GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The Coffee Academy (TCA) GenSan produced 11 graduates from its 3-day coffee crash course that ran from October 7 to 9, 2022, held at GoodBlends Café, Lagao, General Santos City.
The in-depth coffee course aimed to educate about specialty coffee and the value chain, as well as to train the students wanting to pursue a career in the industry.
“The members of the coffee association are our top priority for this academy. We want them to have the right knowledge to help inform the general consumers. If we provide relevant information to them, in return they can spread awareness with regards to the coffee value chain,” said TCA instructor and GenSan Coffee Association President John Paul Velayo.
In addition, TCA instructor and GenSan Coffee Association Vice President Raniele Cedrik De Vera said: “TCA was conceived out of our frustrations to educate the public about specialty coffee. There were also some local baristas who were eager for deeper knowledge about coffee. We thought of it as our legacy to the coffee community.”
On the first day of the course, TCA instructor Arnel Cadeliña discussed Coffee Quality and Sensory Analysis.
He guided the students to do sensory analysis exercises that included olfactory and taste, as well as coffee brewing and comparative cupping sessions.
TCA mentor De Vera, on the other hand, talked about Coffee Manual Brewing Essentials on the second day. He presented different coffee vessels and demonstrated different brewing methods, conducting a brewing challenge as a way of practicing what the students have learned from the theoretical discussions.
On the last day, barista instructor Julius Valeriano discussed Barista 101 and demonstrated espresso calibration, grinder calibration and milk steaming with latte art. The students, in this session, were able to make espresso and latte art.
Coffee instructor Velayo also discussed coffee shop management, with participants afterwards presenting their coffee shop business concept to the coffee instructors.
Velayo and his group look at the sustainability of the coffee value chain of the region. They advocate for the right information as a way of informing the public the importance of the coffee industry.
SOCCSKSARGEN region is positioning to become the coffee capital of the Philippines. It is now the number 1 coffee producer contributing 32.4% of the total domestic coffee production. Region 12 has more than 26,000 hectares of land devoted to growing coffee.
De Vera said that “if we encourage the farmers to follow good agricultural practices the coffee value chain would flourish.” He added that the baristas “would share the right information to the consumers if we teach them the right coffee education.”
He believes that through that they will be able to help empower the local coffee industry.
“Our mission is to educate people, one cup at a time. We encourage the public to patronize our local coffee shops that use local beans from our farmers in the region. We hope that the public would educate themselves about the coffee value chain to understand the industry,” De Vera said.
Meanwhile, the students participating in the course said they were delighted to join and enhance their knowlege on coffee. According to them, they will use what they learned to help advocate for the improvement of the local coffee industry.
“At first I doubted attending TCA classes. I thought it would be a waste of time and money. But when I attended the classes, it was an eye-opening experience. The coffee instructors were generous in giving the right information, tips and skills just to educate me about coffee,” TCA graduate Rogel Bito-on said.
“Being a barista is probably one of the most versatile jobs that could be found today. Pursuing a barista career abroad might be challenging but through TCA I've learned a lot of things and honed my skills as well,” added TCA graduate Alexandra Castillon.
TCA GenSan was organized in collaboration with the GenSan Coffee Association.
“Don’t hesitate to enroll in the coffee academy if you want to know more about the industry or if you want to pursue a career. We are pushing the same industry. Let’s help each other for its sustainability,” said Velayo. (Genory Vans Alfasain/Sarangani Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.)