The Chemex works well for light, medium and dark roasts. Photograph courtesy of Commune
Food & Drink Features

From coffee aficionado to connoisseur or how to up your coffee game

If you’re ready to go beyond the basics, one of the country’s top coffee authorities shares her three simple steps to starting down the path of expertise and appreciation for Philippine coffee.
Chit Juan | Apr 22 2019

Why is there so much to learn about coffee? Or why should we bother learning just a little more about our favorite drink? Coffee is the second most traded commodity and the most consumed beverage, next only to water.

If you already enjoy a daily cup, you may want to delve a bit deeper into the world of coffee. You can learn to appreciate the nuances of taste, experiment with brewing styles, and sample the variety of local beans available. Here’s how to start:


Go black

Try to drink coffee black if you still do not. Taste it, and if you can enjoy the taste, that’s the coffee for you. Do not be influenced by some rating or trending species or variety like an Ethiopian Harrar or an Indonesian Aceh Gayo. Sometimes, even a humble Sulu Fine Robusta can make you like drinking black coffee.

The Chemex brews coffee using the infusion method, which makes it most similar to drip coffee in terms of body and taste. Photograph courtesy of Commune

The trick to getting rid of milk and sugar? Take your coffee black (neat) with a little cake or pastry. You will never want cream or milk in your coffee ever again.

Still drinking sweetened coffee? Try to shift to natural brown or muscovado sugar. Then slowly reduce the amount of sugar you put per cup or mug. Soon, you will stop drinking it with any sweetener. This way, you taste the real flavor of coffee.


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Brew as you please

No matter what the barista suggests, you are entitled to have coffee the way you want it brewed. You can have a friendly auto drip coffee (from automatic machines), or have a special hand drip coffee (best with a single origin like a Benguet, Bukidnon, or Matutum).

Hand drip Benguet Peaberry can be best enjoyed when poured over lots of ice. Photograph by Commune.

Hand drip, Kalita, V-60, Chemex, or Aeropress—these are various ways of enjoying coffee without the traditional espresso machine. They are just different extraction methods. Try your favorite coffee origin with various methods. You judge which you like best. Again, it’s your choice.


Try it at home

Choose your equipment. You can start with a simple pour-over using a swan kettle and a V-60 filter. Or if you enjoy espresso drinks, you can also buy an automatic espresso machine with its own grinder.

V-60 pour over

Select your coffee beans. It’s always best to buy local coffee to save on your carbon footprint. There are now many choices for local Arabica, Robusta, and even Liberica or Barako. Find them in your favorite coffee shop or try different brands from the supermarket.

Store the beans properly. Keep the beans at room temperature away from odors. NO need to put them in the freezer or refrigerator. Buy a small burr grinder for the house and just grind as needed. Or else, have your beans ground at your neighborhood café for a week’s supply only.

Home-made brewed coffee

Use fresh mineral or tap water, never distilled. Use 8 to 10 grams of coffee per 8 ounces of water or make a mental note of a heaping tablespoon per cup. If you find it weak, adjust the next time your brew. If it is too strong, tame it by adding hot (not boiling) water until you fix the flavor you want.

Coffee in PCBI seal


For more information about coffee, visit or follow Philippine Coffee Board on Instagram or Facebook