Bukidnon coffees win in PHL’s first ever ‘cupping’ competition


ILIGAN CITY ­(MindaNews / 5 March) – Bukidnon coffees topped the country’s first ever “cupping” competition held at the Cavite State University from March 1 to 4, according to the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI).

The Inhandig Tribal Multi Purpose Cooperative (ITMPC) of Malaybalay City won this year’s Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Quality Competition in the Arabica category while Kape Maramag won in the Robusta category.

Processing coffee at the Hineleban Foundation in Bukidnon, one of the players in the Philippines’s emerging specialty coffee industry. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Although there are more than 100 coffee species, the most popular are Arabica (Coffea Arabica) and Robusta (Coffea Canephora). Arabica, usually grown in the highlands and more prone to diseases and thus needs more attention from farmers, has generally been regarded as the best coffee; whereas Robusta, which can grow in the lowland with little care, is popular among instant coffees.The two winners will be sending representatives to Seattle, Washington this April for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) expo, said the PCBI website.

“These coffees will now command a higher price in the specialty coffee market,” the PCBI added.

The PCBI said 78 coffee samples were submitted for the competition, with participants from as far as the Cordillera Administration Region up north to Sulu down south.

The winning Arabica coffee scored 85.84 points while the Robusta got 83.75 from judges, among them international experts from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). The panel of judges was headed by Samuel Gurel of Torch Coffee, which is helping empower coffee farmers with trainings.

Chit Juan, PCBI president and co-chair, said in a Facebook post Sunday that to be considered “specialty” grade, a coffee has to score at least 80.

“It’s a scale up to 100 where trained palates called Q graders taste the coffee, smell the grounds, the brew and slurp as much as they can to describe its ‘notes’. Notes are the reminders of floral, caramel, chocolate, spice, fruits that a grader may associate the taste and smell with. It can also be earthy, grassy or simply unacceptable as a fine coffee,” she added.

One of the judges, Mbula Musao of Kenya, a Q grader herself, said “some flavor notes reminded me of Ethiopian Sidamo.” She added that the winning Robustas are like “fine coffees” from Uganda.

“I’m totally amazed by the taste profiles of the winners,” Gurel was quoted by PCBI as saying.

Both winners, Juan said, were “processed naturally.”

“This means it was picked ripe, dried in the sun and allowed to develop its flavors naturally…. That shows we can do good coffee even without water in the processing. Just picking ripe and drying well,” she added.

Juan said it is “good news for mountain communities who have no access to running water.”

“I am ecstatic because we found samples from all over the country – far and wide like Palawan, Laguna and Bulacan for Robusta. Benguet, Mountain Province, Bukidnon and Davao for the Arabicas,” she said.

“This may be the start of the rebirth of the Philippine coffee industry…. And this is the start of a new coffee revolution,” Juan said.

Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya, an advocate of the cooperative movement, said the ITMPC, composed of Higaunon farmers, has now become a “superstar cooperative.”

“I’m very happy to note that it is a tribal cooperative. A model to other tribes. Super proud Higaunon here,” she said in a Facebook post.

The Kape Pilipino, said the PCBI, is part of the project MinPACT or Mindanao Productivity in Agriculture, Commerce and Trade. It is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by ACDIVOCA.

Though now known only by its acronym, ACDIVOCA is a result of the merger of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, both nonprofit international economic development organizations.

PCBI is the grantee organization which conducted the coffee trainings.

Other coffee growing countries in South and Latin America and Africa have long been conducting annual coffee competitions dubbed “Cup of Excellence,” with the winning coffees commanding high prices in an auction shortly after the contest.

Juan said the PCBI started “cupping” classes way back in March 2016 so the Philippines will have certified Q graders and improve the country’s specialty coffee industry.

She noted that before the classes, farmers knew little about the quality of their coffee and were at the mercy of the big buyer or trader who subjectively graded their coffee.

