A way has been made from the mountain wilderness of Benguet all the way to one of the trendiest watering holes in Cebu. This “Kalsada” (road in Filipino) though is the name of a new coffee company, whose beans will be served up at the urban cafe and shop, The Chillage at the Adnama Building, Northern Reclamation.
Those familiar with The Chillage know it as a place where many beautiful Filipino products are championed and marked, and this vein of promoting the quality in the local continues through the coffee that they will be serving. Kalsada‘s coffee is brewed table-side, using filters to extract the medium roast ground’s goodness to give you a delightfully aromatic coffee. I savoured the taste of coffee through my nose before it ever reached my tongue. Served in a glass cup, one notices the light caramel colour, and, in the mouth, the drink is indeed less sharp than one used to sipping espressos would expect. There is no harshness of flavour here; instead waves of earthiness and sweetness amble over my tastebuds.
The closest experience I have had to this kind of coffee tasting is trying high qualtiy rum for the first time. Instead of the heavy syrupiness and throat rasping strength one normally associates with cheaper rum, high quality rum is very smooth to drink and subtler in flavour so that notes of that particular vintage can be calmly sampled. With Kalsada coffee, I pleasantly took my time sipping the drink as I noted its many layers. This is coffee drinking as meditation exercise, and I felt particularly enlightened.
One value of Kalsada’s coffee is that its beans are single origin. While most coffees are made from beans from a variety farms in a particular growing region, each bag of beans from Kalsada comes from one particular farm, just as most wines are made from grapes in a single vineyard. Ours came from the farm of the Domisa family, which Kalsada helpful noted as having the particular flavour of muscavado. By only taking beans from one farm, the qualities that makes each location special in its soil and geographic location can be consciously noted.
Benefits for Coffee Producers
Kalsada’s closeness to their sources is also much better for the producers. The infographic below notes how much more the producers of Kalsada Coffee make in comparison to those who supply bigger brand coffee companies. Producers get more than double the amount than if they sold to mainstream brands. This economic reward then incentivises growers to develop the quality of their beans. Kalsada helps farmers at this improvement. For example, they recently installed flat, raised dryers in several farms that should allow the beans to dry out more evenly than the current method of drying on corrugated tin sheets.
Get It at The Chillage
Quality and care are coming into the Cebu coffee market. If you are interested in developing local markets in a sustainable fashion or just love a good cup of Joe, The Chillage, keen to bring you such products, will be serving the coffee in their cafe and will also be selling the beans for home brewing at their store. While the Mountain Province and Benguet may remain largely inaccessible to Visayan city dwellers, its coffee has made a way straight into the Cebuano heart thanks to Kalsada.
*Photos from The Chillage Facebook page.