Batangas won’t be Batangas without its famous Kapeng Barako. Barako which is also spelled Baraco, is a term that refers to a male stud of an animal and has later became associated to a tough man. Since this type of coffee that belongs to the species of coffea liberica, can be found primarily in Batangas and Cavite where people are known for being tough and brave during the Spanish era, it is named Barakong Kape. It is also popular and distinguished over other coffee for its strong aroma and bitter taste. All coffee grown in Batangas then is generically called barako. The first Kapeng Barako tree, known to be a cutting from Brazil, was planted by the Macasaet family in Pinagtung ulan, Lipa City in 1800s. During the peak of the coffee industry, Lipa became one of the richest cities in the country for producing the coffee. And by the 19th century, Philippines became 4th largest producer of the product.
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But when the plague known as the Coffee rust and the tough competition of coffee growers in South America and Vietnam emerged during the same period, the country’s coffee industry almost collapsed. Due to this crisis in the industry, coffee growers in Batangas shifted to other crops which threatened the extinction of the coffee in the province. Kapeng Barako, being not a common coffee variety accounts less than 1% of commercial coffee grown.
Though it is abundantly grown as well in Malaysia, it is not exported because producers sell the product locally and to the tourist market.Being famous for this product which became the province’s trade mark, many coffee shops have been continuously emerging especially in Lipa. Some of them are Café De Lipa, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Candlelight, Figaro and Kotse’t Kapeng Barako Bar. But the amazing thing about it is, it is still being served in many households in the province every morning.