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.

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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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