Rosario Juan: How she’s reviving the Philippine Coffee Farm Tours

This year, the Philippine Coffee Board has teamed up with Commune to revive the Philippine coffee farm tours. Meet the coffee shop co-owner who said yes to this partnership. By Mavic Conde

Commune coffee shop owner Rosario Juan leads tours to give people a broader experience and a deeper understanding of where their coffee comes from (Photos courtesy of Joy Sallegue)

Coffee farm tour, anyone?

“Why not?” replied Rosario “Ros” Juan, the co-organizer of these interactive tours via Commune.

Commune, Rosario’s coffee shop in Poblacion, Makati that serves only Philippine coffees, has recently collaborated with Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) to share their advocacy. Coffee tourism.

This team up “comes out of our love for coffee,” said Rosario.

“We noticed that people now travel not just for the scenery and adventure but also for local food culture,” she added.

So when the invitation for a collaboration came this year from PCBI, she gladly said yes.

She thought, indeed, “why not go to the source, visit farms, and invite others to join us?”

Why a coffee farm tour

The Philippine Coffee Board started the coffee tours ten years ago with these goals: to promote the coffee industry and to provide additional farm income.

According to PCBI president Pacita Juan, it can lure local and foreign tourist that want interactive tourist products such as harvesting coffee in a farm.

“Through this, we can promote our coffee, particularly specialty coffee which are gaining interest now among farmers and industry players,” she said.

While Commune now has coffee groups (coffee crawlers), who go around the country visiting coffee shops, Rosario still felt the need to give people a broader experience and a deeper understanding of where their coffee comes from.

Rosario Juan and coffee farm tours
Photo courtesy of Joy Sallegue

That’s where the idea of a coffee farm tour fits in, and it helps that Commune is already part of a network that works with farmers.

What to expect from this tour

When joining a coffee farm tour, Rosario guarantees these: fun, thrill, adventure, and lots of coffee!”

From a coffeepreneur’s perspective, they can match with future suppliers and buy directly from the farmer. As a hobbyist, they get to see the different areas of the industry.

On a more reflective level, it will create better self-awareness and love for Philippine coffee.

For day tours, guests will experience how farmers grow and process their coffee. They also learn how to pick ripe cherries and get to interact and break bread with coffee farmers.

Longer tours

Longer tours also include visiting tourist destinations. Recently, their Sagada tour included a sunrise trek on Marlboro Hills, a visit to Echo Valley, and the Hanging Coffins. Her team just got back from that trial run of their soon-to-be-launched Sagada farm tour.

“This is the first time we will venture into a trip this long and this far… and probably the most physically-challenging because it involves some trekking and a bit of hiking,” she said.

While it’s going to be a different experience, she assured that each farm tour is worth trying.

How coffee farms are chosen

According to Rosario, the coffee farms they visit are part of the Philippine Coffee Network and have trees that are looked after.

Their farm should also have a shade for a group of people to rest and sit.

“It need not be fancy because we want people to experience the realities that our farmers face on a day to day basis,” she added.

She said interested farm owners just have to let PCBI know that they want to open their farm to other people.

Since January, Commune has organized no less than five tours. PCBI has organized more than 100 since they started.

Rosario plans to have at least 20 more throughout the year. With the significant increase in interest, she welcomes everyone to join.

She also hopes that more coffee shops would be interested in having the same partnership with PCBI.

For her, it’s fitting to revive the tours given the interest around coffee, especially that a lot of people don’t know how coffee actually gets to their cup and requires much labor of love.

To know more about, the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. and the coffee farm tours, contact Jesi Dedel at admin.pcbi@gmail.com, phone numbers +639173267453,  028131028, or 0908 833 1218.

Their day tour cost starts at PHP2,250 per individual for a small group of 8. This includes meals, shirt, transportation, and farming fee. Rates would increase per head depending on tour inclusions like meals, transportation, farming fee, and lodging.