World-Class Kape: Laguna’s Liberica, Benguet’s Arabica win big at Global Coffee Championship held in Korea

Two Philippine coffee varieties -- Laguna's Liberica and Benguet's Arabica -- bested over 30 competitors to emerge as two of the world's best at the Global Coffee Championship held in Kintex, Korea on Oct. 7.

Liberica bagged the Silver award in the Global Coffee Championship Signature Coffee Award: Latte category while the Balili Benguet Arabica won Bronze in the Signature Coffee Award: Brewer category.

Photo from Michael Harris Conlin's Instagram account / MANILA BULLETIN

The Philippines was represented in the global competition by Michael Harris Conlin, the 2019 Philippine National Barista Champion.

“It is an honor to represent the country and have the opportunity to highlight Philippine coffee in the world stage. I love coffee competitions. I enjoy the pressure and pushing my skills to the limit; this is one of the best ways to bring the best out of myself and grow as a coffee professional,” Conlin said in a statement.

As a social entrepreneur whose work revolves around coffee, Conlin said he appreciates the Global Coffee Championship, where coffee takes the main stage instead of baristas.

Photo from Michael Harris Conlin's Instagram account / MANILA BULLETIN

The competition was judged by 12 coffee experts through a blind round of judging.

“When the opportunity came up to join a brewing and latte competition that is judged purely on sensory and blind with the judges not knowing who the barista was, I felt it was the best way to see how Philippine Arabica and latte would fair against some of the best baristas and coffees from around the world,” Conlin added.

Conlin, who is the president and CEO of Henry & Sons Trading and Manufacturing Co Inc., has had the opportunity to work closely with coffee farmers from Santa Maria, Laguna-based Juan Santiago Agriculture Cooperative as well as Agnep Heritage Farms in Benguet.