Manila brews initiative to boost famed coffee blend

Manila is currently brewing an initiative to promote one of the Philippine's most famous coffee blend. The city government recently opened Kapetolyo by SGD to showcase coffee profiles from the municipality of Sagada, located in the Mountain Province. This chilly region is in the northern part of Luzon, one the Philippines' central islands. Sagada’s coffee profile has spice notes, depth of sweetness, hints of nuts, round dark chocolate, and fruits accents. However, these flavours vary in range, intensity, and clarity, said Rich Watanabe, operator of Kapetolyo and founder of the Coffee Heritage Project (CPH).
Sagada coffee blends' unique flavour profiles attract local and international coffee consumers. They enthused the blends' roast technicalities such as 'bien cuit’, consistency, uniformity, evenness, and more, Watanabe explained.
Aside from offering various Sagada coffee blends to coffee lovers in Manila, Kapetolyo is also the venue for activities, programmes and events organised by the CPH, established in 2009. CPH's three main thrusts are to improve, promote, and conserve Philippine heritage coffee profiles.
CHP engages in all aspects of the coffee value chain in Sagada and all its project areas. Watanabe said. For example, CPH offers for free comprehensive training programmes to coffee growers, farm technical assistance and farm inputs. The organisation also helps with promoting local coffees through CHP's various platforms such as social media and coffee events. The initiative also conducts collaborative research and development efforts on sustainable approaches to any of the coffee value chain links.
However, Watanabe points out that CHP and its work on farms (agronomy and processing) do not seek to imprint flavours and profiles other than those already exhibited in these heritage coffees. Hence, the aim is to conserve coffee profile identities, he explained.
Kapetolyo started brewing its coffee offerings in September last year. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's F&B industry, business at Kapetolyo remains brisk.
In any case, coffee appears to be both recession and pandemic-proof, Watanabe observed. Coffee lovers continue to drop in the cafe to show their appreciation for the shop's famous mountain brews.
Watanabe said the Philippine coffee industry seems to be adapting to the changing global environments brought on by climate change, the pandemic, and other political developments. Local coffee businesses have shifted to the hybrid frontline and online operations.
“Overall, the future of the coffee industry in the Philippines is optimistic. It also seems that the best of Philippine coffee is yet to come,” Watanabe concluded.

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