Sira-sira store: The mystery of the missing coffee sachets

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Friday, February 7, 2014

IT is early dawn. A shadowy figure, bent and frail, stealthily steps out of the bedroom and, as if on cat feet, swiftly crosses to the kitchen of this particular house. The chilly dawn air wafts into the cavernous house, and the shadow shivers from the cold.

The shadow silently makes for the cabinet where the household keeps its foodstuff. Opens it carefully. Reaches in gingerly. Suddenly, the silence of the dawn is broken by a blood-curdling scream.

“Where is the coffee?” (I wish I could use an interobang for this one.)


Everybody in the house rushes out, thinking that a family member has found an old bill that needed to be paid by noon—but no. It’s just my aunt, Tita Blitte, who discovers that at this particular dawn—4 a.m. is her wake-up time —the family has run out of coffee.

Coffee in plain, single-serve sachets.

Although the family likes brewed coffee, or stuff imported from the US, more often than not, the family relies upon the coffee sachets to wash away all traces of sleep.

Since we were all up now, we decided to have an extremely early breakfast with Tita Blitte, minus coffee in sachets.

“This is a case that Sherlock Holmes might like,” Tita Blitte said.

What are the facts of the case? Right after Typhoon Yolanda, the single-serve coffee sachets became a scarcity. They would appear in grocery shelves, filling it up to the top, but the next day they would disappear into some kind of a Bermuda Triangle of Coffee Sachets.

When salesclerks are asked about the disappearance, they would all plead innocent and point a finger at their purchaser.

When you go to the information desk, you get the uniform kind of reply: “We don’t know when the next shipment will arrive.”

Why is my aunt bent on getting to the bottom of this mystery? Because the convenient sachet is easy to budget and the serving portion is just right. Since it is not pre-mixed with sugar and cream, the person making coffee can adjust the strength of sweetness or the amount of cream to put in.

Two days ago I got in touch with CSI: Miami about the case, but I was told they don’t solve real mysteries. (Do I get a complementary smile for this joke at least?)

I decided to get the services of Elementary actors Jonny Lee Miller (as Sherlock Holmes) and Lucy Liu (as Dr. Joan Watson), and they were very attentive and sympathetic. They also love coffee, they said, and although they solve crimes, they didn’t see anything from the clues that would say a crime has been committed.

“But isn’t it crime when you are deprived of an affordable serving of coffee? Where have all the coffee sachets gone? They’re plain gone.” Sherlock shook his head and suggested that I should consult the robotic cat Doraemon. “Maybe he has a trick tucked in his bib that would solve the mystery.”

The old cat (born in 1969) gladly welcomed me and listened to my lament. He rummaged through his bib but could not find anything that would solve the mystery of the missing coffee sachets.

“When did these coffee sachets start behaving suspiciously?” Doraemon asked.

“Around November last year,” I said, sounding like his friend Nobita.

“Have you heard about the law of supply and demand in economics?”

I told the cat that I have, but I wasn’t suspecting anything in that direction.

“In that case, you have good and pure heart. Worry no more about the coffee sachets. You will be richly rewarded in heaven one day.”

“But I want my coffee sachet now. Here on earth,” I told Doraemon.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 08, 2014.


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