“Now, farmers can grade their own coffee before even pricing it. Buyers, beware. Farmers now know about their quality and the price they can fetch given correct processing techniques,” Juan said. (Bobby Timonera / MindaNews)

Drink Hineleban Coffee And Help Reforest Mindanao

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Coffee is a heavenly drink, and what better way to improve your coffee drinking experience than knowing that you can support a good cause just by enjoying your favorite caffeine fix? This is exactly what you can do if you buy Hineleban Coffee.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2184″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]I recently came across this brand while shopping at my local Healthy Options store and the concept behind it seems worthy of support. Hineleban Foundation is a nonprofit organization that plants one tree for every 500g Hineleban coffee bag purchased under what they call their “Sip and Reforest” campaign. Now, companies sometimes make these types of claims to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, but then there is no real way to follow up on it once you have parted with your money.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2186″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

This is where Hineleban Coffee is different: every bag has a unique code printed on it, and you can use this code to not only look up your tree online – including a photo of the actual tree and its exact location on Google maps – but you even get the chance to register and name it.
This really sets Hineleban apart from similar brands and I freely admit that getting to see and name my own little tree brought a smile to my face. It’s a brilliant initiative that makes consumers feel involved and makes a difference. The website even states that the image will be updated once a year, so you can monitor your own tree’s growth.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2187″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

The vision of the organization, according to their website, is the regeneration of the rainforest of all the mountain ranges of Mindanao, and the ‘Sip and Reforest’ campaign is only one of a number of ongoing projects. Of course, it can only really be successful if the taste of the coffee matches the enthusiasm of its producers. Luckily, there is nothing to worry about here. I love coffee and have tried countless different local roasts in the past, and Hineleban’s Full City Roast certainly delivers on the taste front. Quietly rich and distinctive, with brisk and earthy notes complimented by soft but vibrant acidity, these lovingly roasted beans have landed straight in my list of favourite local coffees.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2188″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Now, planting a tree for every pack does add to the price, and might be worth mentioning that at over P600 per 500g pack, Hineleban ‘Sip and Reforest’ is not exactly cheap, but it does come with the added fuzzy feeling that you are doing something good.

 Hineleban Foundation

 http://hineleban.org The ‘Sip and Reforest’ coffee packs are now available at all Healthy Options stores nationwide.


How I Found Coffee with a Heart

loubootan_images-e1407479908743-220x220I cannot remember a time when I didn’t like coffee. As a kid, I loved the sweet and creamy taste of coffee, creamer and sugar. As an adult, I love the rich, full and bold taste of coffee. Truth be told, coffee kick starts my morning by giving that added boost to get me up and moving. Coffee is a prerequisite for such mornings and everything in-between.

I can tell you all the good things coffee can do, when taken at the right time and in moderation. But that’s for another article. I am here to tell you about a story of a coffee with a heart.

Recently, the coffee machine at our office poured out a brew. Little did I know that it would forever change the way I see locally-grown coffee. A sip made me fall in love. How can you not? It’s a perfect balance of fragrance and strength. Hineleban Coffee, planted at the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon, enables you to be part of something bigger than yourself. A tree is planted for every 500-gram Hineleban Coffee bag purchased.

Starting this June, Healthy Options shall carry this product and you’ll get to try it for yourself.

Ref: http://www.healthyoptions.com.ph/angelsspeak/?p=425
Posted on June 18, 2014 by



Awesome Finds @ Sugarleaf Organic Market and Cafe: Hineleban Coffee and Cenyu Probio Chicken

Brewing my hineleban coffee

I’ve met two cool dudes, Jai Ferrer of Hineleban Coffee and Ian Tristan Madera of Pronic Foods (Food of the Future) both social entrepreneurs in a media preview of Sugarleaf Organic Market and Cafe. They introduced me to a great tasting highland coffee and chicken respectively.

Hineleban Coffee 100% Highland Arabica Coffee from Bukidnon, Mindanao, graded best Arabica in the Philippines by Karen Lo-Tsai, the only Internationally certified Q-grader in the Philippines.

Graded Specialty Coffee by Level Ground Coffee, a Canadian Roaster that import specialty coffee from around the world.

Hineleban in Bukidnon tribal culture represents ” The spirit of the gathering and giving Mother tree of the rain forest that sustains the cycle of life” . In 2008, Hineleban Foundation partnered with Indigenous people (IP) providing them Arabica Coffee growing as their source of livelihood while reforesting. today they are living their role as Custodians of the rain Forests.

