[Editor's note: This is the second of a three-part series of "Davao coffee on the rise." The first part was published on June 13 and can be read here ]
THE local coffee scene has been growing in recent years.
Coffee For Peace (CFP) Founder and Chief Executive Officer Joji Pantoja noted how there were only a handful of coffee shops in Davao City in 2006. Fast forward to the present, there are now dozens of coffee shops and cafes in the city where Dabwenyos get their daily caffeine fix.
Even during the pandemic, the local scene has been making strides, albeit smaller -- the coffee stalls and mobile coffee shops.
In a previous interview with ACDI/VOCA Business Development Coordinator Emmanuel Quisol, he said the rise of mobile coffee shops can be born out of the closure of several cafes and coffee shops.
"This has displaced a lot of our talented baristas. Coffeeholics and regular customers of these shops have to find ways to get the daily caffeine fix. The rise of these mobile coffee shops addresses the gap that the closure of the favorite coffee shops created. This has created a positive impact on the local coffee market as these shops now bring coffee closer to their customers," Quisol said.
The sight of a barista preparing you a cup of coffee at their mobile coffee shop along the streets of Davao City has become a common scene. Not only are they serving a good cup of coffee but they are also helping more Dabawenyos learn and appreciate coffee.
Quisol said mobile coffee shops are "a good way to allow more people learn, appreciate and taste specialty coffee."
Pantoja said the growth in the local coffee scene is not only observed in the number of coffee shops opening. She said they have also observed a change in what customers are looking for in a coffee.
"Mukhang nag-iincrease din yung curiosity with the fact that we are teaching them," she said.
Unlike before, coffee tasting or coffee familiarity is now a common set-up in the local coffee shops allowing more people to learn about coffee.
"Coffee familiarity and coffee tasting educate consumers. Once you educate the consumer, sila na mismo yung sasabi na 'iba ang lasa ng kapeng ito noh as compared to this coffee?' (Some of them can now differentiate the taste of one coffee from another)," Pantoja said.
She said Millenials and those aged between 30 to 40 years old tend to look for coffee that would give them different experiences in terms of how it tastes.
Another testament to the growth of the local coffee scene, arabica coffee beans produced by farmers from Davao Region has recently made their mark at the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC). Since 2018, beans from the region have consistently placed in the Top 6.
This recent success of coffee beans at the PCQC has also driven its demand up.
"We can speak for the experience of the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (Bacofa) whom we have provided support through the PhilCafe Project. The cooperative used to have only around 15 to 16 buyers in the past three years, but now, this number has increased to 31," Quisol said.
Members of Bacofa are consistently in the top six of PCQC. This year, five of its members placed in the top six. The top three this year are also from them.
Based on their list, among the buyers of coffee beans from Bacofa are Equilibrium Intertrade Corporation, Gourmet Coffee, Le Festine, Bote Central, La Rosteria, Purge Coffee, Yellow Turtle Coffee, Frog Kaffe, Lick Coffee, Coffee Culture, Coffee for Peace, Pistacia Mindanao, and Kape Coffee Trading.
"It is growing and I see that growing more and more because marami na nagdadaldal about coffee (A lot are now talking about coffee)," Pantoja said.
She added that there is still room for growth for the local coffee industry in Davao City.
"But we want more kase di pa lahat eh. Hindi pa siya saturated kumbaga kaunti palang population ng ating society (We can grow even more because we have not saturated the market yet). So, we need to saturate our whole country na 'hey people we have good coffee, patronize our own coffee,'" Pantoja said.