The Coffee Capers (part 2)

Even love needs a little variety

Inevitably, a passion (or addiction?) to coffee leads one to consider other interesting ways to enjoy the brew outside of the usual ‘hot’ ‘cold, and ‘blended’. Admittedly these experiments are taxing on my wallet (and apparently on my health) so I have had little opportunity to experiment greatly. Nevertheless, I have tried two particularly strange ventures: Kape Barako In  A Bag and Coffee + Rock Salt and Cheese

Kape Barako in a Bag

Normally I get my kape barako at cafes, or if I am lucky, whenever I can purchase ground beans from reputable stores. However my curiosity got the better of me one day and I bought ‘instant kapeng barako’. Usually one has to brew kape barako in an old-style espresso maker or coffee machine. However this instant brew comes in a tea bag—an apparently sensible innovation on the usual brewing process.

Maybe not. My first attempt was over breakfast, during which I asked my younger sister to taste the coffee. She frowned and said, ‘it’s just colored water’.  That didn’t bode well. So I tried ‘steeping’ the coffee longer, letting the teabag soak almost to the point of disintegration. The resulting concoction had just a little more flavor, but it was too easily overpowered by what little cream I subsequently added.

I’m curious about how this blend could come out to be relatively insipid. I wonder if it’s the quality of the beans, or perhaps an error with the steeping process. Technically one should get the same result with teabags in lieu of the more usual methods. Yet the brew from this instant blend notably lacks the ‘kick’ one associates with kape barako.

I’m willing to hear any comments or theories from anyone who has also tried ‘instant barako’.

Coffee + Rock Salt and Cheese

It’s usually not the best idea to order coffee from a place reputed for its milk tea, or to order tea from a place known for its java. Nevertheless force of habit prevailed while I was queuing up at Happy Lemon. At the last moment, my intention to order ‘Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese’ came out of my lips as “Coffee with Rock Salt and Cheese.” Five minutes later, I claimed the brown, frothy concoction and wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

Most people wouldn’t think of combining rock salt and cheese, much more with coffee. But since no one seems to have perished from such a combination, I steeled myself to get a plastic straw and try it out. What touched my lips was a sweet, milky and slightly gritty concoction, with just the barest hint of saltiness. Perhaps my incessant stirring in an attempt to blend the cheese layer with the drink inadvertently dissolved some of the rock salt.

After a while, I discovered that the rock salt and cheese had actually formed little granules that clustered at the bottom of my drink. So I was basically treated to sweet coffee interrupted by the occasional bit of cheese + salt. I guess this was an experience where I had to appreciate texture more than actual taste (much to the detriment of my senses).

So the big question is: would I drink it again? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t necessarily ‘crave’ for it, or make it my ‘end of the week treat’. Perhaps some kinds of novelty are better left to the more adventurous.


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