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CULTURAL POTPOURRI | All About Coffee

THE strong smell of freshly brewed coffee greeted visitors once they entered the glass doors of the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang Premier last September 14-15, 2022.  It brought to mind the quote, “The smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the world’s greatest inventions.”

Successful Arabica and Robusta coffee growers

Indeed, the staging of the Philippine Coffee Expo (PCE) 2022, which was organized by the Philippine Coffee Guild and the Davao Region Coffee Council with support from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Trade and Industry, brought in various groups of participating exhibitors from the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions with their coffee carts, stalls, and booths.  According to the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) there were 60 booths and 27 coffee carts representing the whole coffee sector which were set up for the special event.  What a joy it was, truly, for the coffee aficionados of the country who came in droves to attend the affair.

An Ovu-Manobo couple from the Madadma Community selling quality coffee

       Coffee is well loved by Filipinos as a beverage with the group aged 16 to 64 years drinking the most coffee in the country. Coffee is one of the top three beverages in the world.  It is also one of the most profitable commodities.

An exhibit of proudly Davao produced coffee

It is believed that a moderate intake of coffee (about 2-5 cups a day) “is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parikinson’s disease and depression.”  Since coffee contains caffeine, it helps increase energy levels and make people feel less tired; helps burn fat by activating one’s metabolism; and improves brain function.

     Philippine coffee has a rich history dating back to the year 1740 when a Spanish Franciscan monk planted the first coffee tree, which came from Mexico just like our cacao, in the lowlands of Lipa, Batangas.  By 1880, the Philippines became the world’s 4th largest bean exporter.  Batangas became known for its Barako coffee locally in centuries past up to the present.  Unfortunately, the Coffee Rust plague in 1889 destroyed the country’s trees and coffee production slid to 1/6th of its previous production by the turn of the 20th century. 

Italian stove-top espresso makers in different sizes

Amadeo Cavite is presently considered the Coffee Capital of the Philippines with its 4790 hectares of land planted to coffee.  SOOCCSKSARGEN in Mindanao is also asserting its right as the major producer of coffee in the Philippines alright.  The Philippines is one of the few countries which is presently producing the commercial varieties of Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa.  Philippine Liberica is known locally as Barako Coffee which produces a robust and powerful taste.  Davao’s Alamid ng Mount Apo, which is harvested from the rich soil of Mount Apo, is among the most coveted coffee beans by coffee connoisseurs in the world.  It is believed to be the most expensive coffee in the world.

Coffee stalls from Bukidnon manned by young baristas

     During the Philippine Coffee Expo 2022, a two-day well-attended seminar was conducted touching on such relevant topics as:  Outlook for the Philippine Coffee Sector: Reasons for Optimism; Combating Climate Change by Unlocking the Potential of Coffee Varieties; Coffee: Latin America Context; A Colombian Coffee Producer’s Experience; Coffee Production and Crop Diversification; Financing in the Coffee Value Chain: Opportunities, Challenges and Collaboration; The Role of the Q Standard in the Philippine Specialty Coffee Sector; Adopting a Culture of Quality: One Bean at a Time; Impact of Storage and Warehousing on Coffee Quality; World Coffee Production and Consumption Trends; Internal Markets for Philippine Coffee; Women Entrepreneurs in Coffee; among other interesting topics still.

The well-attended seminars of the Coffee Expo 2022

       The Coffee Expo 2022 was a great opportunity to promote Philippine coffee and bring together people who are in coffee production as well as coffee consumers.  As for me, I am a coffee lover but not one for instant three-in-one coffee though.

 

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