Coffee much more than cup of Joe
well-being Nov 24, 2022

Coffee much more than cup of Joe

Tokyo company embarks on sweet, sustainable project to help impoverished Filipino coffee growers

by Yoshiko ohira
J-STORIES - A Japanese company has developed an ingenious way to provide fresh income to coffee growers in the Philippines by utilizing parts of the coffee plant that are usually discarded.
Most of the world's coffee comes from two beans, the Arabica and Robusta, but the Philippines is a producer of the rare "Liberica" variety, one of the world's three original coffee varieties. Filipino growers of the Liberica, however, are often impoverished, a result of fierce international competition, disease affecting the Liberia plant, and the increasing number of foreign coffee shop chains entering the local market. This is causing further hardship in a country where many farmers already live below the poverty line. 
Tokyo real estate information services outfit, Lifull, however, has teamed up with famous barista Hidenori Izaki to utilize parts of the plant that are usually thrown away and create four unique coffee syrups. 
Annual household income of coffee farmers in the Philippines is below the national poverty line. Source: LIFULL
Annual household income of coffee farmers in the Philippines is below the national poverty line. Source: LIFULL
The syrups are being sold and used by a number of Japanese cafes and coffee companies, including Sarutahiko Coffee, Ogawa Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, and the SG group. Thanks to this, Lifull not only anticipates a major income boost for the coffee growers, but a $6.4 million economic benefit from using the waste from around 820,000 coffee trees to boot.
There are four flavors of coffee syrup made: flower, leaves, wood, and cascara (the skin and pulp of the coffee cherry).     Source: Lifull
There are four flavors of coffee syrup made: flower, leaves, wood, and cascara (the skin and pulp of the coffee cherry).     Source: Lifull
Lifull is also embarking on other sustainable initiatives that aim to bring about social good via food. As part of its Earth Cuisine project, it opened a restaurant in the forests of Okutama, west of Tokyo. The one-night pop-up eatery served dishes derived from timber. 
Since its launch in 2018, the project has released new products each year, such as pound cakes made with powdered cedar, traditional Japanese cakes containing bamboo from abandoned groves, galettes using bamboo and bamboo grass, and chocolate made from cacao bean shells and the branches and leaves of the cacao plant.
Some of the food produced through the Earth Cuisine project since 2018.     Source: Lifull
Some of the food produced through the Earth Cuisine project since 2018.     Source: Lifull
“For a sustainable project to be a success, it is vital to create local goodwill," Lifull spokesperson Shoko Nojiri told J-Stories: "It is important that this then spreads at a grassroots level, draws in new people, and creates true endorsement of the project.”
Translation by Tony McNicol
Top page photo by spamas/Envato
For inquiries about this article, please contact us at jstories@pacificbridge.jp

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