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Growers seek to meet global standards for specialty coffee


THE BALUTAKAY Coffee Farmers Agriculture Cooperative (Bacofa) continues to work with its partner growers to reach a grade of at least 90 on the quality scale to sell premium specialty coffee. 

Coffee beans are rated according to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) quality scale. Most coffee roasters typically score between 80 and 89 points, so scoring 90+ is considered a dream for most retailers. 

The cooperative is working with the Model Cooperative Network (MCN) to realize its goals. 

During the Habi at Kape forum at Abreeza on Jan. 24, Rhoda Ruth M. Pillerin, MCN chief executive officer, said they continue to train the hardworking growers in Balutakay, Bansalan, Davao del Sur to ensure consistent superior harvests.

Last year, Jhon Lawrence dela Cerna of Bacofa placed second by scoring 85.75 in the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC). The SCA quality grade rates an 85 to 89.99 score as “Excellent.”

“The target is to get to 90 because most of the specialty coffee traded around the world naa diha sa 90, so we also want to get there,” she said.

She also said their First Specialty Coffee Auction last Jan. 20 at Park Inn Hotel in  Davao City was a success as products were sold at prices beyond their expectations. She believed that the auction’s success augured well for the coffee industry, which will only benefit the coffee-producing communities in the region.

Bacofa chairperson Rogelio L. Gonzales said their members face the challenge of costly inputs and the tedious steps in processing the beans, which impact production quality. If they skip some steps, the coffee quality will fall below standards. 

Kung dili na mu pasa og otsenta pataas ang imohang kape, mabagsak gyud na siya sa non-specialty coffee. So, kailangan gyud nato ihatag nato ang atong panahon gyud diha sa pag process sa kape kung gusto tang mahimong specialty coffee producer (If you can’t score 80+, the product will be classified as non-specialty coffee. So, you must take time to process the coffee if you want to be known as specialty coffee producer),” he said.

He said they are preparing to match or even surpass their score in this year’s PCQC, as well as the future specialty coffee auction, which is tentatively scheduled in September or October 2024. 

The MCN is helping Bacofa as part of Mindanao Development Authority’s peace and development project through funding from European Union partners.

Pillerin said they are partnering with local coffee shops to promote and sell their specialty coffee, including training brewers and baristas to elevate their skills. The Specialty Coffee Depo PH will also host coffee appreciation sessions in the future.


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