Filipino Coffee History

The earliest record of coffee in the Philippines in the mid-18th century. Since its initial cultivation, coffee plants have thrived throughout the country, producing all kinds of coffee beans: liberica, excelsa, robusta, and arabica, the highest quality beans.

Origins

In 1740, the first coffee tree made its debut in the Philippines. A Spanish Franciscan monk brought the plant over to Lipa, Batangas — a Filipino province. As the tree started to thrive, coffee plants spread throughout Ibaan, Lemery, San Jose, Taal, and Tanauan, which are other areas of the Batangas. These thriving coffee plantations directly resulted in Lipa becoming the country’s coffee capital.

Nearly a century later, Batangas was exporting their coffee to San Francisco, which led to the Americans drinking  Filipino coffee all across the United States in 1860. The Filipino province of Cavite quickly adopted the lucrative Batangas coffee market model, cultivating their first coffee plant in Amadeo in 1876. The Philippines was the only country that saw any benefit to the coffee leaf rust disease that hit Java, Brazil, and Africa in 1880. When these areas were set back by the disease, the Philippines were boosted from the fourth-largest coffee exporter to the only global source of coffee beans.

Coffee Rust Disease

The reprieve from the disease didn’t last long however; nine years later, after Java, Brazil, and Africa were infected, the Philippines was hit with the coffee rust disease, which destroyed a majority of the arabica coffee trees in the Philippines, along with a coincidental insect infestation. This destroyed the country’s production, and crushed what was — until that point — a major source of income in the Philippines, as Batangas were a major source of income until this point. Their coffee production was reduced to one-sixth of what it had once been, allowing Brazil to take first place in the global coffee market.

But, this didn’t spell the end for Filipino coffee production. As the years passed, the Philippines worked to regain their coffee profits. In the 1950s, the Philippines, with American assistance, brought robusta beans to their country. Though these were lower quality than arabica, they helped compensate for the lost coffee income.

We have a huge amount of coffees cultivated all over the world. Try out our fruity coffees and compare them to ones with chocolate tones.