The Rise of Fine Robusta

Coffea canephora or mostly known as Robusta coffee is often overlooked as the “cheaper” coffee compared to Arabica beans. As Arabica coffee needs more intensive labor to produce because they are prone to pests and diseases, Robusta coffee on the other hand is way sturdier, has insect repellent properties, and thus requires less work. They are usually harvested in big batches and are cheaper to produce. Compared to Arabica, Robusta has high caffeine content which gives it a more bitter taste, and is predominantly used for producing instant coffee.

Vietnam is the number one producer of Robusta coffee across the globe, but if you are a Filipino coffee lover, there is no need for you to import quality coffee as our country is abundant in Robusta beans as well. Not only that, with the effort of our Filipino farmers, there have been some improvements to the process of Robusta beans.  From farming to pruning to drying and sorting. A quality robusta is called “Fine Robusta” and it is the equivalent of the “Specialty Arabica”. 

According to Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), “The Robusta paradigm is being shifted from a functional focus with emphasis on dry-mill sorting to eliminate defects, to now focusing more on differentiating flavors and emphasizing processing prior to hulling to prevent defects”. They have been working to develop clear international standards for Fine Robusta. If there are Arabica Q graders, there are also Robusta Q graders. A Q grader by the way is an individual with a professional understanding of how to identify and differentiate coffees using the SCAA’s internationally accepted scoring system and who successfully completed the Coffee Quality Institute’s (CQI) rigorous Q Graders Course and Exam. Take note that currently, we have both Arabica and Robusta Q graders in the country which we can be proud of.

Here in the Philippines, the production of Fine Robusta is also on the rise. Here are some of our partner farmers who produce Fine Robusta:

  1. Rebecca Gacayan - she placed top 8 in the recent Philippine Coffee Quality Competition 2021 (PCQC) with her Sultan Kudarat coffee. This is our “robustang walang pait” because surprisingly this is not your ordinary robusta. With the hints of  Palm Sugar, Tamarins, Peanut and Milk Chocolate you will though it’s an Arabica for its sweetness.

  1. Marielle Gannad - is our first partner farmer from Ilocos Sur. We have been dying to have partner farmers from Ilocos and Sir Luis and Ma'am Marielle made it possible. She placed top 2 in the recent PCQC 2021 and her coffee has hints of Fruity, Black Currant, Cherry, Pineapple, and Raisins.

  2. Michelle Dumawing - she is the Kalinga representative in the recent PCQC for Fine Robusta. Her beans were honey-processed which made coffee enthusiasts addicted to her coffee. Dark Chocolate, Roasted Cashew, Baking Spices are hints of her fine robusta.

With the ongoing concerns of climate change and the growing demand for coffee, it’s time to innovate and get familiar with Fine Robusta. Aside from new coffee experience, we are also helping our dear farmers to reciprocate their efforts just to produce quality coffee to every cup. 

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