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April 5, 2019


It’s summer and time to learn new things. Take classes in something you have always found interesting and maybe even start a garden!

I am totally impressed with young entrepreneurs who hold seminars and workshops on just about anything! There is no reason to be idle this summer. I have noticed many workshops on arts, music and today’s most popular beverage—COFFEE!

Cafés, schools, and other groups have ventured into sharing their knowledge on something as basic as Brewing Coffee at Home to Starting a Coffee Farm. I remember 20 years ago you would have to go abroad to find a class on coffee-making and coffee history.

As we print our third edition of The Barista Manual this coming April (first printed in 2007 as Introduction to Coffee by Anvil Publishing Inc.), I see more baristas going abroad and making waves in international competitions as well as holding important positions in cafés from Dubai to Singapore. I also see many new entrants in the coffee shop scene. These pop-ups eventually become brick and mortar stores or become caterers for parties and events.

Truly, the coffee scene here in the Philippines is alive and perking! Coffee chains or the start of franchises are also found in the south with Coffee Brewtherhood of Iloilo and Dennis Coffee garden of Zamboanga City holding their own, in their turf, but contemplating expansion in the other places like how Bo’s Coffee and Figaro did in the 90s. This is the time for the younger, more energetic entrepreneurs to spread their wings and conquer the other places.

In Cotabato, there are new players Moro Café and Kape Mindanaw; in Davao and Cebu, there are a number of single-store setups made possible by baristas who have come back from their stints abroad.

I look back at our long love affair with coffee with fond memories and I break into a smile as I see the second generation take over with their many activities on latte throwdowns, cup tasting, and many other coffee related events.

The 1st Women’s Philippine Latte Art Throwdown by Commune Cafe and Latte Art Philippines in partnership with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance

Now, with all that coffee drinking, someone has got to plant the trees. That’s where the experienced teachers come in.

Coffee farming class with PCBI’s Dr. Andy Mojica

We badly need to plant a lot of coffee with the looming shortage in 2030 and the increasing gap between production and consumption. Due to a changing lifestyle such as a 24/7 clock, we are consuming coffee at a rate faster than we are planting the trees.

This is where our mission lies: to make consumption and production of coffee sustainable. This is also where we enjoin the youth to also take a look at agriculture. Someone has to plant the stuff, increase yields of trees, and process the fruits well. While we still have some coffee farms left in the country, take a bold step and go into farming. Coffee drinking is sexy but if the farming stops, the drinking may stop, too.

All you need is that interest in the soil and care for the planet. Coffee is a natural product that is grown on special lands like the Philippines. It needs a tropical climate and no amount of money will make a temperate country able to grow coffee, just like ours, which is part of the tropical “Coffee Belt”. So, let’s do that next. Plant a tree. Save a farm. Adopt a farming community.

After all those classes offered in coffee brewing and making a good cup, all is worthless if we have to import coffee or grow it somewhere else. What is great is growing our own and drinking it alongside the world’s best—Ethiopia and Indonesia, for example—but we have to grow our own to make this very happy habit a sustainable one.

Happy farming!




Photos from Andrew Marvi of Coffee Brewtherhood and the Facebook page of Commune Cafe+Bar, Dennis Coffee Garden, and Philippine Coffee Board Inc.


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