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“Good morning Sir Arthur,” greeted my favorite Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf barista. “Would you want your usual brewed coffee?” She continued, with a smile. “Café Americano for today, Michaela,” I replied with a glimpse of smile.

As I sat in my favorite corner of the shop and began to take my first sip of espresso, I saw an old man. He was seated at the next table reading the morning paper. You could tell his age from the deep lines written on his forehead and the corners of his eyes. He reminded me of my father. I took a second sip while soft tears partly filled my eyes.

I grew up practically away from him. Tatay Arturo, as his fellow coffee bean farmers used to call him, chose to stay in Batangas while he sent me to school in old Manila. It was only during summertime when I get to go to the farm with ‘tatay’. As a child, I was allowed to clean the red beans freshly plucked from the farm. When I became a young man, I was then able to assist in roasting the beans, the traditional way. During these times, the aroma of the Arabica beans would fill the whole town plaza.

Before the summer ends, tatay would always remind me to do well in school, to have a better future, and not be like him – a struggling coffee bean farmer. The arrangement stayed that way until my last year in high school, when he died.

Every time I drink coffee and smell the aroma of newly roasted beans, I shall remember my father, my tatay who plucked coffee beans to raise his son.

Upon finishing my espresso, I stood and bade Michaela goodbye, at least temporarily, because I’ll see her again next Sunday.

*A Fictional Essay/Short Story for What’s Your Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Story

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