Philippine Coffee Should Not Be Underestimated!
With ten coffee shops within a ten minute walk from my condo, I’ve spent the past two months strolling about and working from different coffee shops. A few weeks ago I walked into Angkan Coffee in BGC (7th Ave. near 30th St. Park) and discovered some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. I’m no connoisseur; however, I drink a lot of coffee and recognize the different tastes. In addition to serving fabulous coffee, they don’t up-charge for oat or soy milk like every other coffee shop I’ve visited here and in the USA. Toss in cushioned seating for a comfort and Angkan is my undisputed top choice.
As I spent more time at Angkan I became curious and discovered that Angkan is a Philippine centric coffee house and the name name Angkan translates to family/clan. I also discovered that the Philippines is major player in the world of coffee. This prompted a road trip to the explore the birthplace of coffee in the Philippines.
There is a long and rich history of coffee production and consumption in the Philippines. From its origins as a small-scale, artisanal crop to its current role as an important part of the country's economy, coffee has played an important role in Filipino culture and society.
It may surprise you to learn that coffee is one of the oldest crops in the Philippines. Coffee production in the Philippines can be traced all the way back to 1740. It is believed that coffee was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period when coffee beans were smuggled into the country and a Spanish Franciscan monk introduced the first coffee tree in the town of Lipa, Batangas. Lipa City has since been regarded as the first “coffee capital of the Philippines” (Visit ahead).
The first coffee plantations were being established as early as 1820 and coffee quickly became an important crop for Filipino farmers, with coffee farming families exporting their produce to other countries including China, India, and even Europe.
In the early 20th century, coffee production in the Philippines began to grow rapidly. This was due largely to innovations in coffee farming techniques that increased yields and quality of coffee beans. In the mid-1940s, coffee production peaked at over 42,000 tons annually. Unfortunately, coffee production began to decline in the late 1950s due to the introduction of coffee rust disease and other environmental factors.
With public-private partnerships driving innovation and sustainability practices, the coffee industry has a bright future here. Production is surging as coffee growers are experimenting with new growing techniques and varieties of coffee while continuing to export their coffee beans. With Filipinos consuming coffee more than ever before, it is clear that coffee will remain a major part of the culture.
Ironically, I’ve seen many expat comments about wishing for for good coffee and I’m at a loss to understand, unless they’ve only been exposed to the very popular 3 in 1 Coffee.
Here’s a shocker you may not have known.. I certainly didn’t.
Due to the varied topography and the soil conditions conducive to farming, the Philippines is one of the few countries that produces four varieties of coffee: Robusta, Arabica, Excelsa, and Liberica. As a Galapagos of more than 7,500 islands, the diverse climates influence the varieties grown in different regions. Batangas is best known for the rare Coffee Liberica (known in the Philippines as Kapeng Baraka).
Philippine coffee is unquestionably one of the best coffees in the world, but what is it that makes Philippine coffee so special? Quality! From bean selection to harvesting practices, Filipino coffee farmers strive to produce a high-quality coffee and have drawn recognition from coffee connoisseurs everywhere.
By focusing on quality, coffee farmers in the Philippines are able to compete with coffee producers from around the world and produce coffee that stands out among its peers.
The standards of quality established for production in the Philippines are respected around the world. Whether it’s for a coffee shop or for personal consumption, the coffee from Filipino coffee farming families continues to bring joy to coffee drinkers everywhere.
I traveled to Lipa City Batangas to visit Cafe de Lipa and taste the Kapeng Barako for myself. The owners are descendants of two of men who were involved in the planing of the first coffee trees in the Philippines.
Cafe de Lipa is also unique in the fact that you can't order any alternative milk product in your latte. You get full creme or nothing. My drink was so rich and flavorful, I’ll not argue!
You will find nothing but the best authentic Philippine coffees here, to include Robusta and Arabica from other regions in the country.
The good news for those in Taguig is that there is a Cafe de Lipa in Market Market.
Back to Angkan BGC the shop that sparked my journey.
Note how clean and well lighted the cafe is and also note the smiles on the faces here.
Be sure to visit when you're in town!