What is Coffee From the Philippines Like?

What is Coffee From the Philippines Like?

Posted by Meera Nair on

Did you know that the Philippines is one of those few countries that produces all four main varieties of coffee? While arabica and robusta make up a significant chunk of its coffee cultivation, there are farms that also invest in growing excelsa and liberica.

This gives you an idea of just how much of a range there is in the coffees available in the Philippines.

As yet another country on the bean belt, let’s understand more about coffee from the Philippines.


Coffee was first brought into Lipa, a city in the Philippines, in the 1740s by the Spanish. Lipa later went on to become the coffee capital of the country.

While the coffee crop was being grown in the country throughout, in the 1860s, coffee began to be exported to the US as demand for it increased.

By the end of the 1800s, the Philippines became one of the top 5 coffee exporters in the world. 

However, their coffee cultivation wasn’t immune to the plant diseases and pests that were wreaking havoc on coffee crops in other parts of the world. As a result, coffee production took a hit. 

Even though Filipino farmers championed and continued with the production of coffee once the robusta variety was introduced to them, the country’s status as one of the leading exporters of coffee was lost.

By the 1980s, the Philippines joined the International Coffee Organization as a way to improve their participation in the global coffee trade.

history of filipino coffee

Initially, a lot of the coffee the Philippines produced was retained for domestic consumption and there was very little to export because the demand amongst Filipinos for coffee was much more. At the turn of the century, the country began importing coffee from Indonesia and Vietnam with records stating as much as 100,000 metric tonnes of coffee imports in a single year.

Granted that the Philippines is no longer one of the top 5 coffee-producing countries in the world, countries like Nigeria, Japan, the US, and Canada are still very much dependent on coffee exports from the Philippines.


  • The Filipinos take instant coffee one step further to brew extremely fresh cups of the drink by using coffee bags. These coffee bags are just like tea bags but offer more in terms of freshness when compared to sachets of instant coffee.

  • The Philippine Coffee Quality Competition is an annual competition held in the Philippines that helps increase awareness amongst Filipino farmers about quality standards of coffee and boosts their morale to improve their efforts in scaling their trade and performance in international markets.

  • Much like the Indonesian kopi luwak, the Philippines too has its own version of the civet coffee. It is called coffee alamid. The coffee cherry is eaten by the animal (also called a toddy cat). Coffee farmers then collect the animal droppings and clean the beans thoroughly to make them fit for human consumption.


One of the coffee types that is famous in the Philippines is the Barako coffee. It is also known as kapeng barako. It is of the liberica variety and a great choice for those who love robust coffees. Barako coffee has a bitter, fruity, and chocolatey flavour profile with a smooth mouthfeel.

flavour profile of filipino coffee

They are also incredibly aromatic. Some Barako coffees even have hints of spices that make the cup profile more layered.

Considering that the Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, each region’s soil and climatic conditions contribute to the flavour profile of the coffee. Ranging from bright acidity to mild acidity, you can find coffees from the Philippines that align with your taste preferences.

For instance, coffees from the Bukidnon region are natural-processed arabicas that have a fruitier taste and make for great black coffees.

Have you tried any coffee from the Philippines? Comment and let us know what you thought of it.

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