The Cordillera cloud for­est in my cof­fee cup

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

TABUK City, Kalinga - (Part 1 of a 2 se­ries ar­ti­cle). The best time of the day for me dur­ing ev­ery visit here is early in the morn­ing be­fore the hot sun rises.

It is still 5:30 A.M. to­day and my mind and body are half asleep. At that state, I was re­liv­ing a won­der­ful dream. I was hold­ing a cup of cof­fee on my hands and sa­vor­ing the Cordillera cloud for­est with it.

The dream came with im­ages of our old cloud for­est, in all its bio­di­ver­sity, be­com­ing a monocrop. With the old for­est, cof­fee was grown with the birds, bats, bees, and but­ter­flies. I awoke from the dream when I saw my­self spew­ing sun­grown cof­fee from a cup that tastes like burnt plas­tic.

Cof­fee, it wasn't al­ways what it is to­day. Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, it was not do­ing any harm from the day it was dis­cov­ered in Ethiopia, and its early plant­ings in the Mid­dle East, Europe and fi­nally Latin Amer­ica in the 1700s. Slowly, it be­came a sun-grown monocrop that is man­aged with the use of chem­i­cal in­puts and machines.

Here in Kalinga, I rel­ish the thought that the crop’s tra­di­tional cul­ti­va­tion tech­niques still ex­isted in har­mony with its en­vi­ron­ment and con­tinue to help sus­tain bio­di­ver­sity. That con­trib­utes to its unique flavor, and I look for­ward to hav­ing my first cup of “Kalinga Blend” cof­fee later to­day.

Still wear­ing my bed clothes, I hop into my slippers and walk to­wards the lobby of the Golden Berries Ho­tel.

As usual, the guard at the door nod­ded his greet­ings and let me out of the door.

From the ho­tel, I walked across the road to­wards the rice fields, to get a rein­vig­o­rat­ing fill of the fresh morn­ing scent of earth and grass.

It is re­ally a good thing the Golden Berries Ho­tel is among the usual venue for the events we un­der­take with our lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit (LGU) part­ners and/or the lo­cal farmers.

It is our sec­ond day and af­ter the field con­di­tion­ing walk in the rice fields, a nice re­lax­ing time sa­vor­ing the ho­tel’s not so or­di­nary cup of cof­fee awaits.

The “Kalinga Blend” cof­fee is pre­pared by the ho­tel’s lady barista and her as­sis­tants.

do not know about Star­bucks, but out here, this cof­fee brew is bet­ter. It is a good, semi-strong cof­fee and yes, sipped in a good at­mos­phere.

See­ing me set­tle into my usual chair be­side the pool, to­day’s barista, silently pre­pared and served my cof­fee in a big mug to save on smiles and cups to wash. Ac­tu­ally, they want to leave me alone with my re­flec­tions.

Ms. Grace Agtina, owner of the Golden Berries Ho­tel is also the pro­pri­etor of “Kalinga Blend.” She knows her cof­fee and trained her em­ploy­ees to pro­cure and brew it well.

I imag­ine to­day’s barista adeptly em­ploy­ing chem­istry and physics prin­ci­ples in brew­ing my cof­fee. It was great. I asked her what else makes for a good cof­fee brew, be­sides her skills.

“Why, good qual­ity cof­fee beans,” she said, and added that the most knowl­edge­able on the sub­ject is Ms. Michele Var­gas. She han­dles the pro­cure­ment of their cof­fee beans with the farmers.

Later in the day, dur­ing a break in our meet­ing with our lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit (LGU) part­ners, I sought out Ms. Var­gas to find out if she can share some good prac­tices and se­crets about their busi­ness.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) through its High Value Com­mer­cial Crops De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram (HVCCDP), spe­cial for­eign-as­sisted projects, and its bu­reaus (BPI and ATI), with the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR), Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (DOST), Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI), State Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties (SUCs), among oth­ers, are pro­vid­ing de­vel­op­ment sup­port to farmers, in a bid, to cre­ate a

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.