SINCE time immemorial, Sagada, a town famous for its hanging coffins in Mountain Province, has been a producer of coffee and is now emerging as the country’s Arabica coffee capital. But one thing that is also worth noticing in this place is their produce called “Bana’s Coffee.”
Very recently, this Cordillera organic coffee won a medal and gained international recognition in Europe. This was during the third edition of the International Contest of Coffees Roasted in the Countries of Origin organized by the Paris-based Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA).
A non-government, non-profit organization, AVPA is composed mainly of coffee industry experts and taste enthusiasts.
“Our goal is promoting the value of agricultural products around the world and give recognition to the excellence of producers,” Philippe Juglar, AVPA president, stated.
Bana’s Coffee was first presented to AVPA by a team of three people namely Goad Sibayan, Butch Acop and Rich Watanabe.
Running Bana’s Coffee is Sibayan, who himself is a coffee farmer and roaster. Foreign and local tourists can find Sibayan in Sagada where he grows only Arabica coffee trees.
Sibayan said Bana’s Coffee’s win in Paris helped boost the country’s reputation of having among the best coffee in the world.
He said it was Juglar who gave the award to Consul Rapunzel Acop of the Philippine Embassy in Paris on behalf of the team that counts him, Acop and Watanabe, during the awarding ceremony that took place at the Embassy of Peru in Paris on June 28.
Some 60 coffee entries from 21 countries also received various awards from AVPA.
Watanabe said the entry of Bana’s Coffee into AVPA was a collaborative effort between the team and the Coffee Heritage Project (CHP), a non-profit private initiative dedicated to help farmers grow quality-focused coffee.
“We hope that with this recognition, we are able to highlight Philippine coffee and the great work of Filipino coffee farmers like Goad [Sibayan], growing one of the finest coffees in the world to be the true artisans of the Philippines’ coffee industry,” Watanabe said.
The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in collaboration with farmers’ cooperative, the local government unit and the Sagada Arabica Coffee Council (SACC) have contributed a lot to the growing coffee industry in Sagada.
In 2014, PhilMech started deploying its technology that was adopted by the Sagada Arabica Coffee Growers and Processors Organization (SACGPO), which then initially maintained at least seven units of coffee depulper.
Assisted by PhilMech and the local government of Sagada in adopting postharvest technologies for coffee, SACGPO markets the “Sagada Gold” brand.
According to Helen Martinez, Muñoz-based PhilMech’s supervising science research specialist, the technologies they introduced in Sagada covered collecting, pulping, hauling and sorting.
PhilMech’s coffee depulper, which is undergoing improvement, has a capacity of 40 to 50 kilograms of coffee berries an hour and is operated by only one person.
The technology has greatly helped coffee farmers in Sagada and has been making known the municipality for its organic Arabica coffee,” Martinez said.
She said the technology is far better than the traditional mortar and pestle where a farmer can only depulp and dehull 40 to 50 kilograms of coffee berries in one working day.
“Using the coffee depulper, postharvest losses are reduced to less then 6 percent from as much as 16 percent using the mortar and pestle method,” Martinez said.
Also, she said, the quality of the processed coffee beans is greatly improved with the use of the coffee depulper, which in turn can make farmers demand better prices for their beans.