Being a coffee drinker ( as long as it is a natural coffee and not instant), this something we can be proud of, this coffee also support our local farmers and environment as part of their advocacy, I have been an ally for such causes in the past, one is the flight of cordillera coffee farmers, but that’s another story. Having tasted the coffee, I gave my two thumbs up for its great taste, aroma, source, social responsibility and packaging.

Love the “eco-friendly” packaging and design



Purchase your Hineleban coffee online at : store.hineleban.org . For every Hineleban Coffeee bag purchased Hineleban Foundation plants a forest tree in your honor. Just enter the ID code with its corresponding GPS coordinates found at the back of each coffee pack on the google maps section of www.hineleban.org to view your tree.


Sip Coffee & Plant a Tree

Coffee is love. Having one cup of caffeine goodness is a daily ritual I prefer not to go without. So when I was told about a foundation that sold locally grown coffee beans to help stop deforestation in Mindanao, I knew I had to investigate further.

The Hineleban Foundation was founded by John Perrine, a banana and pineapple farmer who spent most of his life living in Bukidnon. Upon seeing the deforestation happening in the area, he knew he had the power to help change it. He and his wife Renee began the Sip & Reforestcampaign in April of this year. The campaign’s aim is simple: you purchase a bag of Arabica coffee and they plant a tree for you that you get to name.

What makes their efforts more unusual than most is that you’re given a GPS coordinate for your tree, so you’re able to check on your tree’s growth each year over the web or on a smart phone. Over 300 trees have been planted since the campaign started.

I decided to do my part and ordered two coffee bags from their online shop. The ordering process was painless and my bags arrived less than a day later. I love efficiency!


One of the coffee bags that arrived at my doorstep

The GPS ID of my tree

The GPS ID of my tree

A few hours after purchasing my coffee, I received an email showing the GPS coordinate of my tree and its first picture.  I was also able to type my tree’s ID onto their site for quick access.

Hineleban tree

One of my trees as seen on their website

I used our tiny little percolator to brew a cup and it came out strong but without being overpowering. A splash of milk was all I needed to make it just right.


Renee shared that the beans are grown in partnership with seven tribal communities around Mt. Kitanglad. The plants are planted mostly at 1,000 m. above sea level and up, where Arabica coffee grows at its best. They’re on their fifth year of harvest and have been graded the ‘Best Arabica in the Philippines’ by Karen Lo-Tsai, the only Internationally accredited Q- grader in the Philippines (I don’t speak coffee lingo, but I can assume this is a pretty high accomplishment).  Hineleban Coffee has also been rated as ‘Specialty Coffee’ by SCAA roasters around the world.



You can order your coffee in either whole beans or ground

A bit of fun trivia: one of my favorite Filipina actresses Cherie Gil recently ordered 50 bags to give away to her close friends during her birthday. I think this would be the perfect gift for new parents, you can plant a tree in the name of their baby and offer them a little help with all the sleepless nights they’re about to go through.

For more information, feel free to check our Hinleban’s site. They even invite people to visit their forest in Bukidnon to help plant trees and meet the tribes that grow the coffee. Definitely a trip I’d love to go on in the near future.

In case you’re interested in more information, I asked Renee Perrine to share a little more about the foundation and the Sip & Reforest Campaign. You can find her answers below:

CJL: How did the idea of the Sip & Reforest campaign come about? 

RP: Hineleban Foundation (HF) has partnered with the Indigenous People (IP) living in the foothills of the mountain ranges of Bukidnon.  For the IP’s to protect and reforest our mountain ranges, HF introduced to the IP’s Arabica Coffee production to sustain their forest based traditional life.  HF provided them with seedlings, technology, inputs, and value formation classes.  At harvest time, HF buys back the berries from the growers at 300% higher than the going berry buying price.  HF then post harvests the berries and roasts and packs them individually and markets the coffee for the profit of the IP communities.

The thrust and goal of the Sip & Reforest campaign is to empower Filipinos to reforest their own country while sipping the best Arabica that their own tribes have proudly produced.

CJL: How easy was it to merge technology (GPS tracking, apps, etc.) into the campaign?

RP: The process is tedious but transparency is the key to gain support from the Filipino People, and as we have this product to promote the livelihood program of the foundation.

