GOING BEYOND “FARM TO CUP”
“From farm to cup.”
This phrase has been said all too many times in today’s specialty coffee movement. This simple yet moving tagline tells so much about the story of how a good cup came to be—that the process is equally important as the end result.
Really, what does “farm to cup” truly mean? Beyond the extensive discussion of how each bag of beans is processed or how delicately balanced a cup can be, there is something more than meets the eye: the life of a farmer and how every single experience has ultimately led them to produce coffee that’s worth celebrating.
And who could better tell their story than the farmers themselves?
This is what Farmer’s Table is all about.
Farmer’s Table is an exclusive round-the-bar event where the farmer presents the origins of the beans that they’ve produced as guests enjoy coffee grown from the same lot. The intent to bring Philippine coffee to a broader audience is at the forefront of Good Cup’s goals and with events like this one, coffee enthusiasts can better understand the value of their cup as they hear the meticulous (and oftentimes rigorous) process of growing this almost sacred tree straight from the people that cultivated them.
Accommodating only a maximum of 12 patrons at a time, each participant is invited to a one-of-a-kind experience with the farmer. As the farmers tell their life stories and what it takes to produce each bag of beans featured, Gio will be brewing and serving these coffees to the guests.
The event premiered in Good Cup Coffee Co’s homecourt in Cebu City and later had another two-day run at One World Kitchen in Makati.
For the first-ever run of Farmer’s Table, Good Cup has invited local coffee legend and 2019 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) champion Marivic Dubria. She was also joined by her co-producer and husband, Joe (or Budoy, as Marivic and Gio would casually call him.)
All proceeds from Farmer’s Table are given to the farmer.
With all the achievements and innovative coffee that she has produced, Marivic Dubria is a household name in the Philippine coffee industry. Before becoming who she is today, Marivic (together with her husband Joe) used to farm vegetables as a means of living. However, the low yield of crops led the couple to explore the world of coffee and see what was in store for them. The Dubrias became beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and used the money from their first release to purchase seedlings and equipment for their coffee farm.
She was the former leader of the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA) and has garnered multiple national awards including first place in the 2019 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) in the Arabica category. She now runs and manages their family’s own coffee plantation, Dubria Farm.
As one of Good Cup Coffee Co’s partner farmers, Marivic has always been known to produce excellent quality green coffee beans that the former would source and roast. Good Cup’s founder, Gio, frequents her family’s farm in Mt. Apo, Davao, as he works hand-in-hand with her in the processing of some coffee beans. It was only fitting that Marivic would be the first farmer that would be featured in the first run of the Farmer’s Table series.
THE FIRST FARMER’S TABLE EVENT
On February 25th, the Dubrias flew to Cebu to present at the first Farmer’s Table event. They were welcomed by Good Cup Coffee Co’s bar and marketing team who assisted Gio in making sure that guests were given a memorable coffee experience.
With an intimate crowd of 10 guests and the team at work, Marivic Dubria lit up the room with her signature bright smile and moving story of how she came to be the coffee legend that she is today. She shares photos and videos of their family farm in Sitio Pluto, a beautiful vegetation where coffee and other crops thrive, and is situated by the highest mountain peak in the Philippines: Mt. Apo.
The extremely picturesque scene that the highlands of Sitio Pluto may seem to be perfect, but Marivic admits that transporting produce from their farm down to the main town is not easy. The road going down gets muddy and slippery when heavy rains pour, making it difficult to deliver coffee beans to Balutakay, where these bags are then shipped to the respective buyers and roasters. She even jokingly recalled how Gio and Franco Roque (of Paramount Coffee) struggled to climb uphill the mountain town when the two went to visit her farm.
The recount of hardships that farmers have to endure (alongside producing crops itself) was a heartfelt moment to witness, giving the guests a deeper and more personal understanding of how important it was to source coffee sustainably. By hearing it straight from Marivic, each of the coffee served during the event was not only enjoyed in terms of taste but also celebrated as the sweet fruit of labor by the farmers.
Since the Farmer’s Table in Cebu could only accommodate 11 patrons, Good Cup subsequently held a free public cupping event in the afternoon where almost fifty people came to see Marivic. The public cupping was attended by some folks from Cebu’s local coffee scene, as well as some new brewing enthusiasts.
Shortly a week after, the Dubrias and the team flew to Makati to have the second run of the Farmer’s Table at One World Kitchen. The two-day event was participated by some of Marivic’s fans in Manila, media correspondents from lifestyle magazines, as well as supporters-turned-friends of Good Cup Coffee including Eloi Hernandez, Megan Young, and Mikael Daez.
“...because of coffee, I was able to improve my quality of life. And now, I’ve decided to give back to other farmers around the country by training them on how to produce higher-quality beans,” says Marivic. She further adds that “There is money in coffee!”
FROM FARM TO THE WORLD
Good Cup Coffee Co’s main goal has always been to share with the world how great Philippine coffee can be, and to experience these brews at a level that is almost personal to the farmers give a whole new meaning to the term “farm-to-cup.”
With events like Farmer’s Table that directly present the producers to the consumers, coffee farming in the Philippines is given a platform to be understood better and celebrated even more. It puts a face behind the coffee that people enjoy, and mere bag labels provide so much more value in knowing how each bean is processed with effort and love.
With the overwhelming support for the first Farmer’s Table, it’s safe to say that another run is in the works! Who knows which farmer will be featured next?