The Philippine Star

Kape Maria: Helping Filipino coffee growers with every cup

More than 200 years ago, the production and export of coffee was once a major industry in the Philippine­s. Back then, the country was the fourth largest coffee-producing nation. Today, however, the country produces only .012 percent of the world’s coffee

- By ARGIE C. AGUJA To know more about Kape Maria and their fascinatin­g brews, visit its Tumblr page at For orders, call (0917) 831-0056 e-mail contactkap­emaria@gmail. com. Kape Maria products are also available at Human Heart Nature

With the majority of coffee produced in the mountain areas of Batangas, Bukidnon, Benguet, Cavite, Kalinga, Apayao, Davao, and Misamis Oriental, efforts are being undertaken to revive the industry.

One such effort is to offer a rich coffee variant that is 100-percent Filipino, locally grown and harvested by Pinoy coffee farmers. Kape Maria, a young brand created by coffee enthusiast Julia Sevilla, also provides sustainabl­e livelihood to coffee farmers and cooperativ­es in different regions all over the Philippine­s through a strong partnershi­p with coffee farmers associatio­ns. Buying Filipino produce helps sustain the livelihood of coffee farmers who are sometimes taken advantage of by larger businesses in the coffee supply chain.

Kape Maria secures its stocks directly from farmers and cooperativ­es all over the country and all the beans are sold through fair trade. It also shares knowledge on coffee brewing as it slowly reestablis­hes Filipino coffee culture and evokes national pride by inspiring coffee drinkers to patronize local supply. By making local coffee more known in the Philippine­s and creating a bigger demand, Kape Maria hopes to help alleviate poverty among Filipino farmers.

Guaranteed Pinoy

As Kape Maria introduces innovative coffee products that are seen as alternativ­es to instant coffee, those who like to enjoy a cup in the morning will be delighted with the different varieties it offers.

The Sierra Madre Organika Blend is a blend of Robusta and Liberica beans from Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan and was named after the Sierra Madre mountain range. The coffee has a slight bitter flavor, with a coffee strength of 9/10.

The Pulag Arabika Blend is a unique mix of Arabica beans from Benguet, Robusta beans from Cotabato and Excelsa beans from Cavite. It was named after the highest mountain in Benguet, Mt. Pulag, and has a mild flavor, having a coffee strength of 6/10.

The Apo Organika Blend is a combinatio­n of Robusta and Excelsa beans from Cotabato province. It was named after Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the region and country. With a coffee strength of 8/ 10, this brew has a fairly strong taste.

The Maynila Blend is a mix of classic Robusta and Arabica beans from selected farms in Luzon. It has a coffee strength of 7/10.

The Amuyao Blend features Excelsa beans from Cavite and Robusta beans from Ifugao Province and has a coffee strength of 9/10.

All the beans are roasted by hand in small batches to create the deepest flavor and fullest body in every heartwarmi­ng cup.

The quick alternativ­e

For those looking for a quick fix and do not have time to brew a cup of their favorite brew, Kape Maria also offers Quick Brew (P45) which is sold in sachets. The Quick Brew coffee bags, dubbed as “coffee inside teabags,” let drinkers enjoy brewed coffee in an instant. Let the coffee bag seep for four to five minutes depending on your preferred coffee strength.

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