The Horticulture Department of the College of Agriculture partnered with the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDIVOCA) and the Department of Trade and Industry-Region 10 in launching the 1st coffee cupping laboratory in the region.
Launched at the university’s New Integrated Science Laboratory Building on November 15, the coffee cupping laboratory aimed at providing access to the local coffee farmers on the cupping and grading of specialty coffee and serving as laboratory for students in coffee quality grading.
Thelonius S. Trimmell, ACDIVOCA chief, said that the university coffee laboratory is very crucial in building the capacity of students and farmers in ensuring the quality of coffee productions.
The representative of the Philippine Coffee Council in Mindanao, Reyno B. Almonia, urged for the constant checking of coffee quality produced by the local farmers and coffee cooperatives here in Bukidnon. He said he is thankful that ACDIVOCA provided the coffee cupping equipment and materials accessible to coffee farmers.
“We should produce more specialty coffee because Bukidnon is the place where best Arabica and Robusta coffee are grown. We have two in the Top 10 as Best coffee in Arabica category. We should constantly check our coffee quality,” Almonia said.
On March this year, coffees from Mindanao were hailed the best during the 1st Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Quality Grading Competition
For Arabica category, the Inhandig Tribal Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ITMPC) from Malaybalay, Bukidnon garnered the highest score of 85.75 points given by judges, some of whom were experts from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) in California. In the Robusta category, the Kape Maramag was awarded with 83.42 points.
According to Dr. Carolina D. Amper, dean of the College of Agriculture, through the equipment provided they will conduct coffee cupping to assist farmers in determining the quality of their product.
“We are very fortunate that in CMU, we have our professional Q grader for Arabica and Robusta coffee,” she said. “With Mr. Andrew Melencion’s supervision, we can assure you that all the assessment results from this facility are based on standard coffee cupping protocols.”
Mr. Andrew Melencion, the coffee laboratory contact person, has two international licenses in coffee grading accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute—as Q Arabica grader and Q Robusta grader. He is one of the only few international Q grader license holders in the country.
“A Q grader is the backbone of Q grading system qualified to classify coffee as being specialty or non-specialty,” Mr. Melencion said. “The system quantifies taste attributes such as acidity, body, flavor, aftertaste, uniformity, balance, and sweetness, among others.”
Aside from the cupping facility, Dr. Amper said that they can also provide an array of services and capabilities to the coffee farmers through the university’s laboratories for soil and plant analysis, and pest and diseases diagnosis.
“The soil factors and the management of pests and diseases are important considerations in producing quality coffee. We will also provide trainings on coffee production, post-harvest handling and Q grading to interested individuals or organizations,” she said. (IADalipe-Neri)