Growing up in the Philippines, no one brewed their coffee in coffeemakers or Moka pots or French presses. They used instant coffee, and that’s how it was in my house. Instant coffee with lots of sugar. Then when I worked at the radio station during college, the DJ’s taught me how to brew coffee in the coffeemaker, the first I’d ever seen in my life.
When I moved to L.A., I brewed coffee morning, noon, and night in a tiny 4-cup coffeemaker in my tiny 1-bedroom apartment. Then my best friend Galia, who grew up in what was then Yugoslavia, taught me how to make coffee over the stove in a moka pot. She said she liked her coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in it.
Years later, when I met Tania, a Brazilian Swiss yogini, she introduced me to the moka pot again, this time, showing me how she brewed her coffee each morning, tamping down the coffee grounds (“You’re not supposed to do it, but this is how I do it,” I remember her saying) with the back of a spoon.
My best friend Pam used to brew a full pot of coffee in the morning and pour it into a thermos which she took with her when she drove to see her massage clients all over L.A. Pam knew how to live – I can still see her sitting in her car with her cup of coffee (black, not a drop of creamer), and a library book to keep her company as she waited in her car for her appointment to start. She usually arrived to her clients’ appointments really early, which meant that after she found parking, she’d wait – reading and enjoying her coffee.
When I would visit my mom in NYC, I as appalled that she still used instant coffee. So I would pack my moka pot with me whenever I visited, till one day she bought a French Press and proudly showed me how to use one. I already knew how (I have two) but it was a proud moment for me to see my mom graduate from instant coffee to the French press! But then, she only used it when she had guests over. When she was by herself, she admitted later on that she used instant.
When I went to the Philippines, I was appalled once again that they didn’t have coffee makers in the hotels. Not only that, when you ordered coffee, they served you instant coffee! Horror of horrors! I should have packed my moka pot then, too. Then I went to Boracay and I remember walking around with only one thought in my mind – freshly brewed real coffee. I was like a woman possessed. If you pulled out instant coffee, I thumbed my button nose and moved on. Then I stumbled upon a place called Real Coffee and it was like someone opened the doors up to heaven – and gave me the cure to my coffee withdrawal symptoms, 48 hours after arrival. Lee and her daughter, Nadine, are originally from the US and have made Real Coffee into an institution. They serve real coffee – no instant coffee here!
And because they have no signs pointing to their little spot from the beach, here is how you find them.
Anyway, so if you haven’t figured it out yet, coffee is my poison. In Breaking Bad, I loved Gale’s “pet project” and if you’re familiar with Breaking Bad, you’ll know what I mean.
Not to be outdone, on Hannibal, this is how Hannibal brews his coffee – doesn’t she look purty?
So there you have it! Since I can’t be drinking margaritas and wine coolers all day, I have had to settle for the next best thing. Coffee.
And while we’re on the topic of coffee anyway, here’s one more.
So, what’s your poison, I mean, potion?