Not very many people realize that Mindanao produces about 70 percent of our coffee in the country. Many still think it is Batangas, or maybe Cavite, which now comes as a close second to our Southern mountain areas.
We were in Davao over the weekend to prepare for our coffee month celebration in October. Dubbed “Coffee Origins,” this week-long festivity is, I think, is the only time in the country where coffee can be had for free all week long.
During the past 17 years, Ayala Malls have always supported the coffee industry by providing a venue for the coffee sampling activities. This year, the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) is taking everyone to Davao. It will be held in Abreeza Mall, also an Ayala property, from October 13 to 17 (with possible extension of a day or two).
Even our 7th National Coffee Sum-mit will be held across at the new Seda Hotel. We checked the venues and everything is looking good! While in Davao, we explored a few coffee places and of course did not miss the most exotic of them all, Mt. Apo Coffee.
Mt. Apo is located inside the Crocodile Park run by the same group of Philip “Sonny” Dizon. For our morning treat, Sonny brewed civet coffee and Peaberry Civet (how special) in a stovetop espresso maker.
While meeting some media friends, we savored the smooth cup of brewed coffee, without any sugar or cream. Do you know how to tell if a coffee is really good? Try letting it cool down to about 90 degrees Celsius and it will still be smooth tasting. Good coffee will always be good. Hot or even when it cools down. A bad cup will taste bad when hot and worse when cold. Just some tips in enjoying a cup of coffee.
Mindanao has coffee from Mt. Apo in Davao, Mt. Matutum in Cotabato. Mt Kitanglad in Bukidnon, many more lower mountains in Basilan, Sulu, Caraga area, Sultan Kudarat and generally just about everywhere that is over 300 meters elevation.
The Arabicas are of course found over 1,500 meters above sea level just like our award-winning Kapatagan coffee, which Sonny serves at the Mt. Apo Roasting Factory and coffee shop. If you want to spoil yourself, try the Kapatagan Civet. Spoiled rotten? Try the Peaberry Civet.
Going up the specialty coffee ladder is not difficult when you are at Mt. Apo. They get the red cherries fresh and ripe from the mountains, process them in Davao, ferment and dry them until they are ready for roasting. So, you can see green beans which are bluish in color like the famous Sumatran Blue Lintong. Nicky Matti and I were smelling away at the freshly dried coffee beans, and admiring the clean smell of raw coffee. Now, can you imagine its flavor when it’s roasted? Yum.
At our coming coffee event, many farmers who never even tried roasted coffee will have the chance to see how it transforms from green to golden brown when we take the side trip to Sonny’s Roasting facility. This is roasting it the “slow food” way, it reminds me.
The roasters are fired by charcoal, “Sumiyaki Style” just like how the Japanese do it. By the way, Japan is the second largest consumer of coffee in the world and they have been roasting this way ever since. Charcoal. Slow roast. Delicious coffee.
We hope that we can meet all the coffee farmers and stakeholders in Mindanao so we can produce more beans, and fulfill our local demand which still is more than our supply. I would not mind drinking Kapatagan coffee everyday. And Matutumaslo has a different flavor note to it, too. So with Bukidnon. So better sharpen your geography and check out the Mindanao origins. Apo, Matutum, Kitanglad. Sultan Kudarat, Kalamansig, Sulu.
What a trip! I am so energized after that smooth cup of Kapatagan Peaberry. Davao will always hold many coffee memories for me. And I will add to my stash of good stories in October when I return.
Meanwhile, let me check which restaurant I will try tonight. I have been to three good ones already. No MSG. Just good, freshly made food. Davao has so many treasures besides its coffee. And I can stay here and discover more places to visit.
Hey Davao, I already feel like a local.
Coffee Origins will be held on October 13 to 17 at Abreeza Mall and the 7th National Coffee Summit will be on October 15 at Seda Hotel. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0908-8831218. Register early. Sponsors are still welcome to participate.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at email@example.com