The marriage of coffee and cacao

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Roasted Peaberry arabica beans

Roasted Peaberry arabica beans

This year, the annual Coffee Origins event of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) will feature cacao along with coffee for a marriage of two of the country’s most important beans.

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On why Philippine cacaos are chosen as highlight of Coffee Origins 2014, PCBI president Chit Juan explained, “Both coffee and cacao in the Philippines share something in common. They are under-produced so we have to import more than 75,000 metric tons for coffee and 15,000 metric tons for cacao, increasing year on year. We just love coffee and chocolates as a country.”

She added, “And why should not cacao and coffee be together? This is the reason why people order Café Mocha or take a dark chocolate nugget with espresso. Coffee and cacao really make a good pair—be it in the farm, or in the cup.”

Slated from October 13 to 17, the 12th edition of Coffee Origins goes to Davao. As a featured partner industry, cacao experts will be heading to the southern Philippine province for the five-day event.

Ripe red cherries of different coffee fruits

Ripe red cherries of different coffee fruits

Various cacao activities will also be held starting with the Philippine Chocolate and Cacao Summit on October 16 at Seda Hotel. Investors and chocolate enthusiasts can then visit Calinan, the cacao country of Davao, which is home to Malagos Chocolates, Subasta Cooperative and many more cacao players. Expect a live cacao farming seminar at Malagos as part of the tour.

Cacao, specifically the Criollo variety has been enrolled and confirmed as an endangered species in the Slow Food’s Ark of Taste (www.arkoftaste.org). Barako coffee (Caffea Liberica) was also nominated and confirmed.

In fact the Philippines has about 30 entries in this collection of almost 1500 species of fruit, crop, animal and other living things that re now endangered. The others are kadios (black eyed peas) from Negros, millet from Cebu, and heirloom rice from Cordillera, among others.

Other activities waiting at the Coffee Origins include book selling and signing of Cacao: Bean to Bar by Josephine Ramos, Regina Francisco and Pacita Juan, and The Barista Manual, An introduction to Coffee, now on its second reprint, by authors Chit Juan and Reena Francisco.

PH coffee gets a boost
Apart from the Philippine Coffee Board, the local coffee industry has also received a boost from the Department of Trade and Industry this month.

DTI is encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to target the growing demand for premium coffee in local coffee shops in the country.

Speaking before local government agencies and coffee stakeholders in the Cordillera region, DTI Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo said, “There are vast opportunities in the regional and global production networks that we can take advantage of. The quality of our workers and the quality of our coffee beans will be key to the success of Philippine coffee in the domestic and international markets,” Rodolfo added.

In the Cordilleras, some 112 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) depend on coffee growing and trading for their livelihood. “Interventions include branding and promotions, availability of financial loans, capacity building and trainings, and capital equipment. DTI together with other government agencies provide shared service facilities or machines for roasting and grinding among communities of coffee farmers and traders in the Cordillera region,” added Rodolfo.

October really is an exciting time for the coffee and cacao industries.

For more information on Coffee Origins, e-mail admin.pcbi@gmail.com or contact 0908-8831218. For the Malagos Cacao Farming seminar, visit the Facebook page: Malagos Chocolate.

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1 Comment

  1. hello!me and my partner wants to invest in farming but we are still don”t know yet which one will be profitable in the future or long term demand in supply.
    can you help us which is better coffee or cacao??
    we really appreciate your feed back..