Curious and caffeinated at the Coffee Science Center

I love coffee. Let me say that louder for those in the back: I LOVE COFFEE. Coffee is so essential to my daily existence that I have trouble functioning without it (I blame grad school for starting this habit BTW). But despite me loving coffee so much, I actually don’t know that much about it. My greatest coffee-related achievements so far are having my very own French press (thanks again Danes and Mikey!) and blade grinder (yay I can buy whole beans instead of ground!), and knowing that I should let the coffee brew for only 4-5 minutes. So you can imagine my joy when I found out about the Coffee Science Center (coffee and science! My two favorite things!) offered the Coffee Sensory Workshop for beginners.

The Coffee Science Center (CSC)is the result of SGD Coffee’s Coffee Heritage Project – a private initiative they started in 2009 to get Philippine coffee on the map as one of the best coffees in the world. True to its name, the CSC is a place of learning. Students get an in-depth look at coffee from plant to cup, with stops in between to discuss the importance (or not?) of origin, how to tell if a bean is good, how to grind the beans, and other fun stuff nerdy java junkies will love. It’s the kind of information that you can normally only get through years of experience as a coffee buyer, barista, cafe owner, and/or coffee roaster.

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Stories from stuff: souvenirs from Hawai’i

Confession time: I love bringing home souvenirs from my travels. Aside from the physical representation of actually having been there, each one I bring home has a memory behind it. They also need to be something I’m going to keep: no pesky desk trinkets here.

The haul from my recent trip to Oahu and The Big Island:

1. Ref magnets! My family collects magnets and I picked up the habit early on. And hey, magnets are useful! 🙂 I got the Hawaiian map magnet from Walmart (I know, I know, but it was the only one I liked) and the other magnets from their respective places. Waikiki Aquarium was small but nice, Diamond Head was a bit of a hike (I’m really not a hiking person) but the views were fantastic, and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park was one of my favorite places in this entire trip.


2. A book! Specifically, Archipelago: the Origin and Discovery of the Hawaiian Islands by Dr. Richard Grigg. I love this book! I love well-written history books and I love well-written science books, so a well-written history AND science book is a magical unicorn for me. It mostly explains the science of how the Hawai’ian Islands were formed and how life arrived and evolved on the islands, but the last section deals with how the Polynesians discovered Hawai’i and how people have impacted the islands. I got this from the gift shop of the Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island. Tip: items bought in the gift shops of Hawai’i parks help support the parks and don’t get charged sales tax 🙂


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How I Make Worklife Easier

Although my work as a marine scientist sounds fun (and it is!), it’s not always sea and sunshine. There are corals to identify, data analysis to be done, and reports to write and edit. It’s definitely stressful at times but luckily, I have my personal not-so-secret weapons in the fight against worklife stress:
1. A good cup of coffee. Strange as it may sound, coffee relaxes me and gives me that extra kick to start the day. Nothing gets done before my first cup of coffee. Even just making a cup of coffee helps. Whenever I hit a wall while working, I leave my desk and fix a cup of coffee. The ritual of boiling water, scooping grounds into a press, pouring water, and waiting helps clear my head so that I can focus on the task at hand.

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This morning cup of coffee is Ginhawa Craft Studio Cafe in UP Los Banos 🙂

2. Pilates. If you told me a year ago that I’d list exercise as a way of destressing from work, I’d have laughed in your face and called you crazy. These days though, Pilates (and yoga! but mostly Pilates) is my go-to activity when I need to recenter myself and stop worrying about work. There’s something about the combination of quiet and hard work (I sweat buckets in that one-hour class) that makes me forget my troubles. Less stress + a stronger body = a double win for me.

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My regular haunts are White Space in Katipunan and Barre 3 in Trinoma. Enroll in KFit using the promo code ZO2UX and get a discount on your Fitness Pass! 😀

And last but not least…

3. Get organized. I make good use of the paper monthly calendar on my desk and home office, my paper planner, Post-Its, plus my standard suite of apps: Evernote, Google Drive, Docs, and Calendar, and Dropbox. While some people prefer to keep everything online, I find that having a paper copy of my schedule and tasklists makes them more concrete somehow. That and I take great joy in making to-do lists and crossing stuff out.

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