This is the parent tree of Super Barako or Cavite Barako.
An outstanding Barako cultivar from the coffee plantation of the Cavite State University has been registered with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) of the Bureau of Plant Industry. NSIC is the agency that registers all crop varieties that have been tested to be superior in several ways – they could be high-yielding, with high quality fruits, resistant to pests and diseases, and maybe resistant to other stresses such as droughts, floods and more. They could also have a long productive life.
Belonging to Coffea liberica, the variety is better known as Barako. Legend has it that Lipa City was once the seat of coffee production in the Philippines. That was until the coffee rust disease ravaged practically all the varieties grown there, except Liberica which was the lone surviving variety, and hence dubbed Barako.
The selected Cavite Barako might as well be called the Super Barako Coffee. The plant grows into a much bigger tree than the three species commercially grown in the Philippines – the Robusta, Excelsa and Arabica. The berries are also bigger than those of the other three.
The Barako is considered a rare coffee because, according to Dr. Ruel Mojica, vice president for Research and Extension of CaVSU, it is known to be grown only in four countries in the world, including the Philippines. Even in the Philippines, there are no large plantings of Barako. But more and more investors are taking a good second look at the potentials of the variety. The seeds of the Cavite Barako will be used to produce superior planting materials for sale or dissemination to interested growers. Barako, by the way, is highly prized for its strong flavor and special aroma.
(Photos and part of the text are contributed by Dr. Antonio G. Papa, formerly of CaVSU.)