Kahawa Sug: All Time Favorite Native Coffee of Joloanos
Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to get back to sleep. Indeed, its aroma makes you feel alive and it urges you for more cups (of coffee or Kahawa Sug) – specially in the morning or after siesta.
Growing up in an urban area in Sulu is something that I found interesting. Living in the center part of the province makes me realize how coffee shop businesses grow and how it impacts the economy and the social lives of the Joloanos.
Kahawa is a Tausug term which literary means coffee. Tausug, on the other hand, refers to the people of Sulu province in Mindanao, Philippines. Kahawa is one of the primary sources of income for many Tausug. They export kahawa to different places in the Philippines. Indeed, the coffee industry in Jolo truly helps the productivity income of the local commoners in the province.
Kahawahan (Coffee shops) Everywhere
In cosmopolitan Jolo, people are raised to the values of coffee breaks. Everywhere, you could see brimming of native coffee that comforts one’s build from a tiresome work. Coffee is almost a staple element in every family’s breakfast. Without it, breakfast or merienda is incomplete.
In this province, wherever you roam around, try to look around and observe, nowhere you can spot Starbucks. People there live in simplicity with a lot of kahawahan (coffee shops) in the corner of the streets, in the market, everywhere!
The shops are open as early as 4 o’clock in the morning, seven-days-a-week, which this culture is remarkably interesting to me because it shows their productiveness in terms of business and their will to serve the early bird customers.
Plus, what’s interesting about these kahawahans is their waiters/ waitresses who’d do the calculation without using calculator when you pay your bill. By just merely looking at the tray on your table they’d automatically sum-up the total amount of your bill. Quiet amazing knowing that most of them haven’t been to education!
How Kahawa Sug is made
We all know that technology makes almost everything easy. But living in an urban area like our neighbor, Awoh Kasdi (Auntie Kasdi) who is from Luuk, (one of the farthest Municipalities in Sulu) does Kahawa Sug in “mano-mano” (by-hand). Yes, you heard that right. After drying Kahawa beans for a couple of weeks, she would put them in a huge bayuhan (huge mortar and pestle). She would exert force just to dry the coffee beans finely crushed and skinless.
Next, she would place them in a huge kawah (looks like a huge frying pan) and roast them. She’d keep the beans moving throughout the entire process by using a big wooden paddle to keep the beans from over-roasting.
It takes an hour or two for coffee beans to get roasted. Once done, Awoh Kasdi would go to Tiyangge (Jolo Town) to rent a grinder machine in the market.
Grinding the coffee beans converts it to a finer texture. As the coffee becomes finer, it continues to press down and roll the grounds till the desired consistency and texture is met. As she would arrive home, she would directly go to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee for everyone to taste her finished product.
Growing up with Kahawa Sug
Kahawa Sug has been part of my teenage life. I was 15 then when my mother had Kahawa products which we supply to different coffee shops in Jolo.
Most of the shops would order 20 to 30 kilos to avoid shortage knowing that Tausugs are really a coffee fanatics. We would sell them for only 60 pesos/kilo and 30/half-kilo.
Truly, Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold, it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility.
– Sheik-Abd-al-Kadir, In Praise of Coffee (1587)
Remembering how I peddled Kahawa Sug during summer was such a nostalgic memory which I always love to look back. I would walk throughout our barangay and vended them store to store. I never mind the humid and heat of the weather because I really enjoyed doing it.
By producing Kawhawa Sug, it helped me a lot in sustaining my finances during my high school, for extra allowance and particularly for school projects. Most of all, I got one of the best experiences in my whole life truly worth reminiscing – I was already an entrepreneur at that young age.
“Kahawa Tungah Baso” (Half glass of coffee).
“Kahawa Giyagatasan.” (Coffee with Milk).
“Pila baso?” (How many glasses?)
“Pila sin hangka kilo?” (How much is 1 kilo?).
I really miss listening to these usual conversations whenever I stroll around downtown Jolo and or had a chance to stop in one of the Kahawahans, especially in Crossing – a particular coffee shop I used to spend time on.
Kahawa Sug is perfect when chitchatting with your best buddy in a coffee shop. It feels like capturing a memory in a cup.
Even now in Zamboanga City, before I go to the office, I won’t miss a day without dropping by at the nearby coffee shop just to have a cup of Kahawa Sug. It makes my day when I’m with a cup of our very own native coffee.
Kari na kaw bagay, manginum kita Kahawa! (Come here my friend, let’s have some cup of coffee.)Sponsored: