Agriculture - - Up In Cordillera -

THE RE­CENT VISIT of world cof­fee guru Ted Lin­gle to Philip­pine cof­fee farms in Baguio, Davao, and Cavite de­lighted lo­cal cof­fee farm­ers. Lin­gle came to learn more about cof­fee grow­ing in the coun­try and how Philip­pine beans can ac­quire the qual­ity that can com­mand the best prices in the global mar­ket.

Lin­gle was hosted by the Philip­pine Cof­fee Board Inc. (PCBI), which guided him around the farms; he came with US Cof­fee Qual­ity In­sti­tute (CQI) op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Lisa Con­way. His 47-year ex­pe­ri­ence with cof­fee had its roots in his grand­fa­ther’s cof­fee com­pany, Lin­gle Bros. Cof­fee Inc., es­tab­lished in 1920, for which he served as vice pres­i­dent for mar­ket­ing. He also served as di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cof­fee Ser­vice in Los An­ge­les since 1990, and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for 15 years of the Spe­cialty Cof­fee As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica (the SCAA, of which he was one of the co-founders).

When he re­tired from the SCAA in 2006, he be­came the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of CQI un­til his re­tire­ment in 2013, but he con­tin­ues to serve CQI as a se­nior ad­vi­sor. The CQI is a neu­tral non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that for 20 years has been work­ing at im­prov­ing cof­fee qual­ity in over 60 coun­tries.

He has trav­elled to many ori­gins (pro­duc­ing ar­eas) like In­dia, In­done­sia, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, and Africa. This was his first time in the Philip­pines.

PCBI pres­i­dent Pacita Juan said Lin­gle met with mem­bers of the academe, farm­ers, and gov­ern­ment agency rep­re­sen­ta­tives, along with ACDIVOCA (an NGO that conducts train­ing ses­sions and helps strengthen in­sti­tu­tions like the PCBI).

Juan nar­rated how Lin­gle shared sev­eral nuggets of wis­dom dur­ing his talks. One of his au­di­ences was told, “You don’t have to serve good cof­fee to all your cus­tomers. Just to those who you want to see come back.”

In Baguio, he asked, “Who says it is the best?” when par­tic­i­pants kept say­ing they pro­duced the best cof­fee. Then he ex­plained what makes the best spe­cialty Arabica cof­fee and fine Ro­busta. “The pro­ducer, seller, and con­sumer must speak the same lan­guage of qual­ity.” He ad­mit­ted be­ing mes­mer­ized by the Baguio pine trees and the Arabica trees he got to see in the Moun­tain Prov­inces, ask­ing par­tic­i­pants how they kept their se­cret for so long. This ex­cited them, so they in­sisted that he taste cof­fee from Benguet, Moun­tain Prov­ince, Ifu­gao, and Kalinga, Juan nar­rated.

PCBI pres­i­dent Chit Juan talks with cof­fee farm­ers from Benguet dur­ing a re­cent visit; Juan came with Ted Lin­gle, global cof­fee guru, and US CQI op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Lisa Con­way.

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