We’re very privileged to host international coffee experts for the KAPE PILIPINO—the First Green Coffee Quality Competition—currently ongoing at the Cavite State University in Indang, Cavite.
The coffee community is waiting with bated breath as these four international judges, headed by Samuel Gurel of Torch Coffee, taste almost a hundred samples of green coffee beans. These are sourced from as far north as Benguet to as far south as Sulu.
“We want more farmers to be conscious about taste and quality and not just size,” says Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) Chair Nicky Matti. Echoing his statement, Samuel Gurel confirmed that “size does not matter”. A lot of Robusta farmers in the country do not fertilize and are organic by default. As such, the beans are smaller (the trade calls it screen 13/14) when other bigger beans would be a screen 16/18, almost like an Arabica bean. “But it’s not the size, “ Gurel repeats. It’s how it is processed and finally how it will “cup”.
The other judges are Shaun Ong from Singapore, La Lida from Thailand and Mbula Musau from Kenya. Two ladies and two gentlemen will be assisted by Robert Francisco who is a long time coffee expert and also a Q grader like the four judges.
The Q system was established by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to be the universal language for coffee cupping for quality. There are Q courses for Arabica and Robusta as these coffees have difference in taste profiles.
The Kape Pilipino is part of the MinPACT project sponsored by the USDA and is managed by ACDIVOCA. PCBI is the In Country Partner of CQI and has been conducting classes on the Q grading system since March last year. The classes are held at the Barista Coffee Academy of Asia (BCAA) in Greenhills and in Davao. It has already produced five Q graders. Still, PCBI and ACDIVOCA want to have more Q and R graders to help farmers and processors get better quality coffee.
These are the secrets to a good cup:
- Pick only red or ripe coffee cherries.
- Process them naturally or through the washed process.
- Dry them on elevated drying beds or screens until they reach a moisture of 11% or lower.
- Taste them before selling the coffee.
Just through these tips, a farmer can double or triple his coffee income. These are the secrets to having a sustainable coffee supply and to make it in the world market.
“Asia is the coffee center now,” says Gurel. “You are in Asia,” he continues.
Everyone is looking for Asian coffee. The Philippines may be the next origin to make it very big again in coffee exports—this time in specialty coffee. That’s’ a thought that should keep farmers planting the crop and be sustainable.
Watch out for the results of the competition which will be announced on March 4 in simple ceremonies at the Cavite State University.