It took almost 20 years and yes it is now the Millennial generation and Gen Z who proudly promote Philippine coffee. There are scores of home brewers, home roasters and nano roasters promoting the use of local origins like Benguet, Sagada, Mt. Apo and Sulu on the internet. More specifically on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, Philippine coffee groups and communities have sprouted overnight like the proverbial mushroom.
Everyday we see a new reseller on the internet all claiming they sell 100% Philippine coffee. But like any famous product there are unscrupulous business people who have managed to bring in some imported coffee beans―very clean, very good quality but for sure imported with utter disregard that this could put the Filipino farmer at a disadvantage. But since during pre-COVID there was a higher demand for local green (raw) and roasted beans, the importers managed to get their imports into the supply chain. So, people rightly or unwittingly bought the “impostor” coffee and drank it as local.
It was not much of a problem during PRE-COVID save for authenticity issues. Consumers drank good coffee and just believed what they wanted to believe in terms of reliability or transparency of source or origin. Not a problem. If it was good coffee, it got bought.
The challenge arose when COVID came and coffee shops closed. Hotels and restaurants closed. Suddenly a bumper crop is felt by farmers who just finished sorting their harvest last March 2020. COVID came and suddenly they found themselves stuck with a lot of coffee—hopefully green , and not roasted and ready to sell or it may deteriorate given unfavorable storage and packaging issues.
This is where we thought KAPE ISLA comes in. For the last 18 years we have been in touch with farmers and roasters, retailer and consumers. Though we started to just humbly PROMOTE Philippine coffee we now find ourselves being the TRAFFIC CONTROL or referee when it comes to labelling local coffee. Which is the REAL Philippine coffee?
There are several ways of finding out:
- Know your supplier. Though many would be retailers want to meet farmers, the situation is not as easy when farmers are located in remote areas and given COVID restrictions, logistics and travelling to meet someone face to face is not an option.
- Know your market. Where are you selling the green or the roasted coffee? Is your market particular about coffee variety, origin and differences in flavor? Or do they just want commodity roasted coffee to use at home regardless of source and variety?
- Know your coffee. Though it may be unfair to the farmers who labor over the quality of their coffee to say this, majority of consumers still cannot tell the difference between pure varieties compared to blends. They just know when they like the brew. And that’s a lot of consumers who like their coffee with sugar, milk, flavoring as well as Virgin coconut oil or Butter (the famous bulletproof coffee).
Instead of right away looking for a farmer, first is do your homework. Drink or taste different origins, varieties and make your own blends if you wish. Then find the source for good green coffee if you will roast, or find a source for good roasted coffee in bulk if you will resell.
This is why KAPE ISLA came about almost 20 years ago. It has been our dream to promote Philippine coffee to our people and to the world. We think we have been fairly successful. If the measure of success is the interest in Philippine coffee, we have done a fairly good job. Now, we need to help the consumers navigate the complex world of coffee . This is why we put our seal on every bag of coffee we sell.
If you wish to be a retailer of KAPE ISLA-certified coffee, let us know.
We would not put 20 years of work to waste if we did not know TRUE FILIPINO COFFEE
Let’s continue the drive to promote PHILIPPINE COFFEE and make sure it really is local and really good.
You will be proud to carry, sell, promote and drink Philippine coffee.