All you need is a cup of Pinoy coffee
Coffee from the Philippines receives attention from niche customers abroad.
Pacita “Chit” Juan wears many hats, but her day no matter what it may have in store for her, starts with coffee.
Upon meeting her, it does not take long to notice that Chit is passionate about the brew.
Coming from a well-established business family, Chit has run many successful projects however her latest passion is promoting Philippines coffee abroad. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Philippine Coffee Board Inc., which is a private-sector led group developing and promoting coffee abroad.
In a country where 80% of coffee is imported, it requires dedication and determination to be able to export the product and Chit has all that’s needed.
“It is important to tell the story of the product. Coffee flavour profiles are different in the Philippines from those abroad”, she says.
Small business, big impact
To explore foreign taste buds, Chit sent samples of her coffee to Sweden. The next destination for the samples turned out to be Iceland, Norway and Denmark.
Chit’s coffee is branded as “Le Café Filipina” although locally, she blends it ready for cafes to use as Chit’s Blend. As she believes in a lifestyle that cares for the environment, it is marketed through the ECHOstore, which is a one-stop shop for eco-friendly and natural products.
Helping small producers, craftsmen and artisans get to new markets is one of the major aims of the initiative.
The good news came in the form of an order all the way from Blaser Café in Switzerland. Soon, 200 kilograms of the coffee was supplied to the Swiss roaster.
Since then, Chit has not looked back.
“In 2022, we received inquiries from buyers in Germany. We have sent samples and will be exploring this opportunity.”
Working with the government
Chit attributes the headway in the European market to her engagement with Philippines Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Through meetings, webinars and feedback sessions, Chit used her experience to ascertain the ways to best approach the different markets and promote coffee from the Philippines.
Accreditation as coffee exporter, mandatory documentation and obtaining the exporter registration number were some of the areas where government support came in handy.
Chit appreciates the benefits of utilizing the GSP+ scheme.
“If your product is in the list of GSP+ eligible products, your products become available to the buyer without tariff.”
Among friends, Chit is often fondly called the serial entrepreneur, which perhaps, is a reference to her established family business.
While running a sizeable family business, sustainably exporting coffee with realistic profits is just the icing on the cake.
The ability to employ up to 300 women farmers who can work four days a week making enough money to buy the essentials including medicines is the actual delight.
“My product is speciality coffee produced on a single estate, produced and harvested by women and it’s from the Philippines.”
With a confident smile Chit spells out why you should try her coffee.
The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies.
ARISE Plus Philippines is a project of the Government of the Philippines, with the Department of
Trade and Industry as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Customs, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the private sector. It is funded by the EU with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as the technical agency for the project.