Sunday, November 12, 2006

Anyone Up For Insulting Coffee?

I'm predicting that coffee shall play a significant role in my life for the next four months. I have a class until 8.30 PM every Tuesday, and the teacher is a horrifying creature (I've spent a sem with her, hey). That in itself should be enough to keep me awake, but I don't know. Nightmares also happen when you're sleeping.

Since I usually hit the sack by 7.00 PM, this particular class is too much for poor me. That's why I need a caffeine boost just before the three-hour class starts. There are only two coffee places I know which are near campus: Gonuts Donuts and Starbucks. (Hell, I sound like a tourist brochure slash saleswoman).

Gonuts Donuts coffee is horrible. I'm not the one to be saying this since I don't drink a lot of coffee in the first place, but it IS horrible. They better stick to selling donuts and donut holes---that is, if they dont't want to lose customers. Well, who knows, maybe some customers are really masochists out for a cup of fun. Hm? Come to think of it though, how can you sleep with this bad, uncomfortable taste in your mouth? If I'm buying coffee just to keep me awake, Gonuts Donuts may be just the place.

And Starbucks. I love their coffee. It's not just the obscene joy of lugging a Starbucks cup around for the status symbol. The coffee really does taste good, and that's a lot to be said from someone whose idea of great coffee is a pinch of it with two tablespoons of sugar in hot water. However, the Spouse Equivalent hates the place. The first and so far only time he's been there, he promptly declared: nasusunog ang aking kaluluwa sa langit ninyong mga elitista.

Which is valid. A frappe for P150? In a Third World country such as ours, the concept 'Starbucks' (i.e. conyo, pang-mayaman, sosyal) is a screaming declaration of the gap between the rich and the poor. A yuppie or an upper-middle class student can pay for a cup of expensive coffee while the next guy he passes by hasn't eaten for a day. I think there's something wrong with that.

So why Starbucks? There are lots of other expensive places where this gap between the rich and the poor is illustrated: restaurants, car showrooms, jewelry shops, clothes stores, etc. But picture this: the average Filipino loves coffee. Since the average Filipino is financially unstable, the perfect meal substitute is coffee. Cheap, filling, warm to the tummy---just like food, only cheaper. When Starbucks came to the Philippines and thus was consequently worshipped by the moneyed, 'coffee' as the poor man's food substitute became the rich man's status symbol.

Coffee became an insult to the poor. More so after other expensive coffee shops sprouted after the entrails of Starbucks' success---like Gonuts Donuts.

Whichever the case is though, I'm still buying from Starbucks. They have good coffee, and whatever I said above, I'll validate my consumption by saying that as far as I'm concerned, it's worth it. P150 for a frappe? Why not, if it keeps me awake for three hours while listening to Logical nonsense.


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