been drinking coffee every day, and this is something I haven't realized I would learn to do since it's a double-edged sword for a guy like me who gets a lot of nerves. At random times, however, a coffee sip becomes an easy source of warmth and comfort.

But the Coffee Girl has been monumental in my caffeine experience. I'm still not the biggest coffee guy, but I am starting to embrace it in my life. I know for sure, it's going to be such a ride. Whether it's as deep as the Coffee Girl's connection to her experience or not, I have begun to recognize that the coffee is a friend that will always company me for every season of my life, if I choose it to be.

That, in itself, is the Coffee Girl's biggest influence on me.


Thank you for reading. Here's a cute photo of us drinking coffee in one of our breakfast:

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I hope you had a wonderful read. I had amazing assistance from Zaira, the Coffee Girl, in writing this. I was also fortunate enough to have the chance to be given her consent in using her amazing photos for this entry. If you'd like to visit her shop, she is opening a new branch in Master's Dragon Peak in Borbon. I will probably write a travel blog on it sometime. Please do check my other posts if you like this content.

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