From seed to cup: The first brewed coffee processed in Southern Leyte

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More value were being added to the homegrown coffee from mere production to coffee processing and eventually, this lady’s dream to serve hot brewed coffee someday at her own coffee shop in Anahawan, Southern Leyte.

From being an ordinary office worker, farmer Candelaria Adanza or Larrie as she is known to many, used to work as an office staff for 30 years in Texas, USA. She never thought that she would end up as a coffee farmer when she retired, and more so, to establish the only coffee processing plant in Eastern Visayas.

For the first time in Southern Leyte, the Anahawan-based Adanza Coffee Farms manufactured the roasted ground brewed coffee made from the robusta variety.

“Never in my mind sinked in that I will be a coffee farmer and entrepreneur. I only love to drink coffee,“ the 64-year-old Larrie said.

Larrie is one of the 31 members of the Anahawan Farmers Co-Ca (Coffee and Cacao) Association, Inc. (AFCCGAI). She has advanced in coffee production with her 3,000 coffee seedlings planted in a 2.3-hectare farm in Barangays Mainit and Capakuhan, both in Anahawan.

Some 11 years ago, Larrie first get into planting coffee when a friend, who introduced to her the massive planting of coffee, brought some 6,000 coffee seedlings through the assistance of Congressman Roger Mercado.

Larrie personally went to a demonstration farm in Tagum, Davao to learn the nitty-gritty of coffee production.

National government interventions

As Larrie later started to sell raw coffee to Cagayan De Oro, it came to the point that she could no longer bear the high fare/transportation cost and the tiresome long distance travel, she thought of trying to cook coffee by herself.

With the support from the Department of Agriculture – Regional Office 8 (DA-8), she was brought to various coffee summits in Manila, Davao and Bagiuo City where she learned a lot from the sessions attended. Later, she was visited by the High Valued Crop – Coffee officer from DA Central Office right at her farm wherein she was encouraged to add more value to her coffee agricultural product.

“Adding values to coffee gave me opportunities to earn double from production to coffee processing and opportunities to open up coffee shop to serve hot brewed coffee of different flavors,” Larrie beamed.

Later, the DA regional office released an amount worth P2M for building construction to include equipment grant for their Association for the production of brewed coffee such as moisture heater, roasting machine, grinder, sealer, weighing scales, among others. The building is set to be officially turned-over to the Association on June 20, this year, she said.

The Department of Trade and Industry, on the other hand, assisted in the packaging of her brewed coffee product so as to be competitive in the market.

DA-8 then recommended Larrie as the consolidator for the processing of brewed coffee in the region. During her visit to Hilongos, she bought 48 kilos of coffee sold by the local farmers, who earlier reported their concern on how they will market their coffee crops harvested.

Larrie is also a recipient of the free fertilizers distributed to coconut farmers from the Philippine Coconut Authority as she also practice inter-cropping in her coconut plantation with coffee and banana.

“I want to let other farmers learn how to maximize the use of their agricultural land by intercropping coconut trees with cacao, coffee and banana products, as well, to become more productive,“ Larrie said.

With her newly approved application to issue official receipts by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), she is now set to commercialize her brewed coffee to the open market.

She initially established customers of her fresh brewed coffee in Tacloban City, Baybay City, Merida in Leyte, at the Southern Leyte provincial capitol, in some government agencies, restaurants and hotels. She was also offered by a big bakeshop in Tacloban City to display her brewed coffee in their seven outlets. (LDL/ESG/PIA-8, Southern Leyte)