by Marilen Fontanilla (The Ultimate Coffee Guide, October 2015)
Silca Coffee Roasting Company (Silca) bestows this promise it has built its business on, “freshly roasted coffee from our family to yours.” It might sound too cliché in its simplicity but having met sibling owners Michael and Carolyn Asuncion, I realized how accurately it captured and summarized the spirit of their family’s endeavors that have covered all steps of the value chain from tree to cup.
THE PERFECT BLEND
Silca underwent some renovations in the past year, with a new factory built in 2013 to meet FDA specifications and HACCP and GMP requirements to bolster the back of house operations. “The business has grown significantly since 2010. We have implemented HACCP and GMP protocols, as well as a traceability feature for all of our products,” Michael elaborates. “Our commitment to be the best equates to a reliable coffee supply.” The traceability component allows Silca to trace back the coffee beans to the batch when it was roasted and its source, through the sales invoice.
The Sasa Samiac roaster from France combines the traditional concept of roasting with automation and technology. Digital weighing scales ensure accurate measurements, freshness and consistency for Silca’s customers, who have grown exponentially.
“The Philippines is a coffee producing country. Why not import the best quality equipment from abroad, take the technology, adapt it here and create something we can all love?” Michael elaborates on the recent renovation implemented. “Part of what we are doing for the coffee industry here is to promote drinking brewed coffee at home and in offices,” Carolyn added.
The result of this mission includes their branded products Kick-Start and Silca Coffee. Both were released after meticulous preparation and market studies. Kick-Start is a 100 percent local coffee bean product, encased in an elegant packaging with subtle colors of the Philippine flag creatively selling the country. “As early as 2010 we realized we needed to create a product that will showcase our brand promise and package it so it will deliver that promise,” Michael explained. Thus, the launch was done in 2013 when Silca was confident it could deliver a sustainable product.
The recently launched Silca Coffee maintains that old and new feel with a traditional packaging alongside a logo that their dad created when they first started selling in select U.S. shops. This product was created after two years of customer insights, with seven blends at different price points and key messages embedded in the packaging from the second-generation to their customers.
Coffee awareness is currently at an all time high but Silca has set its sights on even bigger goals. “Our dream is to export and Carol is already working on that. The dream is to be on shelves abroad in mainstream stores for OFWs and have that unique taste they will come back for.”
Carolyn remembers a favorite phrase their dad uttered in difficult situations. “Go lang ng go. (Just keep going.)” This has kept them pushing the business forward, adapting and innovating for the market. Michael recalls the last month before he passed away, Enrile wrote a sales figure that Michael deemed impossible. “Go lang ng go,” he urged. That number was met and Michael attributes it to Enrile’s encouragement and inspirational mentorship over the past few years.
As the coffee scene takes off even further, Silca Coffee Roasting Company will definitely be part of this renaissance. Their roster of satisfied customers have been with them for more than a decade, growing alongside the company and indirectly helping their coffee partners in Cavite.
It is a business that has taken root in Silang’s coffee community but is destined to be sipped from every brewed coffee lover’s cup, with the combined vision of its first and second-generation owners steering it towards a stirring and exhilarating future.