MARIVIC DUBRIA: Changing The Game of The Local Coffee Scene
It takes a lot to play in the coffee industry. From farmers to roasters to baristas, all hands are on board in delivering a good cup to the table. The distinct and unique flavors of a specialty coffee are very much sought-after by aficionados all over the world. Every country has its inherent richness and taste because of varying terroirs, which is why international trade in coffee beans remains to soar because of the demand for specific tasting lots unique to a location. Coffee, commercial or specialty, is a fundamental element in people's daily lives. It is such a huge court to dabble in that oftentimes, consumers tend to focus on the end product of a brew than tracing its origins: the coffee farmers that plant and produce the beans that we enjoy everyday.For the past months, Good Cup has been collaborating with the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA) to elevate local Philippine coffee through alternative ways of bean production. Marivic Dubria, the leader of this cooperative, has introduced a groundbreaking innovation of processing coffee by using a yeast starter culture.
“My first cupping experience opened my eyes as to how important coffee is to the everyday lives of everybody.”, says Marivic in a speech at the Davao Agri Trade Expo.
Among her numerous awards in the field, Marivic was the champion for the 2019 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) in the Arabica category.
Beyond the praise and acknowledgment that Marivic Dubria and the members at BACOFA have garnered, she admits that being a farmer is not easy.
She expressed her sentiments on a YouTube feature by DSWD Region XI on success stories for their 4Ps program.
Marivic opens up that she and her husband Joe used to farm vegetables but shifted to coffee farming because of the low yield of crops. It was also very timely that the Dubrias became beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and used the money from their first release to purchase bagging bags for their new venture in coffee. She is also thankful to the Department of Natural Resources’ (DENR) program for helping her and her fellow farmers to cultivate coffee, along with several NGOs that also guided their association into the know-how of coffee production.
“One time, I prayed in our area..and I said, ‘Lord, given the chance that I could help our community of farmers…’ because the life here is very difficult. ‘If You could give me the chance to help my family and others.’”, Marivic shares.
In 2016, Marivic attended training and seminars held by foreigners to advance their association’s processes in producing coffee. Since she spoke English well, her co-members at BACOFA encouraged her to participate in these events. Marivic would then impart her learnings from these conventions to the other coffee farmers at Sitio Pluto, Balutakay.
When their coffee won 2nd place at a national competition in 2018, she was sent to the USA to represent the Philippine coffee industry.
Marivic recounts her experience. “I didn’t expect that someone who had nothing like me could land in the US, without any fare and anything at all.”
Placing first in national cupping competitions upped the BACOFA farmers’ standing in the market and paved the way for them to have more local and international buyers for their green beans.
Good Cup visited the BACOFA farmers to source better local beans for the roastery but meeting the producers behind these coffees urged the team to have a bigger purpose by standing firm with our commitment to coffee, the hands that pick every coffee cherry, and the lives that these hands support. We are committing to work directly with coffee farmers like Marivic to build transparent and ethical relationships that genuinely benefit the origins of the drinks that we enjoy.
Marivic Dubria’s coffee is special as it introduces the use of yeast fermentation. The cherries were fermented in an anaerobic environment for a week and then depulped, leaving the mucilage. Yeast starter culture was added to the ferment with the mucilage for 5 days. This innovation brings out fruit-forward flavors to the coffee, improving the acidity while making it taste sweeter.
The notes of this coffee are a contrast to the inherent fuller-bodied flavors of Philippine beans, where chocolates and brown sugar are dominant. The BACOFA Marivic presents grapes, dates, and cherries in its taste profile, offering hints of a tarty punch with a mellow touch. Good Cup is proud to add BACOFA Marivic to our roster of coffee fit for competition as the first locally-produced coffee for this series.
To experience this coffee by Marivic Dubria of BACOFA, grab a bag here.
UPDATE: We held a Farmers' Table event featuring Marivic Dubria where we tasted her coffees while hearing about her life's story and current coffee ventures as she opens her family's own farm. More about it here.