EP 01: Where Does Philippine Coffee Grow?

Welcome to the Exploring Filipino Kitchens podcast! This episode, I visit a coffee farm along the foothills of a mountain range in Mindanao province, discover why we need to save the "barako" coffee bean, and chat with the founder of a coffee company with a social purpose.

What prompted this episode?

My dependence on coffee started with packets of cigarettes and Nescafe 3-in-1. Though I now buy locally roasted beans from my neighbourhood coffee shop (and quit smoking), sometimes I get a whiff of feeling like a boxed-in, angry teenager when I sip my Saturday morning coffee. Except this time, I’m a socially conscious 30-something who lives with too many lingering questions about where the food that I consume comes from.

I needed to know - where does coffee in the Philippine grow? What does it taste and smell like? How is coffee grown, harvested and processed?

What stories will linger in your mind after listening to these champions for Philippine coffee?

We're talking with:

• Neil Binayao of Hineleban Coffee Neil works with local families to grow coffee under something they call a “transformational business partnership”. That one morning I spent at the farm, meant a lifetime of lessons I can’t imagine learning anywhere else. Neil takes us through coffee production at Hineleban, from planting all the way to packaging - and offers a first-hand view of what life is like for farming families across the Philippines.

• Pacita (Chit) Juan Chit talks to us about the "barako" bean - one of the four commercially produced coffee varieties, along with the popular Arabica and Robusta - and why it needs saving, fast. These beans are bold and in your face - fruity, with an aroma that gets you caffeinated on its own.

• Carmel Laurino of Kalsada Coffee Carmel and the Kalsada team are ambassadors for Philippine specialty coffee that's grown with care and handled with the right technique. We talk about her journey into the world of coffee - and how Kalsada is making a difference for coffee farmers, one cup at a time.


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