Barako Coffee

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Barako Coffee

Kapeng barako

Barako coffee (Coffea liberica) takes its name from the Tagalog word for “wild boar” (barako), who are fond of dining on the plant’s leaves and berries. This coffee variety is grows at elevations of about 300 meters above sea level, and the self-pollinating trees grow up to 20 meters tall. They also produce larger cherries than those found on Coffea arabica trees. The shape of the coffee beans is not symmetrical, which is unique among the four commercial species (arabica, robusta, excelsa and liberica). One side is lower than the other side, creating a distinctive point or hook at the bottom. The furrow in the middle is generally jagged rather than straight as in other coffee species. Barako coffee has strong taste and flavor with a distinctively pungent aroma. It can be drunk black or sweetened with sugar or honey. It can be drunk alone or blended with other coffee varieties. Barako coffee was first planted in Batangas, Luzon, Philippines by Spanish friars in the 18th century. The variety spread all over Batangas and was exported to the United States in the 1800s. At one point in the 19th century, the Philippines was the 4th largest coffee producing country in the world. In the province of Batangas, the coffee is used as an alternative to soup (sabaw) as part of a local rice dish. It is usually used when eating local dried fish from the lake of Taal, Tapa or any dry or fried dish. Barako coffee is slowly disappearing from farms and also from the market. Much of it is consumed locally and not exported. It is not a common coffee variety, accounting today for less than 1% of commercial coffee grown. Because the plant is larger than other coffee varieties, it requires more land to produce the same amount of coffee. Therefore, many farmers have switched to planting robusta (Coffea canephora), which is also more common and better known by international coffee drinkers, to fulfill the demands of international commercial coffee processors. 

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Nominated by:Pacita Juan