The World of Coffee (WOC) convention at the Milano Convention Center in Milan, Italy, has provided a venue for the Philippine coffee producers to shine internationally.
Jeannelle Ellson, marketing specialist of the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) project, said Philippine coffee—especially the Robusta variety—received positive feedback during the June 23-25 gathering.
“We promoted Robusta there, although we brought various coffee varieties to the convention. Italy is known as espresso-based when it comes to coffee, but they admire the taste of our coffee and have set a good impression on it,” Ellson said in an interview Wednesday.
The winning fine Robusta coffee produced here has captured the interest of international coffee enthusiasts and buyers during a special cupping session, she said.
Two of the best Philippine Robusta coffees were featured in the international cupping event participated in by six other coffee-producing countries including Brazil, Vietnam, Uganda, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Laos.
The Philippine Robusta coffee varieties that were cupped came from the farms of Mabini Ubuan of Sigay, Ilocos Sur, and Lovern Estrada of Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat. These entries won the first and second prizes in the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) 2022, the country’s most prestigious coffee competition.
“Their description of our coffee on fine Robusta is very different. They have a comment that it has a funky flavor that is close to Arabica,” Ellson said.
Meanwhile, Ron Yu, executive director of the Philippine Coffee Guild (PCG), who was part of the 12-person Philippine delegation in Milan, noted that during the cupping, coffee samples from the Philippines stood out and gained high praise for clean taste and complex flavors.
Yu said the Mabini Ubuan’s coffee captured the attention of the international cuppers for its unique taste among all the Robusta coffees presented on the table.
“One remarkable description of Labuan’s coffee from a European buyer is that the coffee has the unique combination of the sweetness of Arabica and the bitterness of Robusta,” Yu said.
The WOC is considered to be Europe’s premier coffee trade exhibit event organized by the Specialty Coffee Association, a non-profit organization composed of coffee professionals, producers, and baristas from across the world.
In 2021, the Philippines produced 62,062 metric tons of green coffee beans, about 70 percent of which are Robusta coffee.
The Soccsksargen Region in Mindanao is the country’s top coffee-producing region that contributes at least 33 percent of the country’s total coffee production.
Sixty percent of Soccsksargen’s coffee production is Robusta. (PNA)