Coffee for a Tree: A Unique Coffee Experience!

Filipinos prominently wake up in the morning with a little sweet, hot and aromatic blend of coffee to start their day.

Some take it with their snacks and even as nearly as a round-the-clock beverage. But have you ever sipped brewed coffee that lifted not just your taste buds but also the spirit of kindness in yourself? To some, yes, but to many, no, unless you tried the intensified taste and hearty purpose of Hineleban Coffee. Then you could say, “A coffee for a tree… please!”

Locally known for its humane cause and sweet mission to sustain lives and empower the Indigenous People of Bukidnon by providing sustainable livelihood, Hineleban Coffee soared high from its humble beginnings. With this desire, it has spread its wings in strengthening not only their mission in reforesting the bare mountains of Bukidnon, but also in supporting the coffee industry in the country.

Hineleban Coffee: The intensified taste

Hineleban Coffee has now been regarded as the country’s finest brewed coffee being graded the best Arabica in the Philippines and cupped as “Very very specialty coffee” by internationally renowned green bean coffee trader and roaster, Level Ground Canada, with an outstanding cupping score of 8.75/10.

With just the right combination of sweetness and carmelly flavour as perceived by the tongue, Hineleban Coffee’s richness in aroma serves as one delightful attribute that attracts buyers and convinces them to patronize the product.

According to HFI Coffee Technician and Processing Supervisor, Jojo Lerin, the secret on maintaining quality coffee is not achieved in coffee processing alone. It starts in the proper identification of the variety best for the area, accurate timing, and harvest of only red ripe cherries and masterfully roasting the beans to capture the true flavour of the specialty coffee.

The Coffee’s Emphatic Purpose

As it suggests, Hineleban Coffee was named after a non-stock organization, Hineleban Foundation Incorporated (HFI) and is anchored with the campaign to “Sip and Reforest.”

The Foundation predominantly promotes patronage of the product with the initiative of helping reforest the denuded mountains of Mindanao. “Each single bag of coffee bought corresponds to one seedling of forest tree planted for you,” said Forester Renato Baylomo of HFI. This way, the consumer becomes part of the reforestation efforts of the Philippines, one sip at a time. Sweet and kind, isn’t it?

To date, Forester Baylomo said, HFI is preparing 30,000 forest-tree seedlings to accommodate the demand for Hineleban coffee.

Based on 2014 coffee sales alone, HFI sold as many as 19,200 bags of coffee. Imagine how lush the mountains will be few years from now. You can also be part of reforesting our land by purchasing Hineleban Coffee in all Healthy Options stores, nationwide.

HFI realized this campaign in partnership with the seven tribes of Bukidnon residing in the mountain ranges of the province. The green thumb of these Indigenous People (IP) partners produce high elevation Bukidnon Highland coffee varietals from Hineleban Foundation seedlings garnering higher yields with the coffee production technology of sustainable agriculture practices imparted by the foundation.

The family of a 56-year old woman from the Higa-onon tribe, Elsie Alizan, is one of the partner growers who source out her family sustenance from coffee farming. “Hineleban helped us tremendously. Aside from the assistance they gave for coffee maintenance, they also give cash advances and even bring rice at home whenever we have nothing to eat, and then we pay them back during harvest time,” Elsie meekly said during an interview.

Elsie’s and 81 other Indigenous families’ voices shouted commitment out loud to produce quality coffee berries and obliged themselves in upholding the reforestation mission of the foundation. For them, this is a return of favour for Hineleban Coffee’s sincere succour.

“Livelihood first, then planting trees,” cited HFI Coffee Technician and Processing Supervisor Jojo Lerin who’s the first contact of the IP beneficiaries in the field.

Hineleban Coffee hence satisfies the nutritional and psychological need of all coffee lovers as well as the social and environmental need of the people living in the buffer zones of Mindanao mountains. HFI stepped up its sales through advertising in social media and promote its cause.

An Aromatic Collaboration

The forged collaboration of HFI and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) strengthened Hineleban Coffee’s hearty purpose.

Based on a statement from HFI Farm Manager Neil Konrad Binayao III, the provision of P1.7M worth of coffee processing equipment by the DTI-Bukidnon through the Shared Services Facility (SSF) project will create a big impact in improving their post-harvest and production processes especially in roasting coffee.

Processing almost 11 tons of farm-produced coffee berries yearly from 24 hectares is made easy through the processing facility provided by DTI. Mr. Binayao found it helpful enough for the Foundation and its partners in reducing post harvest costs.

Moreover, based on the project’s benefit, DTI-Bukidnon Provincial Director, Ermedio J. Abang said that this only sustains the holistic view of the SSF project in empowering Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as essential contributors to the country’s long term economic growth.

Altogether, the pooled resources, a collaborative effort of DTI, HFI and the small coffee partner growers — plus the Coffee’s intensified taste and humane cause — heated up the coffee table igniting 82 IP-beneficiaries to work as one, which contributed in reviving and highlighting the Coffee Industry in the province of Bukidnon. (Laurence D. Pradia, DTI-Bukidnon/RLRB, PIA-Bukidnon)

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