Last week we bought 6,000 coffee seedlings for this month’s planting season and we have mentioned that this is one of the first steps we are taking to ensure we are placing the sustainability of coffee production and quality at the forefront of what we do.
While we are so excited to serve excellent cups of coffee in West London our motivation truly comes from pioneering a new coffee origin and creating solutions to the challenges in the Philippine coffee sector.
First of all how is the coffee landscape in the Philippines?
The Philippines had always been a coffee drinking nation! Unfortunately, majority of the country’s coffee drinkers still drink instant coffee. Many of the coffee farmers harvest coffee using traditional or old methods that does not consider the appropriate processes to produce high quality coffees. But there is change that is happening..
What is the status quo?
The great news is that there are quite a number of organisations, farmers, and cooperatives that are now pushing to improve coffee quality sustainably in the Philippines. For example the work of the Philippine Coffee Alliance (our partner) is gradually changing coffee farms as they work collaboratively with farmers to help improve farming methods so they can yield better coffees and improve their livelihood. So there are emerging coffee farms that are already pioneering the harvesting of coffees based on quality and ethicality. This will continue as farmers recognised the advantages of producing better coffees and the improvement of their livelihood. A number of farmers are also becoming more motivated to continue improving coffee production as they can now earn at premium pricing and as they turn into entrepreneurs themselves.
Rise of independent coffee shops in Manila
There is also a growing niche market for specialty coffee in Manila. A few number of local independent coffee shops have been pioneering third wave coffee. They focus more on coffee quality and introduce to customers the importance of coffee sourcing from farm to cup. Unfortunately, almost none feature Philippine coffee and mostly still offer specialty coffees from major producers like Brazil, Columbia, and South America. We believe this will change especially when Philippine coffee has gained back its reputation especially now if we are able to promote it in the international scene.
How can Philippine coffee improve and become reputable in the international coffee scene?
We believe that the work that is already happening on ground will result to better yields and higher quality in the near future. If the farmers and organisations working to improve coffee sourcing will have more exposure to international specialty coffee standards, then this will provide them with insights on the standards set in the international coffee market.
When quality improves and farmers’ become entrepreneur themselves their capacity increases and they become more motivated to improve coffee farming. The present quality building initiatives made by farmers and organisations will set the Philippine coffee sector towards the right direction. The key is supporting their work and creating awareness among locals and the international sector about the potential of Philippine coffee and the requirements of pushing the coffee sector towards sustainability.
How does Muni Coffee Co. plan to contribute to improving Philippine coffee sector?
We believe that our shared vision to change the Philippine coffee sector for the better can be achieved through collaboration and working together with organisations, cooperatives, and farmers in the Philippines who have already been initiating change for many years.
We aim to contribute the knowledge and expertise we have from London’s leadership in specialty coffee. We want to bridge the gap between UK’s coffee specialty experts and the Philippine’s pioneering groups to initiate a knowledge exchange and learn from each other. We also want to commit to channelling research and funding back to the farms. We believe that when we feature Philippine’s finest Arabica coffees we are also sparking interest to its potential and the requirements needed to make it sustainable. While we are featuring Philippine coffee at Muni, we make sure that we are offering to our customers the highest quality. This is why we conduct cupping sessions throughout the year and through this we are able to give feedbacks back to the farms and this helps our partner organisation receive insights on international coffee standards. We believe that demanding for higher quality coffees, motivates local farmers improve methods and we at Muni are committed to support them accomplish this. So at Muni we want to change one farm, one cup at a time!