We use GPS cameras to tag each tree with its GPS coordinates, and utilize the Google map link to be able to disseminate the information through our website at www.hineleban.org. Sales are done through our online store at www.store.hineleban.org and the Facebook page is utilized for marketing and tagging the tree pics and coordinates to the tree owners if they have an FB page.

The campaign is gaining its momentum and recognition through social media.

CJL: How successful has the campaign been since you started? How many trees have been planted so far?  

RP: We’ve already planted thousands of trees, but since the start of the campaign 300 packs have been bought through the online store with their respective 300 trees which have been named and tagged. We continue to plant thousands of trees up to this day, in anticipation of more sales and support from the Filipino People.

CJL: What type of trees are planted?

RP: Indigenous seedlings and seedlings of species collected by the Indigenous People of Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon. For example: Cherry Palawan, Acacia Raintree, Caribbean Pine, Cinnamon, and Jacaranda.

CJL: Why the need to reforest this area? 

RP: There was a time when Mindanao, the southern most and second biggest landmass in the Philippines, was covered with lush tropical rain forests thriving with wildlife, and was traversed by rivers teeming with aquatic life. The land was very fertile, the air was clean, food was bountiful, and there was unlimited reserve of natural resources. People, plants and animals lived together and nurtured one another in a healthy ecosystem. ­­

In the year 1900, 70% of the Philippines was covered with virgin rainforests – about 210 million hectares which is one third of the existing rainforests of the Amazon today. By the year 1970, the rainforest was down to 34% – about 102 million hectares. And in the past 4 decades, we have continued to wipe out our rainforests leaving only 3% by the year 2000 – about 9 million hectares. In the last 12 years, we have lost more – and are now down to 1.5%, with only about 4.5 million hectares remaining. If this trend is not reversed, we will totally lose all of our remaining rainforest. We are witnessing the desertification of our country.

When reforesting the buffer zones of these mountain ranges, (buffer zones are slopes by the mountains at 18 degrees or higher), you come across the tribal people that live in these mountainsides.  These are the Indigenous People of Bukidnon, coming from 4 original tribes.

They live up in the mountains, very marginalized and far from reaches of any social, health and educational programs of the government.  Some IP’s have fought true to their culture and have guarded their forest, while others have been exposed to benefits of working for logging concessionaires, which eventually caused them the destruction of their area and corrupted their role of forest custodians.

For any reforestation program to succeed passed anyone’s lifetime, the role of “custodians of the forests” has to be restored back to the Indigenous People with utmost dignity. Protecting not only the forest, but the real resource that all people cannot live without- WATER!

Mt. Kitanglad range has the 2nd highest peak in the country. Mt. Kitanglad is at the heart of Mindanao.  With 6 tributaries stretching out to 6 provinces.  This is the watershed of Mindanao.  Mindanao is supposed to be the food basket of the Philippines.  Right now we are importing 98% of our rice consumption when we used to be a country exporting rice.  For our country to produce our own food, we must first protect and reforest our mountains.’

CJL: In less than a few hours, my tree was named and planted. Are the trees already planted and then baptized with a name once a bag of coffee is bought? 

RP: The trees are planted in advanced. They’re all planned and planted in advanced, once the coffee bag is sold, we assign a tree to the bag sold and tag the name.

CJL: What are your plans for these trees in the future? 

RP: We plan to just leave the trees to grow pass our lifetime as it reforests the mountainside.  The Sip and Reforest Campaign in primarily used as a venue to sell the coffee and to promote awareness of our project.  HF however aims to reforest 140,000 hectares of denuded areas in the mountain ranges of Mindanao.  We have been working with donor agencies and all sectors of the government.  Hopefully, the big project will launch January 2014.

CJL: Who exactly is this campaign helping? 

RP: Hineleban Foundation’s goal is to restore our rainforest and watersheds, which supplies everyone with water for our food production.  Realizing Mindanao’s role as the food basket of the Philippines.  A cause to sustain our very existence!



Hineleban Foundation Incorporated (HFI) was formed in 2006 as a non-profit, non-stock organisation whose main advocacy is to reforest the high mountain ranges of Mindanao. To accomplish this, HFI partnered with the Indigenous People who live within the buffer zones of these mountains. Providing them with Family Food Security and sustainable disposable livelihoods through the model of Transformational Business Partnerships. Thus, restoring their role as “Custodians of the Rainforest”.