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Barako Coffee 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago




A coffee that used to be one of the worlds leading coffee, but now is becoming extinct.



Elisabeth Strømme



Description and Rationale      


Coffee was brought to the Philippines during the Spanish colonial ages. The Spaniards planted coffee trees on the highlands. These plantations grew very well because of the combined humidity, cold, soil and tropical climates. The Philippines was the 4th largest coffee producing country in the world during the 19th century. Barako coffee is coffee produced in the Philippines, this coffee is of Liberica variety. Liberica is a rare brand name of coffee, that is grown in only 3 countries worldwide. The first Barako tree was planted in the 1800’s in Batangas by the Macasaet family. All coffee grown in Batangas is called Barako.




Today, there are only a few Barako trees left. They are in danger of becoming extinct. The “coffee capital” has moved from Batangas to Amadeo, a town in Cavite Province. The drop in Barako coffee was due to the infestation of the “coffee rust” which almost wiped out the Philippine coffee industry.



Right now, it is really popular with special brews and exotic blends of coffee. This might give a little hope to the Philippine coffee industry. Maybe the Barako coffee’s taste is the answer to this new trend.



What is the Barako Coffee’s impact on the human ecology? Is it a competitor for food resources? How is its extinction affecting the people’s livelihood who depend on the coffee for a living? Is there a way to find a cure for the “coffee rust” infestation? If so, what can we do to help make it happen?


The initial purpose of this project will be to research the biology and ecology of the Barako Coffee, through a search of literature as well as firsthand observations. I will try find some Barako Coffee and buy it and sell or give it as samples to the Faith Community, while telling them a little about the Barako Coffee and the problem with extinction. These initial findings will help guide the experimental phase, where key variable in the Barako coffee’s survivability and usefulness will be further explored.



It is hoped that the Barako coffee will become popular because of its special and exotic taste, so that people in Amadeo can grow more of it as a livelihood project and sell it commercially to consumers. 



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Common Names and Synonyms



Barako coffee is a branch of Liberica coffee. One synonym of coffee Liberica is Coffea Dewevrei Wildm. and T. Dur. Another synonym is Coffea excelsa A. Chev. Barako coffee’s name came from Barako pigs that were seen munching the leaves.






Kingdom: Plantae (plants)

Phylum: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)

Class: Magnoliopsida (dicotyledons)

Order: Rubiales

Family: Rubiaceae (madder family)

Genus: Coffea L. (coffee)

Species: Coffea liberica W. Bull ex Hiern (Liberian coffee)




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Morphology and Physical Description



Liberica Coffee grows as a strong tree, up to 18 meters in height. The tree has large leaves. The fruits are like large round cherries.  





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Getting Food


All kinds of coffee, including Barako, gets food through the process of photosynthesis. This process is how plants get energy from sunlight to produce sugar. Coffee trees/shrubs also need water to grow.



Barako Coffee grows best in sunny areas with good drainage. Feeding the trees with complete fertilizers once a month will make them grow faster and better.  The flowers on the tree will come out three to four years or later. Trimming the branches every year to produce more branches will make more flowers and berries grow.






Coffee reproduces through seeds. You buy Barako seeds, plant them, water them, feed them properly, and they will grow.




Environmental Factors



The only pest the Barako Coffee has ever seemed to have is the coffee rust, which infested the coffee a few years back. Coffee rust “is a devastating disease which attacks coffee plants, often leading to the loss of entire crops and plantations. It is caused by Hemileia vastatrix, one of the rust fungi.” 


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Origin and Distribution


Coffee Liberica originated in the town of Liberia, located in West Africa. A branch of Liberica, known as Barako, is a crop grown in the Philippines. This coffee can mostly be found in the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Malaysia.  Spanish colonizers introduced coffee Liberica seedlings to the Philippines about 250 years ago. The Philippines became the worlds fourth largest coffee producing country 50 years after the Barako coffee was brought here. Ever since the coffee rust, though, it has become more and more extinct and not used.


Importance to People


Barako Coffee is important to people because of its special taste. Also, in general, many people love coffee and can’t live without it. Coffee is also a main export product and can be used for many different kinds of foods, medicine, etcetera.




Survivability and Endangered Status


The Barako Coffee is an endangered plant in the Philippines. Since the coffee rust infestation, the Barako Coffee has been unable to keep up with the worldwide coffee demand and many coffee farmers have changed what kind of coffee they’re growing. 


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Potential Solutions


Is there a possibility that the Barako Coffee will ever become one of the worlds top coffee producing countries again? There seems to be many things we can do to help save the Barako and our local coffee industry. Below are 3 possibilities with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each.




Possibility 1 Buy The Coffee


Purchase Barako coffee from any Figaro Outlets. Part of the money from these sales will go to the Barako Revitalization Fund to facilitate more Barako plantings.


The Figaro Coffee Company is a coffee sector that completed its first coffee store in 1993. The purpose of this store was to create a Filipino coffee shop that could compete internationally, and to promote Philippine coffee locally and globally. The companies main goal is to see the country back on the world coffee belt.






1.    Part of the money goes to the Barako Revitalization Fund to facilitate more Barako plantings



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Possibility 2 Plant Barako Seedlings


Buy seedlings in Figaro and plant Barako in your farm/garden. “For questions regarding Coffee Farming, you may call Dr. Alejandro Mojica, National Team Leader, Coffee Research and Development Programs; Director for Research, Cavite State University at Telefax (046)415-1355 or email him at andy_mojica@hotmail.com”




1.    The more people buy seedlings, the more the people in Batangas will make them.





1.    Barako Coffee grows best in places like Batangas (the country).




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Possibility 3 Spread The Word (My Action Step)


Tell your family and friends about the Barako extinction and give them samples of the coffee. Get them to buy it.




1.    They may want to try something new if they haven’t heard about Barako before

2.    They may like strong coffee. In that case, Barako coffee is the answer!




1.    Many people may already know about Barako, but don’t like it, and therefore they don’t buy any. In that case, this won’t help very much.



What I did for my action step was buy Barako Coffee, make it, and tell the guards about the Barako extinction problem and let them drink it. I also told them to go out and buy the coffee and help its extinction problem. We all know that the more people buy the coffee and raise awareness of it, the more we help our country come back up to the top of the worlds best coffee producing countries. Under are a few pictures of our ”meet”.



Me, with the Guards, telling them about Barako and drinking the coffee. 


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“Help Us Save the Barako.” Savethebarako. 4 May 2008 <http://www.savethebarako.org/about.htm>.



“Help Us Save the Barako.” Savethebarako. 4 May 2008 <http://www.savethebarako.org/hych.htm>.



"Philippine Coffee - Barako." Philippineherbalmedicine. 4 May 2008 <http://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/coffee.htm>.



"Classification." Usda. 4 May 2008 <http://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=COLI8&display=31>.



"Coffee Liberica." Wikipedia. 4 May 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberica>.



"PLANTS Profile." Usda. 4 May 2008 <http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COLI8>.



"About Coffee." Cafeambassador. 4 May 2008 <http://www.cafeambassador.com/coffee/>.



"Coffee Rust." Wikipedia. 3 Jan. 2008. 4 May 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_rust>.








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