Benguet Coffee

Ark of taste
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The Benguet coffee is found in the Cordillera range of mountains in the northern part of the Philippines, in the village called Atok in Benguet province. The region is about 1600 meters above sea level thus gets enough moisture and cloud cover to produce richly flavoured beans. The coffee trees there grow amid pine trees and a local tree called Alnos. The Benguet coffee has been cultivated for over 80 years mainly by Igorot people, it is a Typica variety from the Arabica species, that has adapted to the local conditions.
The coffee cherries are mostly processed naturally. The selected beans are handpicked, dried on the pavement and then sold as dried coffee cherries, as water is hard to come by. In some areas where farmers are able to get spring water, they use wooden pulpers and some cooperatives have one single pulper shared by over a hundred farmers due to the high price of this tool. Women are the ones who pick the red cherries while the men tend to do the washing and drying. The women also handle the sorting of beans by size and sometimes pound the dried cherries.

The variety is in danger of extinction because many farmers are not able to prune or rejuvenate their old trees, indeed elders do not allow them to touch the height of the trees in the fear that it might irritate the gods. Old trees do not flower and fruit as much as younger trees. There are no new plantings because many young people prefers to work in offices and take jobs other than farming. The production is thus going down year after year.

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Indigenous community:Igorots
Nominated by:Pacita Juan