Coffee is connected to the daily lives of local people. Coffee, a valuable cash crop, used to be mostly drunk among old folks, not by children. Children were told by adults that drinking coffee dulled their brains. However, upon reflection on their childhood, local people think they were told this superstition because coffee was a valuable item, to be drunk only by old folks. Usually, local people drink coffee with sugar. Milk was too expensive for people to drink with coffee.
Whenever neighbors pass by a home in the community, the people in the house say “Men-kape tako” to the neighbors, which means: “let’s have a chat with coffee!” Serving coffee to guests is their cultural practice and people often take coffee in a bottle to the rice fields, and drink it with others during their breaks.
Coffee has also been a gift for ceremonial occasions. In some local areas, funerals are held for several days, with prayers going on throughout the nights, and people appreciating coffee during those times.
For old folks, especially in Bontoc, getting together in a place in the morning and drinking coffee was an important time to exchange information and discuss things in their communities. This was a part of the “dap-ay” where men gathered for social, religious, and political functions in their community. As a result, coffee has become an integral and essential part of the culture and heritage of the people of Sagada.
Similarly, drinking coffee is part of Ibalois’ important celebrations and events. By sharing cups of steaming coffee, they show hospitality and establish friendships. Those from Kabayan and Bokod in Benguet particularly, say “agsij-up” to invite their guests to share coffee and conversation. Generations have also proven the health benefits of the dark brew.