Latest Stories

Long way for PH coffee brew to go global


JAY ISAIS, US-based coffee expert of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

The champions of local coffee in the government and private sector still have a lot of work to do before Philippine coffee can become a regular fixture in the world’s coffee chains.

According to Jay Isais, the US-based coffee expert of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, global chains have so far “not seriously considered Philippine coffee as a viable product” due to factors such as concerns about the quality as well as lack of knowledge in large coffee markets that the Philippines can be a good source of coffee beans.

Isais says, however, that there are great profit opportunities that the Philippine coffee sector can take advantage of, adding that the global coffee sector is always on the lookout for new varieties to offer customers.

“We do limited edition products all the time and we’re looking for them constantly,” says Isais, who was in the Philippines recently as part of the training program of the local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf chain.

“We have a dual purpose, we support the coffee farmers and the coffee farming ingredients and we also support areas and markets where we have franchise stores. But if we can do both simultaneously, it’ll be better because we’re not just promoting our Philippine stores and partners but we are supporting Philippine coffee industry as well,” he adds.

The local coffee sector is estimated by the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., a nongovernment organization leading efforts to revitalize the local coffee sector, to be worth P40 billion, employing about 70,000 farmers in 22 provinces.

Total Philippine production of about 25,000 metric tons a year, however, is not enough to meet the demand of about 100,000 metric tons a year, forcing traders and manufacturers to import about 75,000 tons a year, mainly from Vietnam and Indonesia.

The PCB and the National Competitiveness Council are working together to draft a roadmap to increase the competitiveness of the Philippines in the coffee world, and make the Philippines a net coffee exporter again in about 10 to 15 years.

For the Philippines to join the ranks of countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Colombia, which are known worldwide for their coffee, Isais recommends that Philippine producers be consistent in the quality of their coffee and that more investments also be poured into the processing of the beans.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which is celebrating its 50th year in the business, sources the bulk of its beans from Central and South America. Indonesia is its only source of coffee in Southeast Asia. In Asia, other sources are India and Nepal.

The Philippines has the potential to be included in the list of suppliers, but Isais stresses that the Philippines has to “demonstrate that it can produce quality coffee.”

“If you can establish that there’s a flavor and character for the Philippine coffee that doesn’t exist elsewhere, the consumer will flock and love your product. For coffee buyers around the world, what we first look into is the character of the coffee. In the coffee world, there’s so much gimmick but what really matters is the substance and character of the coffee. You will survive throughout because people are continuously looking for some unique special thing that has underlying qualities,” he adds.

Isais also says that it was a good time to invest big money in the coffee industry, as the demand for the world’s most popular beverage is not about to wane.

“Coffee will be fine in 2013. We have big plans for the year,” says Isais.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Agriculture , coffee , Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

  • iping2sison

    I hope the DA will initiate programs in planting, harvesting and post-harvest operations to our current and would-be coffee farmers PH coffee production is lagging behind by our ASEAN brothers and big businesses import their requirements.

  • desi derata

    I remember when I was in my pre-law years in MLQU. I was in the hallway in the second floor of the Old Building. I smelled a distinct aroma which was undoutedlly coffee. Then a classmate came and we exchanged pleasantries. I told him that I smell coffee and he laughed out loudly. He pointed to me a fellow student who was standing some 50 meters away holding a brown bag presumably coffee. The hallway way not an enclosed one and yet the strong pleasant aroma permeated in the air. The man carrying coffee was in state of embarassment but for me it just proved again that Kapeng Bantangas or barako is a very good coffee that debunks what the US-based “expert” says.

    The Americans always talk with their mouth in their assess. I know it, I lived and worked in the US for a number of years. So, let us not base our action on what these Americans say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002172368826 Jack Bw

    He makes it sound like our local coffee is bad. Despite having tried all the coffee shops that surround our office my favorite coffee is still a local blend that contains mostly kapeng barako.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 22 houses destroyed, 3 hurt as violent wind storm hits village
  • 242 out of 438 pass board tests for chemical engineers
  • Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  • 5 OFWs from Negros quarantined for MERS-CoV tests
  • Release of village chief’s truck caught carrying illegal logs slammed
  • Sports

  • Alaska takes quarterfinals opener over San Mig Coffee
  • Jackson finds second wind to push Meralco past Rain or Shine
  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Oil prices to go up on supply concerns, optimism on US rebound
  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • QC woman who flew in from Middle East tests negative for MERS-CoV
  • DFA, DOH urge OFWs not to panic over MERS-Cov
  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Marketplace