Philippine Coffee Company
. OUR COFFEE HERITAGE:
Coffee's Rich History in the Philippines
Coffee is important to Filipinos and it has been inherent in the culture for a very long time. This isn’t part of the new global coffee fad but goes back more then 2 centuries when the Spanish started growing coffee in highland plantations, and several regions are perfectly suited for coffee growing.
Lipa City in Batangas is the birthplace of Philippine coffee growing. It is said that a Franciscan Friar brought several kilograms of coffee and cocoa beans to Lipa in year 1714 and planted it within a monastery, and as a result of coffee Lipa became so wealthy that in 1887 Queen Isabela of Spain proclaimed it a city called Villa de Lipa
Not many people in the coffee drinking world outside of the Philippines realise that the Philippines was one of the world’s leading coffee producers up to the late 19th Century. However tragically the industry was wrecked by coffee rust disease in around 1880, and after that the various Latin countries arose to prominence, and these have been followed by many other regions.Times are changing and Philippine coffee is back.
The principal coffee plantation areas within the Philippines are centered within the highlands and mountain regions with the largest production area reportedly Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao. This is followed by Amadeo, Tagaytay and Silang in Cavite Province. Also the renowned areas of Batangas, Benguet, Bukidnon, Kalinga-Apayao, Davao, Claveria (not so far from Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte) and Misamis Oriental.
There are four varieties of coffee grown in the Philippines. These are the Robusta, Excelsia, Arabica and Liberica. Arabica is grown at higher elevations, in places such as Baguio, which has an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.
The Philippines are divided into 23 coffee-growing regions. They include the North Luzon (the main Arabica bean region) which comprises Benguet, the Cordillera mountain range, Mountain Province, Bontoc, Ifugao and Kalinga. The Central and South Luzon is the area from east Doña Remedios Trinidad (a large Robusta planting area) in Bulacan west to Bataan, and South to Cavite and Bicol.
Barako Coffee is the generic label given to coffee grown in the Batangas region. This coffee comes from Liberica beans. Liberica is quite rare and in fact is only grown in 3 countries out of some 70 different coffee producing countries. The first Barako tree was from a cutting imported from Brazil and planted in the 1800’s in Batangas. Barako coffee has a characteristically strong taste and flavor with distinctive pungent aroma