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Coffee of The Day: The Elusive Philippines Liberica Barako Coffee Bean

Posted by Maja Wallengren from

Dear Followers and fellow Coffee Lovers, today you are in for a REAL TREAT here at SpillingTheBeansand we are both excited and proud to bring to you, directly from the far-off remote corners of the coffee producing world of The Philippines, a Top Grade 1 blend of 100 percent pure single variety Liberica beans for our Coffee of The Day review.

The Philippines is one of the world’s oldest coffee producing nations and the first seeds of the Coffea Arabica species were planted here all the way back to 1740.

To this date The Philippines remains a coffee producing country full of surprises, from its leading position as the 2nd largest consumer in Asia only surpassed by Japan to the fact that this is the only origin in the world which grows commercial volumes of all the world’s four main Coffea Species, incuding Arabica, Canephora, Liberica and Excelsa.

The one flavor characteristic that above any other marks Liberica coffee as different from any other is that of its fruitiness, and when sampling a Liberica brew for the first time it is like an explosion of fruitiness that is absolutely amazing and wonderful. South East Asian cuppers like to compare some of the fruity notes to that of the jackfruit while Europeans find the mix between citric notes and immense sweetness more similar to that of grapefruit or pomelo.

The Liberica “Barako Coffee” blend from the Silca Coffee Roasting Company’s “Kick-Start Coffee” series has a medium body, a very nicely balanced acidity and an explosion of that fruitiness in the final cup that Coffea Liberica is so famous for. It’s simply and outstanding coffee experience!

Here at SpillingTheBeans we believe it is much too early to come out with any major conclusions about the cup flavors of Liberica as the world is literally only just starting to wake up and smell the Liberica coffee. As one of the world’s many “lost coffee species” we encourage you ALL to try to get hold of a Liberica sample but please bare in mind that there are very few farms or exporters who have sufficient volumes of green Liberica coffee available to do a proper selection.

Liberica cupping with Silca Coffee’s Michael Asuncion and Philippine Coffee Board’s Robert Francisco
–Photo (c) by Maja Wallengren

This is what makes today’s Coffee of The Day choice all the MORE exciting to all us Coffee Lovers, because during the last decade the coffee industry in the Philippines, under the direction and sound guidance of the Philippine Coffee Board, has done an outstanding job not only to SAVE the remaining areas cultivated with Liberica — locally known as Barako coffee — from extinction, but also in achieving a tremendously successful improvement in good agricultural practices which have led to a boom in the quality available. Simply said, 10 years ago it would have been near impossible to find a Grade 1 properly selected pure Liberica beans, but the Kick-Start Barako from the Silca Coffee Roasters Company show the remarkable job done by the coffee industry here. And what a fantastic result!

Since her very early start in coffee almost 24 years ago today SpillingTheBeans is privileged to have seen both Liberica and Excelsa coffee trees first hand in growing areas, even though Liberica and Excelsa in general terms are found only as a few individual trees randomly left between farms with either Arabica or Robusta coffee.

In 2006 SpillingTheBeans’ owner and author Maja Wallengren made her first “Special Origin Trip” to The Philippines to investigate, see and research this fascinating species so different from the coffees we normally see. All the way up to 2017 it was only in The Philippines that Coffee Lovers were able to witness 100 percent pure Liberica farms and try 100 percent pure Liberica coffee.

What is SO exciting today is that Liberica coffee is experiencing a revival and new-found recognition. This is NOT about it being either better or worse than any other coffee — but we cannot welcome enough the opportunity for true Coffee Lovers to be able to try as many and as different coffees as possible and Liberica is a wonderful addition to start including as one of our daily cups!

Starting some 20 years ago The Philippines, under the remarkable leadership of Pacita Juan — one of Southeast Asia’s leading entrepreneurs and then the owner of the Figaro Coffee company — initiated the “Save the Barako” campaign that has gotten the Liberica production back in business and this species now represents about 3-4% of the national harvest in the Philippines. But back in the 1980s this Coffea Species represented that same 3-4% in the TOTAL world market where today it represents less than 1% of all bans produced and consumed.

Had it not been for all the great work done by the coffee industry in The Philippines and by Ms Juan in particular the Coffea Liberica species WOULD have been all but lost and extinct from the market today.

In the last year the World of Coffee is FINALLY starting to catch up with the interest in Liberica coffee and aside from remembering Liberica coffee as one of the world’s many Coffea Species in a number of comments on social media a couple of roasters in both the U.S. and Europe have started to “re-launch” Liberica coffee to its customers. Stay tuned for links coming up for where to buy some of these unique and rare Coffea Liberica beans. . .

Happy Coffee Drinkingheart

–Silca Coffee Roasters’ founder Enrile Asuncion

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