Philippine Mindanao Bukidnon
We are super excited to kick off our second year of very special coffees from Mindanao with our partners in the Philippines starting with this coffee from Sitio San Roque and surrounding farms in Bukidnon. This coffee is of the Catimor varietal, an often overlooked varietal in the specialty coffee community. Catimor is a cross between Timor coffee (resistant to leaf rust) and Caturra coffee. It grows and produces fruit very quickly and has very high yields but often lacks in the cup. Not the case with this coffee which surprised us on the cupping table. A benefit to cupping blind samples, we don't judge coffees based on what varietal they might be, but rather what the results are in the cup. Our Head Roaster Nick decided to take this coffee to a medium roast since it stands up so well to the profile yielding rich, chocolate flavors and some pleasant, rustic qualities.
From our friends at Kalsada:
Sitio San Roque has rich volcanic soil and a unique microclimate, making it an ideal area for growing coffee. Initially, coffee was cultivated for their own consumption and commercially until prices dropped in the 1960s. Since then, coffee has been replaced as a primary crop.
In 2016, we were introduced to a cooperative of coffee farmers in Pigtauranan, most of whom cultivated robusta and only recently started to grow arabica. There was not much interest in arabica then because their primary market was commodity, and specialty was just a buzz word in the Philippines. We knew that coffees from this region had a lot of potential, so we built the Pigtauranan mill in 2020 and began working with smallholder family farmers.
Cherries from different areas are brought either by foot, habal-habal (motorcycle taxi), carabao (water buffalo), or horse in areas where transportation is inaccessible. Coffees brought to this mill are either washed or naturally processed. Washed coffees are done by farmers near their homes, where they remove cherry skin by rocks, dry ferment them overnight, and wash them with water the next day. Coffees are then dried on patios or bilao (rice winnower) before being sorted at the mill. For natural processed coffees, cherries are brought to the mill every day and are floated in water to remove defective beans. Cherries are then dried on raised beds and agitated every couple of hours. Once dry, the coffees are rested in grainpro bags for 4 weeks before they are hulled and hand sorted.
From Tere Domine, Co-Founder and Country Director of Kalsada:
“The farmer lots are a mix of individually-processed coffees from farmers that we already have been working with and new farmers we hope to work with continuously. Before Kalsada built mills and bought cherries from farmers in 2014, we started our relationship with the community by purchasing their green beans, providing feedback on their quality, offering a better price than market price, and encouraging them to work with us as we built mills. For farmers, their primary objective was to sell their produce to whoever offers a good price and will consistently purchase their harvest year after year. For us, it was a good start to build the relationship with them by buying what they process themselves and offering options of selling their cherries to the mill in the succeeding years so they can focus on increasing their yield while we both work together in increasing quality.”