Kalsada Coffee: Making inroads despite the pandemic

According to the International Coffee Organization, the consumption of coffee around the world is expected to decrease by 0.5% because of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. With closures of many businesses and restrictions in transporting goods, it is no wonder that the coffee industry is reeling from the effects of the lockdowns implemented around the world.

Kalsada Coffee Company country director Tere Domine disclosed their operations were halted with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon last March. This resulted in delays of their coffee processing from April to August and at the same time transporting the products from Atok, Benguet to Manila and exporting to international clients.

We have to coordinate our movements with the local authorities para maibaba namin ang aming mga produce. Mabuti na lang tumulong ang ating mga farmers para mailabas namin ang kape,” she said.

Since most of their coffee shop clients temporarily closed, orders have lessened too.

“Isa sa mga partner namin ay Bo’s Coffee for our premium coffees. Naapektuhan din sila kaya bumaba din ang demand nila ng coffee,” Tere added.

With these problems, Kalsada coffee looked into available markets, including homebrewing to sell their coffee. Another opportunity Kalsada is working on is exportation, which accounts to more than 50% of their markets. Kalsada is selling in US coffee shops and roasters like Mostra coffee in San Diego and Andytown in San Francisco. They also export coffee in Australia.

Since marami nang work-from-home at nag-aaral na mga estudyante online, tumaas ang demand namin doon sa retail. Lumalaki na din ang demand for Philippine coffee abroad. Aside from the United States, we have a market in Australia. May mga inquiries na kami from middle eastern countries like Qatar and Turkey,” she said.

Working with farmer communities

Kalsada Coffee is currently supporting 85 farmers in Barangay Kaliking, Atok by buying their coffee at PHP 47 - PHP 50 per kilo. Some farmers are getting Php 50,000 - Php 60,000 per season and other farmers with one to two hectares of farm are earning almost PHP 200,000.

Tere said that they are now talking with the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) to increase the coffee production of the farmers through a rejuvenation project and establishment of demonstration farms.

Hopefully, kung mas marami pa tayong mabibili sa mga partner farmers natin, tataas ang ating volume, bababa ang production cost, at lalaki pa ang market natin,” she said.

Photo by: Kalsada Coffee