Care to try Barac -O, Sorry not the Candidate

Certainly, not Mr. Barack Obama. I am talking about our own coffee variety called barako.

Four excellent-tasting varieties of coffee are grown in the Philippines. The ‘robusta,’ comprise 90% of total coffee production. Robusta serves as the main ingredient for the local instant coffee products. The ‘arabica,’ ‘excelsa,’ and ‘liberica’ or the Philippine barako'' make up the remaining 10% of total output.

Barako coffee beans are largely known for their strong aroma. Many claim that it is better tasting than arabica. Though I think that is true I find it too strong for my palate. Barako coffee beans are round in shape and large, and grow in clusters. The trees grow to be 18 feet, and possess thick leaves.

Liberica because of its strong and acidic flavor do not have many coffee flavor fans but I remember almost 40 years ago, I used to buy ‘barako’ coffee from the wet markets.

That distinct powerful odor as it was being grinded, overpowered my adolescent sense of smell. I thought that was STRONG. At that time it was what almost everyone was drinking.
Today, however, you have to be a real coffee connoisseur to appreciate its taste. Truly earthy and whole bodied in character, barako is magnificent in flavor. I should know.

Being children, were not allowed to drink coffee but I managed to enjoy barako every time I successfully stole sips from my mom’s coffee cup. I also remember pouring it over my breakfast’s white or fried rice or using it as a dip for my morning bread when there was no one looking.

Barako according to local press is now actively grown in the hills of Amadeo, Cavite, and Kalinga in Apayao . Thanks to the entepreneuring efforts of Figaro, a local company, barako coffee has been reinvigorated, giving barako coffee production a boost, at the same time helping support many coffee farmers. Today, around sixty thousand families remain dependent on coffee growing as a means of livelihood.

Cheers! Take a break. Have an espresso from barako:-)

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