A Narrative Definition Of Coffee Culture and Heritage

"When, where, what, how, with whom, and why you drink your coffee is your coffee heritage." Vito Hernandez shares his definition of coffee heritage.

Vito Hernandez
June 18, 2022

Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. And many people consume it differently. For example, I grew up in a household that prepared coffee through a standard American coffee drip machine. These days, my father prefers the convenience of preparing and having his coffee ‘instantly’ – through a tablespoon of soluble brewed ground coffee beans. He will not however refuse a cup I make from freshly ground coffee beans brewed in either a French press, Vietnamese drip, or Italian mocha.

Occasionally, we still enjoy coffee prepared the drip machine-way. The coffee too varies. My father’s instant coffee of choice is Moccona, a Dutch-owned brand which uses coffee beans from China and Vietnam and processes it to its soluble form. This brand is readily available in most Manila supermarkets and is relatively affordable.

I prefer whole Philippine coffee beans, which I enjoy grinding every time I want a cup or two of coffee – at least, three times a day. I usually get my coffee beans from my favorite local coffee roaster – SGD Coffee!

Otherwise, I am happy to get my beans from Philippine coffee companies that ethically and sustainably source local coffee beans. This is one way to encourage the continued farming of Philippine coffee beans and the conservation of the lands, trees, and most especially peoples that farm Philippine coffees.

Summarily, this is my father and my coffee culture and heritage.

The traditional coffee culture and heritage of Ethiopians is interesting. I first heard about this from one of my graduate school professors who worked in Africa some decades back. There, coffee is often prepared in an almost hour-long ritual which begins with cleaning green or unroasted fresh coffee beans. Further reading tells me that they have a longer almost three-hour ceremony, and that women are heavily involved in this process. Regardless of whether its the day-to-day consumption or the ever so often performed ‘ceremony’ that we refer to, coffee drinking for Ethiopians is a social affair.

The culture of peoples drinking coffee reflects their heritage. Another way to put it might be this: When, where, what, how, with whom, and why you drink your coffee is your coffee heritage. It is yours and reflects your culture, and indeed your history. Thus, different peoples have different coffee cultures. And coffee heritage: A complex intertwining of these cultures that is woven economically, socially, historically, and politically.  

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