Month: July 2012

Water and Espresso: the making of the Cafe Americano

The beans

It starts with the beans. Still trapped inside the bag, their precious scent awaiting to burst.

The roast

Selected from the most pristine of farms, the beans had been brought to the perfect roast and brings its aromatic joy to anticipating lips.

Pulling the shot

But the spirit that has accompanied its journey does not lie in the sheen of the glazed seed, but at its very quintessence. And with every fleeting moment this essence must be captured and translated into the language of life: water.

Like the finale of a long river

Like the finale to a long wind down a river is the free fall reward of the espresso and its crema.

The sweet balance of espresso and water.

Finally, in a partnership almost unknown and viewed as redundant, water, the language of life, and espresso, the quintessence of the coffee, bring one another life in a solemn, intertwined companionship.

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The Worth of Our Time

     Time. Time, once upon itself, used to be so abundant. It seemed so endless as we ran the streets with bicycles, gashes on our skin, basketball uniforms, and friends who were there for you — literally everyday. Alas, a bygone era in each of our lives.

     South East Asian high schools have become quite a phenomenon of work. It’s not uncommon to find bustling student activity centers nowadays with teens realizing at an early age the value of uniqueness and adultness. In contrary to what we have observed in American cartoons and TV shows, it’s actually COOL and, to a certain extent, sexually attractive to be busy. And students aren’t plain and simple as going to school then going home then going to school again. A lot of them are home-music producers, bloggers, photographers, photo-bloggers, dance artists, ultimate frisbee enthusiasts, hipsters who hang out in coffee shops like some bente-singko anyos. You name it, they are it! And if they’re not specific artisans, then they’re probably…student council presidents, or they run family businesses, or they’re jet setters who treat Europe and USA like Tagaytay. And here presents itself the problem: everybody’s trying to be several people at once. Basically, 4-5 hour sleep maniacs.
     So, time. Such a priceless commodity. And because it’s so precious, we ought to stop and reflect, what the heck do we spend our time on? An intensely driven college student might devote perhaps 50-75% more time to studying than his or her peers, not to mention sky-high IQ’s of some of these people, while some other people may prefer maintaining social breadth. Some people may prefer maintaining a beautiful image of a sexy body, nice clothes, perfect enunciation, while some other people may be busy perfecting their own crafts and living under rocks. There pros and cons to just about every personality dichotomy, and it’s just a matter of how much time you spend on either of the couplet that categorizes you.
     What a lot of us may be guilty of doing is imagining time. Take for example time with your parents. Once upon a time, you were with them everyday. To the mall, to their offices, to the beach. Nowadays, there’s hardly any of that except the few minutes you see each other in the house in the evening. Life would be so busy everyday that you won’t really notice the passing of weeks, months, perhaps even years with an imagined thought that you were at the movies with them just last week. It’s a very decisive effort to purposely make time on a day when you would forget work and sincerely go out with your parents and realize that it’s been ages since the three of you were together.
     SAME GOES FOR STUDYING. You attend your classes everyday with an illusion that you’re spending time on your studies. But today there’s some kind of general assembly in one of your orgs, then tomorrow there might be a lunch get-together with your high school classmates, and then the next day you have to run some errands somewhere, then by friday of course you unwind and relax, then Saturday you might decide to watch DVDs with friends, then it’s Monday again and you have PE. That’s hardly fetched from an ideal of really studying on the table with focus and without distraction. As in 9gag, what you think you’re doing vs. what you’re actually doing. You’re actually not studying and spending more time on non-academic stuff. Productive time is a decisive effort.
     Time is discrete. You can’t expect yourself to hit high grades and at the same time keep yourself abreast with the latest TV series on Star World. You can’t expect yourself to actively train in ultimate frisbee and at the same time actively practice guitar. You can’t expect to be hip n’ cool in all the parties and events if you want to have a decent and serious relationship that your always babbling to your party friends you dream of having. If you find that your work is taking up most of your hours and energy, then you’ll definitely have no time to open your eyes to anything else. Absolutely nothing. That’s it. That’s the story of your life. It’s the part where you pseudo-plan in your head that one day you’ll do this and that. You never will. You have to seriously plan and dedicate your time if you want to do something.
     Just imagine. If you could take all the time you had spent staring blankly into a facebook page, you might have enough time now to exercise. If you could take all the time you had spent flipping aimlessly through the channels of weekday afternoon TV, you might have enough time now to do that term paper. If you could take all the time you spent over-maintaining this so-called “social breadth”, you might have chance today to become someone greater than someone who got lost in pagbabarkada. On the other hand, don’t be so lonely and value early-life-rooted friendship. The things we spend our time on is a crucial point of reflection.
     On a level of introspection, I seem to spend time every day on studying, although it doesn’t get me the best grades. I spend time writing songs, although I haven’t written as much as I hoped I would. At an earlier period, I had spent a lot of time doing student council work, and after a particularly stressful experience, I told myself I’d never go into any form of high-level leadership ever again. On the other hand, I’ve spent some time doing some laps in our local, allegedly dirty 25-m pool (it’s about time I spent some time for exercise). As for my extra-curriculars, I spend an average of six-hours a week with my local parish choir; that’s six hours a week spent for the past seven years. Finally, the time I’ve spent on a guitar or a piano, or listening to music encompasses such a huge amount of life that the only way I could measure it is by expressing it as a lifetime. There’s a part of my life that I miss. There a chunk in it that I might regret. There’s a part of it I still control. My life’s horizon is still something spend time dreaming about. What about you, what have you spent a lot of time on?