The Philippines, also known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, is one of the few countries that yield the varieties of commercially used coffee namely, Arabica, Liberica, Excelsa, and Robusta. What makes the country suitable for all of these four varieties is its climatic and soil conditions, stretching from lowland to mountain regions.
The history of coffee here in the Philippines is as rich as its flavor. In 1740, the first coffee tree was introduced in Lipa by a Spanish Franciscan monk. This is the start of coffee growing in the country as it was spread to other parts of Batangas like Lemery, San Jose, Tanauan, Taal and Ibaan. The city of Lipa eventually declared as the coffee capital of the Philippines.
Batangas has begun exporting coffee to America by 1860s, followed by the newly opened market in Europe. Since the coffee plantations and exporting in Batangas became successful, the industry then flourished to Cavite. It was in 1876 where the first coffee seedlings in Amadeo was planted. There was a time where the Philippines is the only source of coffee beans worldwide, dating back in 1880. In 1889, the glory days of the Philippine coffee industry ends. This is because of the coffee rust and the insect infestation. Brazil then had regained its position as the leading producer of coffee. Though this was not the end of the coffee industry, lesser areas were allocated since various farmers had shifted to other crops. It was in the 1960s when the farmers went back to growing coffee. This is with the help of the Americans since they introduced a more resistant variety of coffee. Numerous coffee beans supplier in the Philippines then become prominent. They are committed to delivering only quality coffee products in every way possible. Currently, the Philippines produces 30,000 metric tons of coffee per year.
Nowadays, we drink coffee not just to get a daily dose of caffeine. Drinking coffee is more of an experience and appreciation. Knowing where your coffee came from means understanding it in totality. Below are the four types of coffee that grow in the Philippines:
The Arabica Coffee of Cordillera
This is usually called “Kapeng Tagalog”. Since Arabica is a type of bean that grows at high altitude, notably those areas that constantly receives rainfall and a plentiful amount shade, the Cordillera region is undeniably perfect for this. It is one of the most commonly produced coffee and accounts for over 70% of coffee production worldwide. Arabica is known for its bittersweet taste and distinctive aroma. If you’d like to see the coffee plantations for yourself, most of them are can be found in the areas of Benguet, Sagada, and Ifugao although they are also abundant in the Southern Tagalog areas namely Batangas and Laguna, and Cavite.
Kapeng Barako of Batangas
If you prefer a coffee with a strong flavor, then the Liberica coffee, or most popularly known as the Kapeng Barako is the appropriate coffee for you. To give you a glimpse of its history, the first ever Barako tree came from Brazil and was planted in Lipa City, Batangas in 1800. The production of this kind of coffee is not as overwhelming as compared to the other varieties which made Kapeng Barako a rare species. This is one of the main reasons why a trip to Batangas will not be completed without enjoying a sip of their eminent coffee.
Robusta Coffee of Southern Tagalog
It is probably the most prevalent variety of coffee in the Philippines. If you’ll compare it to Arabica, this type of coffee is much easier to cultivate. It can grow on lowlands which makes them widespread in the Southern Tagalog regions namely in the areas of Bulacan, Mindoro, and Cavite. It accounts for almost 85% of the coffee grown in the Philippines as it is largely used to produce instant coffee that we enjoy every single day. A brewed Robusta coffee is characterized by a much sharper flavor with a distinctive aroma. Apart from the given areas, Sultan Kudarat also produces high quality of Robusta. One of the popular brands is Kape Dulangan.
The Excelsa Coffee of Quezon and Batangas
This type of coffee accounts for over 7% of the country’s entire coffee production. It has a very distinct taste that you compare to the sweetness of jackfruit, perfectly matched with its tempting aroma. Another thing that makes this coffee special is that it is resistant to dryness and other coffee diseases making it easy to grow as well. To see it for yourself, you may visit the farms located in the Quezon, Bicol, and even in Sorsogon.
Civet Coffee of Davao and Cavite
This is not your typical coffee. If you’re looking for a much exotic taste coming from an exotic source, then you might consider Civet coffee. As included to its name, this coffee belongs to the Philippine Civet cat. The coffee itself came from their poo. Philippine Civet cat is a tree-dwelling animal that feeds on coffee berries. The droppings, which were washed and cleaned has then resulted in a distinctive coffee flavor. It is characterized by a dark chocolate aroma. Specifically, this can be found in Davao, and the most famous brand is the Mt. Apo Civet Coffee while in Amadeo Cavite, they have the Café Amadeo. Southern Luzon also has this kind of coffee locally known as Kapeng Alamid or Kapeng Musang.
Which among those type do you prefer the most?