PHILIPPINE COFFEE DELIGHTS GLOBAL GURU
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.