One of the four coffee species is the Liberica coffee. It originated in Liberia, West Africa but today it is mostly grown and consumed in Southeast Asia including our country, the Philippines.
While the details of how liberica arrived in Southeast Asia might be disputed, research does indicate that it experienced a huge surge in popularity in the late 19th century.
In the Philippines, the first coffee tree was planted in Lipa City in Batangas in 1740. Lipa soon became the coffee capital of the Philippines.
By the late 1800s, the Philippines was the 4th largest exporter of coffee. At one point around the 19th century, we were the only ones exporting coffee to the whole world! It was when the disease called the "coffee rust" hit the other large producers of coffee in the world: Brazil, Africa and Java.
Because of the coffee rust, many producers switched to robusta at this time but it did not stop the farmers from planting Liberica. The reason is because the liberica plant is much more resistant to coffee rust and it can also be grown more easily than arabica at higher temperatures and lower altitudes. Pests also find it more difficult to penetrate the skin of liberica cherries as they are noticeably firmer.
Liberica beans tend to be much larger compared to Arabica and Robusta. Its shape also tends to be asymmetrical which makes it very unique to other coffee beans. Arabica and Robusta on the other hand have much higher caffeine levels compared to Liberica and make them more effective at keeping you awake than Liberica coffee. Liberica has a much stronger aroma and flavor profile though. It is often described as nutty and smoky with hints of jackfruit and dark chocolate when it’s in the process of brewing. Its strong flavor is even emphasized as bolder, earthier tastes which gives a cup a much heavier kick to it. Some people even describe it as liquid tobacco due to the strong smoky taste and smell it produces being similar to the actual tobacco plant. In the Philippines, where it is cultivated most, Filipino even call the coffee “Kapeng Barako”which translates to”Manly Coffee”.
Today, the Philippines is one of the few countries that produces the four species of coffee: Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica. We are also one of the few countries that produces the rare Liberica. How awesome, right?
So if you are a Philippine coffee lover, then you are in luck! 'Coz you can try them all here. Check out our export quality Lipa Liberica beans here and get the taste notes of maple syrup, unsweetened Cocoa, roasted nuts, with fruity hints of Jackfruit sourced from our partner farmer from Brgy. Sto Niño, Lipa, Batangas. Happy brewing and let us know your Liberica coffee experience.
Mabuhay ang kapeng Pilipino!
For more Philippine Single Origin variants, you can explore our products page.