In the world of coffee, where flavours and origins mix, Liberica coffee stands out for its fascinating history and cultural importance, especially in the Philippines. But there's more to it than that. Liberica coffee could be an answer to climate change and a way for farmers to have stable incomes in the region.
Liberica coffee, also known as Coffea Liberica or Kapeng Barako as it is called in the Philippines, arrived in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era in the 1800s. The country's great weather and fertile soil made it a perfect place for Liberica coffee to grow, so it became widely cultivated. It became a crucial crop and played a significant role in the Philippine economy during the coffee boom of the late 19th century.
The historical significance of Liberica coffee in the Philippines is closely tied to its impact on culture. Coffee quickly became deeply rooted in Filipino culture, with coffee shops becoming social hubs where people gathered to chat, share stories, and connect with their community. The aroma of freshly brewed Liberica coffee added to the vibrant cultural scene of the nation.
However, the coffee industry in the Philippines faced a big problem in the early 20th century when a terrible coffee rust disease destroyed many plantations. This disaster caused the coffee industry to decline and other coffee species took over globally. But Liberica coffee managed to survive in the Philippines, thanks to its ability to endure tough conditions and the determination of local farmers.
Today, Liberica coffee is making a comeback in the Philippines and making a name globally, as people appreciate its unique flavour and cultural heritage. Liberica Barako is often described as having flavour notes of jackfruit and dark chocolate, with some describing it as having hints of dark chocolate, blackberries, and a smoky undertone. With this unique flavour profile, the Philippines prides itself in being one of the few countries where Liberica is commercially produced.
On top of this, Liberica has a huge potential to help with climate change and give farmers economic stability. The special characteristics of Liberica make it well-suited to adapt to changes in climate and handle tough environmental conditions.
Liberica coffee's larger bean size and strong flavour contribute to its resilience. The bigger beans have more water, so they can handle dry spells better. Liberica coffee trees are also less affected by certain pests and diseases, making them more likely to thrive in challenging environments. With climate change posing risks to the coffee industry worldwide, the resilience of Liberica offers hope to farmers facing uncertain futures.
By promoting Liberica coffee, farmers also enjoy improved economic stability. By growing different crops and focusing on specialty coffees like Liberica, farmers can tap into niche markets and get higher prices for their unique products. This stability is particularly important for small-holder farmers who often struggle with changes in the market.
Liberica coffee carries historical and cultural importance, and it has the potential to adapt to climate change while providing economic stability to farmers. By enjoying a cup of Liberica coffee, consumers can play a vital role in supporting its revival. Not only do we get to savor a distinct flavour, but we also help preserve a cherished cultural tradition and provide concrete support to farmers working to adapt to a changing world.
So let's raise our cups to Liberica coffee, and celebrate its history, cultural value, and potential as a sustainable response to the challenges we face today.