My Love Affair With Coffee

Prof. Gemino Jimmy Abad is a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

By Gémino H. Abad


THROUGH all my days and works, as far back as at least fifty years, coffee has been my most companionable steady.

My parents who were neither rich nor poor were always trying, as Mama put it, “to make both ends meet.” So, taking my studies to heart, first in UP Los Baños, and later, in UP Diliman, I needed most nights to keep still at my desk, relax, and focus on the next day’s academic task. This was how my life-long affair with coffee began.

UP Los Baños was my first experience of living away from my parents. In the solitary occupation of serious study, I found a kind of steadying solace in my steaming cup of coffee that I would bring up to my dormitory room from the cafeteria.

Between classes during the day, my friends and I would relax exchanging notes and conversing (and yes, gossiping) over cups of coffee in the school canteen; sometimes, young members of the faculty would join us, and then our coffee would seem to stir up the verve and cheer of the exchange. From solitude to multitude, as it were, from the isolation of intellectual engagement to the easy camaraderie of one’s own fellows, coffee seemed like a bridge one crosses lightsomely from day to day.

I had wanted to be a farmer-poet like Robert Frost. But in our class in poultry one day. I killed my first capon, for I took out from my poor captive more than was needful. It was a most telling omen. It so happened though that I had also read Gerard Manley Hopkins. Again, a poet decided my course.

Continue sipping…


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