In the Philippines, 16 coffee roasters successfully completed a three-month professional coffee roasting class taught online from October to December 2021. The Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE), a program implemented by ACDI/VOCA and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, led the class along with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), and the Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia.
Over three months, the participants gained formal training on proper coffee roasting and how to adopt internationally accepted standards for roasting. As the Philippine coffee sector grows, PhilCAFE’s goal is to boost the production of conventional and specialty coffee, coffee exports, and the capacity of local market actors. To meet this goal, the class provided roasters with in-depth learning about their role in the coffee supply chain and techniques in roasting that will bring out the best of Philippine coffee, which is sourced from the mountain ranges and more than 7,600 islands of the archipelago.
Sunshine Genevive Molintas, a graduate of the class, said she learned to define coffee roasting as honoring the labor of love and care farmers give to every bean. Sunshine, who lives in Tabuk City, Kalinga, in the Cordillera Administrative Region, added that roasters like herself are responsible for enhancing the overall quality of coffee beans during the roasting process.
Rocky Rhodes, a U.S.-based master roaster and veteran of the Special Coffee Association Roaster’s Guild Executive Council, led the instruction.
“This is the most amazing and challenging experience, having to conduct hands-on roasting classes across continents and oceans.”–Rocky Rhodes, CQI instructor
Rocky said the class required significant logistics, including mailing select coffees around the country to ensure each student had a similar hands-on roasting experience, despite the virtual nature of the class. Upon completion, participants received training certificates from CQI.
According to TJ Ryan, ACDI/VOCA’s chief of party of PhilCAFE, participants are key links in the specialty coffee supply chain, and their role in promoting coffee quality and supporting farmers is critical. He added that roasters are considered among the frontliners of the Philippine coffee sector; they develop the trust of the farmers, traders, and consumers.
Some participants expressed their interest in volunteering at this year’s Philippine Coffee Quality Competition, which is considered the country’s largest, most prestigious annual coffee quality competition.
Of the 16 participants, four were from northern and southern Luzon, four were from the National Capital Region, five were from the Visayas, and another five were from Mindanao regions.
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