DNX CULTURE | Island brew: The tale of two coffees


Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

I am a coffee drinker.

One time, I (in)famously drank 16 cups of coffee and had to be rushed to the Emergency Room because of severe palpitations and a pulse rate that is dropping dangerously low. 

Not a proud moment, but that just goes how I could not live without my daily caffeine fix.  I used to jest that if my wrists were opened, I would probably find not blood but thick dark brown liquid that could only be coffee.

I am far from a connoisseur though.  I have a rather pedestrian tongue when it comes to coffee.  Sure, I prefer the dark, fresh ground variety over the instant mixes (thou shalt not desecrate coffee that way, ya hear me Nescafe?), but I cannot tell the finer nuances of the flavors between the Robusta and the Arabica.  I love the smell of coffee in the morning, but I could not tell between the finer notes of Batangas coffee or one from Vietnam.

Sure, I would take your word for it if you tell me that the cup I am sipping now has passed through the digestive tract of a civet cat and pooped out (and I would love to have that experience) but that does not mean that my tongue and nose can take the distinction.

Still, that does not mean I don’t love my coffee.

And I have had the pleasure of sipping a cup of Coffee Culture Roastery’s Negros Blend.  Coffee Culture is owned by Thomas Sproten, unofficial ambassador of the that bean that has been worshipped by night owls, call center agents, night shift workers, and people nursing hangovers.

He is an instructor for Coffee Quality Institute, and treats coffee roasting as an exact science.

“Arabica has a less bitter taste, gentler flavor, while robusta is heavier on the bitter taste,” he tells DNX.

Negros Blend is a mix of both – it has a clean almost sweet taste, and hint of bitterness as the coffee hits the back of your tongue.

When taken as it is – meaning dark, no sugar – it has a clean clear taste, and just a hint of chocolate and berries.  The bitterness is not overpowering, and the ground beans add an almost sexy, silky texture to the brew.

The blend did not lose its character even when milk or cream was added (I did both).

Coffee connoisseurs everywhere have been raving about the subtle notes of the Negros Blend and Thomas himself has said that credit has to come from the coffee bean itself grown in Negros. 

I will take their word for it.

As for this pedestrian coffee drinker, I am happy with my cup and as of the moment, I am at my fifth.  And it’s not even 4:00 pm.


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