LIFESTYLE | FOOD

Coffee makes its mark

Katrina Quesada

coffee drinkerBe it in the morning, afternoon or night, everyone has a special time of day for their cuppa.

On a local scale the ‘coffee culture’, as it is commonly known, is catching on like a fever. Those recently diagnosed: the Australian-Filipino community.

It’s true. We’ve seen the disease take over these people while on the way to work, during work, at school, at university… the list goes on. And while you may think it does not concern you – the one who would not come anywhere near coffee with a 10-metre pole – it does. Coffee is just not simply consumed anymore – it has created a culture and a whole new social experience among the majority of Filipinos living in Sydney today.

As one Australian-Filipina who has been a junior barista for the past two years, I know this all too well. If you too call the western suburbs your home, you would agree that there is a 99 per cent chance you will come into contact, or simply see, other Filipinos around.

And so, they come and go by the café daily, some on occasion, some who come back two to three times a day. I can name their usual orders off by heart: Ariel, macadamia latte, two sugars; Ruby, skinny cappuccino; James, large white chocolate mocha; and Tita Del is the most well-known, signi?ed by a skinny mocha.

These people are some of many who come during the week. They don’t plan to stay for long. But come the weekend, you get more couples, friends and families who are happy to sit down and savour the bittersweet ?avours and full bodied aroma of their beverages. Tito Frank can always be seen taking the time to enjoy his skim latte. The pastor will either be reading the daily newspaper or simply sitting with his wife. It is de?nitely a more social atmosphere on the weekends and the best time to watch the coffee culture at its peak.

I also have to note that I have noticed that, generally speaking, the majority of Filipinos tend to order mocha ?avoured beverages. I remember back to when I got my ?rst dose of caffeine literally years ago – I had a strong loyalty to my Gloria Jean’s mocha ‘Oreo Bash’ chiller. I was wondering why this was the case, so I took the question to four of my girlfriends – over a cup of coffee, naturally.

One guessed it was because we are so used to having so much ?avour in our traditional dishes. Our spaghetti is a prime example. Personally, I have never been to a Filo party or gathering where the spaghetti has not been sweet, and I’m not complaining! The girls agreed. I looked around at the mugs they had in front of them – three out of four were mocha coffees. My next thought? “Yup … typically Filipina.”

But the fact that almost all of us had opted for mocha that night wasn’t the only thing that got me thinking. I’d realised that the simple act of drinking coffee wasn’t, well, so simple.

We were young women living in the coffee culture, a social experience which calls you to sit down, wind down, enjoy and savour both ?avour and the time with friends. To relax and to connect and to reconnect.

Coffee may be seen as a vice by some, but to others it has become a reason to be with friends and an invitation to make new ones. And Filipino Sydneysiders are taking the opportunity. A simple daily experience which allows us to espresso ourselves and be socially active – why not share a cuppa today?

By Katrina Quesada

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