First I’ll be honest; coffee wasn’t exactly my number one priority in the 70’s and 80’s as my ships came in and out of the Philippines. As I remember Navy Issue coffee was once the finest coffee you could get. I retired in 1986 so I can’t speak to the quality of the coffee after that. But I do know that a 40 Pound of coffee could be traded for just about anything. I was on a Replenishment ship and pulled into Subic, went to the motor pool and with a can of coffee, I got the use a Government truck for two weeks while sitting in port.(On base use only) My Division Officer asked me where I got it, “Sir, don’t ask and you are protected!”
But outside the gate instant coffee was king; brewed coffee was never found even in really good hotels. When I moved to Olongapo in 1994 ground coffee was impossible to find. Until I met a Chief Steward named Tom Dryden and we were talking about it on the ship (USNS San Jose). Tom owned a hotel and restaurant in the Barrio and he served a local coffee called “Café Puro” which after trying it I found it to be quite nice. I know that Sir Bob Martin likes gourmet coffee and has information on where to get it here in the Philippines. I’m only talking about ground coffee, like Folgers, Chock-Full-of-Nuts, and other commercial brands of coffee. So for years I’d stop by Tom’s restaurant and buy a few pounds, and have a meal, meet some friends and drink a cocktail or two.
But at home, my wife and daughters drank instant coffee every morning, while I made brewed coffee every day, as I never developed a taste for instant powered coffee in a jar. Also de-caffeinated coffee of any type makes absolutely no sense to me, what is the point? It’s like drinking non-alcoholic beer, hell just drink water because we all know that phony beer is horrible.
Now at my house, brewed coffee is still only drunk by me and instant coffee by all Filipino’s, but away from the house “Starbuck’s” is all they want. At the mall on Subic we, of course, have Starbucks, and beside it “The Coffee Bean” both coffee places are wildly popular with Filipinos, but instant coffee is still consumed at home. Did you ever notice in the United States you’ll find a Starbucks more often than you could find a Sari-Sari Store in the Philippines?
In Boston, Dunkin Donuts is the number one selling coffee. If you want coffee, just say Dunkies and they’ll know what you want. That doesn’t apply to the Dunkin Donuts here as most have no coffee at all. The west coast tried to invade Boston with overpriced liberal crap, the funny thing is Boston is a liberal city. But ordering coffee: in New England, all we say is “REGULAR” meaning cream and sugar or black and sweet. There are no verbal essays required to order coffee in Boston.
At the mall in Subic, the Coffee Bean has on their menu one item that simply says “American Coffee” that requires less than three words to order. It is the place where you’ll find me!
But coffee is a personal thing no matter whom you are or where you’re from. If you like Instant coffee, Brewed coffee or Fancy Dancy coffee then just enjoy it, your opinion is the only one that really matters.
De-caffeinated coffee, I’ll just wonder why, and will never serve it to a fellow human being!
In 1880, the Philippines was the fourth largest exporter of coffee beans. Coffee production in competitor regions of Brazil, Africa and Java (Until the Blight hit and destroyed the coffee industry here)
And now for that “Only in the Philippines Moment,” I took our new Golden Lab puppy (Max named for the size of his feet) to the Vet for de-worming, and shots. While sitting there I picked up a bag of ground coffee on their pet products shelf, in surprise, I asked my vet if this was for dogs? She started laughing and said it was for human beings. I bought a bag or no reader of LiP would ever believe me again. It was good, and Not in stock on my next visit. I’m here for the duration!