February 23, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – This capital town known for its luscious strawberries will highlight another high value product – coffee.
The 3rd Coffee Festival set on Feb. 5 to 8 will pay tribute to the hardworking coffee growers and promotes coffee as a beverage of choice, said Municipal Tourism Officer Valred Olsim.
This year’s theme is “Seng-ew ni kape, tonos ni umidi” (aroma of coffee, harmony of the community).
The festivity starts on Feb. 4 with a program followed by a coffee forum at the Municipal Park.
On Feb. 5 will be a coffee appreciation workshop among coffee shop owners. Olsim said they have engaged coffee shop owners to allow them to savor the distinct flavors of Benguet’s own barako as well as that of coffee grown in Sagada or Kalinga.
Olsim said that since the first coffee festival in 2018, the Benguet Arabica has gained national attention and is slowly becoming a coffee of choice. Last month, coffee enthusiasts from the United States, China, Australia, and Korea visited the town.
Cupping of locally produced Arabica coffee is scheduled on Feb.  6. Cupping evaluates the  characteristics of a particular coffee bean and  helps distinguish coffee for blends or specialty coffee. There will also be a barista demonstration at the park.
A farm tour at the La Trinidad Arabica Coffee Producers Association farms, Bantay farms, Benguet State University farms and facilities, and other established coffee farms in town  will be held on Feb. 7 and 8.
Unlimited coffee will also be served at the Municipal Park but drinkers will have to bring their own cups. 
There will also be a coffee stakeholders assembly or Coffee Farmers’ Day on Feb. 8.
Municipal Agriculturist Felicitas Ticba-en said the Coffee Farmers’ Day includes competition on manual pulping and roasting. It is also a fellowship among coffee farmers.
Entrepreneurs who are into coffee arts and crafts, processing and other skills whether food or non- food, are encouraged to join. Those whose innovations on coffee which are not yet commercialized are also invited to showcase their products or materials in whatever form, Ticba-en said.
The Coffee Festival, which is held every first week of February is pursuant to Ordinance 5 s. 2017.
The festival has become an avenue for entrepreneurs from Manila to partner with private coffee farmers who supply them coffee beans, Olsim said. The event also helped La Trinidad in maintaining its moniker as a “valley of colors,” Olsim said.
In the province, La Trinidad has the most number of coffee growers with a total of 744.
Data from the Municipal Agriculture Office shows that there are 47,686 non-bearing coffee trees and 84,896 fruit bearing trees planted in 43.25 hectares with an annual production of about 78 metric tons of coffee beans.
Coffee is a common beverage in the households in the Cordillera region. It is commonly served during occasions and community affairs paired with boiled sweet potatoes or taro. – Susan C. Aro