Sinunog bugas mais
In the Philippines, burnt corn flour (sinunog bugas mais) is used to make a coffee-flavored beverage. To make “corn coffee” (kapeng mais), primarily a variety with white kernels is used, the white corn of Cebu, also called tingib by locals. Its kernels are more compact and harder than the ones of common varieties with yellow or other kernels.
To obtain sinunog bugas mais one needs to roast ca. half a kilo of corn flour over medium heat in a wok for about 30 minutes, so it does not form lumps. It is ready, when the flour has assumed a dark brown color, similar to coffee. Once it has cooled down, it can be conserved and used as needed. To make the beverage, one teaspoon of burnt corn flour is boiled in water for 10-15 minutes. At the end, the sediment which has formed on the bottom of the kettle is eliminated, and the corn coffee may be served with sugar or cream.
Corn coffee is not a new invention, the people of the Visayas province have been consuming this burnt cornflour beverage as a coffee substitute for a long time, often accompanying it with a local bread called “pan de sal”. It is the breakfast of the people from the countryside, as well as a popular snack.
The corn is rich in nutrients and provides energy, without simultaneously providing caffeine. Originally, it was mostly consumed in areas in which coffee was not cultivated.
Corn coffee was initially produced in various cities if the central area of Visayas – Cebu, Negros, Bohol – before reaching the cities of Mindanao, Misamis Oriental, Iligan and Bukidnon.
The production cost of corn coffee is quite low, and a kilo of corn yields approximately a kilo of coffee. The retail price of corn coffee is more than three of four times its cost of production, and therefore corn coffee guarantees a good profit. Nevertheless, the production is low, as the market prefers regular soluble coffee.
White corn cultivation has been losing ground to make space for the proliferation of hybrid and GMO corn varieties, as well as due to the importation of health drinks, which are conquering the younger generations.