History of Philippine Coffee

DSC_2608The Philippines have had a rich history in the coffee industry dating back to 1740. With Coffee being the second largest traded commodity behind oil in the world, the Philippines has gone from a top producer in the late 1800s to a minor player in the market.  Venture Coffee Company looks to continue the long coffee tradition by bring specialty coffee to the USA.

If you would like more information on Philippine Coffee, please contact our partners at Tribung Kape, Inc.

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Brief History

1740s – The first coffee tree was introduced in Lipa, Batangas by the Spanish Franciscan Monks making Batangas the coffee capital of the Philippines

1860s – Coffee was exported from Batangas through San Francisco. (From San Francisco not sure where coffee went.) The Suez Canal opened which opened trade to Europe.

1865 – Philippine coffee was in high demand in the United States due to lower costs to import.

1876 – Cavite began cultivating coffee trees. The Liberica bean (Barako) still produced in Lipa commanding a high price.

1880 – 4th largest exporter of coffee beans.

1889 – The coffee trees in Batangas were plagued with Coffee Rust which led to an infestation of insects. All the coffee trees in Batangas were destroyed.

1891 – The production of coffee in the Philippines dropped to 1/6th of what it was. Seedlings were transferred from Batangas to Cavite.

1950s – A more resistant strain of coffee was introduced. Instant coffee began being produced commercially. (My assumption is that Robusta was the coffee tree introduced)

1960s – Many farmers started growing coffee again.

1980 – The Philippines joined the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

2001 – The Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR) release data in the BAR Digest that 300,000 Filipinos were involved in the Coffee Industry.  The National average yield was 400kilogram/hectare (kg/ha) while Brazil was at 2000kg/ha. The Arabica Bean made up 5-10% of production and Coffea Canephora (Robusta) made up 75%. The Excelsa and Liberica made up 15-20% of production. Most coffee farms were 1 to 2 hectares.

2002 – The Census data showed that there were 276,000 coffee farms with 79.4 million trees.

2011 – The data showed a shift away from coffee to high yield crops that were more profitable. In Zamboanga region farmers moved to rubber. The Department of Agriculture stated that Arabica made up 21% (500-1000kg/ha) and Robusta made up 70% (1200kg/ha) of coffee production. The Liberica (500kg/ha) and Excelsa (1000kg/ha) rounded out the rest of the production.

2013 – The Mindanao Coffee Producers Congress was held.

2016 – The creation of a Coffee Industry Roadmap

2016 – Venture Coffee Company began the journey to bring Philippine coffee to the USA

2017 – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) drafted a proposal for the creation of a Philippine Coffee Council under an Executive Order.

2019 – PhilCAFE formed to assist the Coffee Industry

2019 – Tribung Kape, Inc was formed to provide logistical support for coffee export

This is a summary of information found on various websites. (links added soon)

If you have any questions or additions please email at info@venturecoffeecompany.com

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