Since its inception, the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) has worked with coffee people from seed to cup. From planting a seedling, to nourishing the plants, to harvesting to processing and finally drinking the brew, the Philippine Coffee Network (PCN) had grown for almost two decades into a community that has been part of PCBI’s journey.
FARMERS AND PROCESSORS
While these cafés and roasters gave away cup after cup of coffee to mallgoers during October’s coffee festival, there was a lot of happening also on the farm side. Joel Lumagbas was in charge of the Northeastern Mindanao area; Techie Capellan handled the western side, and both found many farmers, cooperatives, and individuals investing more in coffee propagation. Jing Reyes handled the famous Sultan Kudarat neighboring single estate in Kalamansig.
The Visayas experience had us planting coffee with Nicholas Matti taking charge together with local government units, the Bohol coffee group, as well as Iloilo and Negros.
Northern Luzon was the domain of Manny Torrejon and Pacita Juan, while Southern Luzon was Rene Tengson and Dr. Andy Mojica’s responsibility.
In the first five years, PCBI made the roasters and café owners sample their brews at Coffee Origins held at the Ayala Center malls.
PCBI featured cafés such as Bo’s Coffee, Figaro Coffee, Coffee Experience, The Coffee Beanery, Gourmet’s—brands that started in the ’90s and some still growing their network to this day.
Roasters such as CAFEX, Culinary Exchange, Siete Baracos, Café de Lipa, Café Amadeo, and Boyd Coffee also taught people how to buy roasted beans and the proper way to brew it.
The new investor-farmers, the new coffee investors and the second-generation players are now also part of the proponents of Quality Philippine coffee. We have the second generation of the Mercados of Batangas, Asuncions of Cavite, Silvas, Belardos, and even the Lo-Tsai and Uy families from Negros. In Mindanao, we have new farmers such as Joji Pantoja, Dianne Pe, and Princess Kumala who started in the 2000s and who are now the models for women in coffee. In the North, we have comebacking Juliet Bumolo-Morales, young farmers like Jen Rimando and Mars Apidos, and a whole generation of hopeful café operators such as Susan Pablo.
During this time, Juan also gave seminars at Enderun Colleges and at the University of the Philippines as well as being part of DTI Roving Academy sessions. Educational institutions such as Benguet State University, Cavite State University, Central Mindanao University, University of Southern Mindanao, Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology, among others, are also doing research and establishing cupping or quality stations, where farmers can learn to upgrade their coffee quality.
And the list goes on also on the support and advocacy to promote Philippine coffee.
Since 2016, the third wavers, Q graders, and cuppers are now also part of PCN.
And there is you, the readers, the coffee drinker, the roaster or the humble café operator, Philippine quality coffee will be aound with the continued patronage of consumers.
From 2002 to 2016, the Board connected farmers and processors throughout the value chain of coffee—what we now know as the network of PCN—which will be formalized as an exchange of resources, both physical and intellectual. Knowledge management, up-to-date information and data from all sectors will be accessible to the network members, which will be a growing family of all ages as more and more younger ones join the coffee trade.