A cup of coffee every morning has been a part of every Negrénse’s daily routine before going to work or study. This coffee culture has been around for quite a while since coffee was introduced in the island. History books are mum on who brought the first coffee beans in the Island of Negros but I am sure enough that it is the consequence of Spanish colonization. Coffee is from the Afro-Arabian areas in the Indian Ocean but has developed a unique character in the lives of Negrénses. Before the foreign brands like Starbucks, Gloria Jeans or Coffee Beanery, and likewise big local brands like Café Bob’s or Kuppa entered the scene, small coffee shops have dotted the landscape. May it be a hole-in-a-wall kapehan along the streets and those in or near the market, a daily cup is all that a Negrénse needs to talk about the latest in politics, price of sugar piculs or the secret lives of othe hacienderos.
Most of the hustle and bustle of the various kapehan are in the morning when people flock the shops to eat a hearty breakfast of bread, eggs and sometimes, with tocino over a cup of coffee before work while reading the latest in Negros Daily Bulletin. The café culture in Negros Occidental and in the capital Bacólod City owes to the fact that Negrénses like to eat out. Negrénses are also a social people where many prefer to be with some friends to just have simple fun. Nobody really knows how the Negrénses got a taste for the sometimes bitter coffee but I guess its because sugar is readily available in the province and cheap too. While some want their coffee as is, strong and aromatic, some choose to add milk and sugar for a flavorful treat. Even as Starbucks made a headway in the city and going strong as well, the local coffee shops seem unfazed and even rebranding to cater to the socialites too while retaining the affordable prize as well. Coffee beans come in cheap as well which works for those who want a coffee party at home.
If you are visiting Bacólod City for the first time and have a nil idea on where to go on your idle times after exploring the sights and sounds of Metropolitan Bacólod, try going to local coffee shops. Apart from the Bacólod food heritage Chicken Inasal, coffee is another defining taste to the Negrénse culinary atmosphere. Coffee is now grown in mountainside farms that boasts of wide selection of prime organic coffee products. If you are not that choosy with packaging, coffee beans are also sold and placed in simple plastic bags for a cheap price. Bacólod’s Main Markets like Burgos, Libertad and Central Market are dotted with stores that sell coffee beans from the aromatic Arabica to the strong Robusta. Why not bring home a kilo of coffee beans for yourself which merely costs a P180 per pack? Piaya, biscocho and tarts are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, with milk from La Granja Farm and muscovado sugar.