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Cordillera's Organic Coffee - One Town, One Product

The Cordillera Administrative Region provides some of the best organic coffee varieties in the country because of its favorable climate and elevation.

 |  4 min read

A Kankanaey woman having coffee with her grandchild during a mid-day break from working in the rice field. | Jacob Maentz
A Kankanaey woman having coffee with her grandchild during a mid-day break from working in the rice field. Jacob Maentz

Your life will always be better off when you concentrate on the simplest joys of life, like drinking a cup of coffee! - Mehmet Murat Ildan

The One Town, One Product (OTOP) is a key project of the government to upgrade entrepreneurship and generate employment. Through OTOP, stakeholders identify, develop, and promote a product or service with a competitive edge; in the case of the Cordillera Region, the organic coffee.

The region provides some of the best coffee varieties in the country as evidenced by the frontrunner Benguet-grown Arabica coffee during the recently concluded 2018 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition. Seven entries from the Cordillera Region were able to make it to the top 10.

The cool climate and high elevation of the region are greatly favorable for Arabica coffee cultivation. Both local and international markets recognize CAR's coffee products to have outstanding quality.

The Cordillera Administrative Region is the 5th Arabica producing region in the country as of 2016; with a yield of 555.12 metric tons. However, it is not yet among the top coffee-producing regions.

The Philippines has a 108,000 tons consumption-production gap between Robusta and Arabica. Nestle Phil imports 75% of 100,000-ton supplies from Vietnam. It is a challenge for government agencies and farmers to meet the increasing demand for organic coffee.


Historians credit the introduction of coffee to the Philippines by the Spaniards. A friar brought 3 gantas of coffee beans through a Mexico-Manila expedition in the 1740s. They planted the seeds around Manila. When the friar died, his servant transferred the plants to Pinagtongolan, Lipa, Batangas.

Meanwhile, it was believed that the coffee was introduced in Benguet by the Dominican friars; while Spanish ex-soldiers introduced Arabica in Sagada, Mt. province. Another account recognizes the barter of products to lowlanders as a vehicle for the coffee introduction.

Benefits of Drinking Organic Coffee

Coffee beans contain vitamins like riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They also contain antioxidants and caffeine. It is important to note, however, that the amount and timing of coffee consumption are important to consider for you to reap health benefits instead of compromising your health.

Mayo Clinic suggests a maximum of 400 milligrams of caffeine daily for healthy adults. It roughly equates to four cups of brewed coffee. Take note though, that coffee is not the only source of caffeine, soda, energy drinks, and chocolates have caffeine too.

You should stop drinking coffee after 3 pm because caffeine can mess up your sleep up to six hours after consumption. Now that you know the right amount of coffee and the right time to consume it, here are some of the benefits you can get from CAR's OTOP:

  1. It lifts energy levels. Caffeine stimulates your mood by blocking inhibitory neurotransmitters in your brain. It also escalates the release of catecholamines which can increase your heart rate, thus sending more blood to your muscles.
  2. It aids in weight loss. Caffeine stimulates the body to burn more fat stores. The effects are more profound in endurance exercises like running.
  3. It helps in the prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases. Caffeine protects the neurons that produce dopamine. A study reported that participants who consumed 400mg of caffeine daily have 55% fewer chances to have brain lesions at their death compared to those who had less than 140mg daily.
  4. It may relieve a headache. Before the onset of a headache or a migraine, blood vessels dilate. Caffeine causes the blood vessels to constrict, thus facilitating headache relief. When it is combined with acetaminophen and aspirin, the potency rises by 40%.
  5. It may prevent some types of cancers. Research shows that coffee lowers the risk of endometrial, aggressive prostate, and estrogen-negative breast cancers. These may be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee.

Interesting Facts about Coffee (sources: Reader's Digest,

  1. The groom was once obligated to vow during the wedding that he will always provide his wife with coffee; or else, it can be a ground for divorce. (Turkey)
  2. The term cappuccino originates from its similarity to the attire of the Capuchin monks.
  3. Beethoven insisted to have 60 coffee beans for his cup of coffee.
  4. Espresso is translated in Italian as, "when something is forced out".
  5. Brazil created a coffee-scented post stamp in December of 2001.
  6. Coffee was the earliest food to be freeze-dried.
  7. Columbia and Brazil produce 40% of the world's coffee.
  8. Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee includes excrement from a Sumatran wildcat.
  9. Java and Mocha are termed after their origin.
  10. Majority of coffees are a mixture of Arabica and Robusta beans.

About the author: This article (revised) was shared exclusively by our friend Donnabeth Tolano-Aniban with the Igorotage team. Donnabeth is a licensed Filipino nurse and a former teacher. She now works as an academic writer and also writes on Medium. Her work has been featured in Her View From Home and When In Manila. You can get her book "50 Ideas For A Great Life" on Shopee.

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