Coffee is both my simple pleasure and an addiction. Like a symptom of withdrawal, skipping my morning coffee ensures a terrible migraine by lunch. I come from a family that has after-dinner coffee and wouldn’t have problems getting any shuteye when we hit the sack. For that caffeine immunity, I’d also credit the pots upon pots of freshly brewed coffee I chugged like water back in college just to get through one more freaking chapter for the next day’s exams. From those paramedical books I learned the mechanisms of addiction, attenuation and other biochemical and physiological processes, later understanding why those books were printed in thicknesses perfect to use as pillows.
I ran into a former schoolmate, Chesca, who gushed she’s been to almost every place I recommended on this page. Her favorite? Burrito Babes. In that quick catch up I learned she now owns a coffee distributorship, Zedar Brooke, and that she has developed her own bean blend with a Canadian master roaster. Almost betraying the fact that I’m a total mooch, I was glad she offered that I sample her blend before I had the chance to ask.
Chesca sent me a bag of grounds and some of her pride and joy, her brainchild, coffee in tea bags. A medium roast, the CHZ Blend dripped delightfully dark through my Vietnamese tin filter ending in an almost syrupy pool in my cup. Strong, winey, full-bodied and flavorful with a fermented character owing to its combination of the intense but pleasant Excelsia, the richer flavors and low acidity of Arabica and bolstered by the earthier flavors and weight of Robusta and Liberica or Kapeng Barako.
The initial batch of the same CHZ Blend in tea bags produced a pleasant brew reminiscent of darker teas minus the herbal notes. Preferring coffee over tea and usually having it black, I found it lacking in body and the bitter oomph. It seems the drip method extracts more coffee content from the granules than the immersive steeping.
Chesca graciously sent me a reformulation with more Liberica content. This batch hit home with a deep, brown-black color complimented by a richer aroma and a heavier, earthiness with a dark, native chocolate finish. This would stand up to most any pastry or food item in food pairings. I had mine with Hawaiian Host Chocolate-covered Macadamia, the milk chocolate and nuttiness echoing the coffee’s flavor nuances. I bet this would be great with a sugary-cheesy ensaymada or even just plain pan de leche. I can’t wait for merienda.
Zedar Brooke Coffee and the CHZ Blend is available in beans, grounds and in tea bags through their Facebook account. You may also enjoy a cup at Regal Business Hotel, Best Western Lex Plus Cebu, Casa Escano/Don Mertos, Ipar’s, Little Saigon Big Bangkok, Crimson Resort, Café Caw and many other locations.