Brewing Unity: Teddy Cañete and Thomas Sproten’s International Coffee Collaboration and Friendship

The Slow Food Coffee Coalition is a group of individuals, including coffee farmers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts, united by a shared passion for good, clean, and fair coffee. Their mission is to bring coffee that embodies the essence of good, clean, and fair, benefiting both the environment and the people who cultivate it. Teddy Cañete, a Philippine producer, and Thomas Sproten, a German roaster, are two friends and members of the coalition in the Philippine archipelago.

Teddy grows Robusta, Arabica, Liberica, and Excelsa coffee species in the tropical weather and mix of lowlands and mountains. The most successful coffee-growing regions in the Philippines are the Cordillera Administrative Region and Northern Luzon in the north, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Mimaropa in the center, and Visayas and Mindanao in the south. Filipino coffee production holds a significant place in the daily lives of the country’s people, and there is a growing awareness of its quality within the country.

Teddy and Thomas champion the philosophy of good, clean, and fair in the Philippines, working alongside the Slow Food Community for Promoting and Preserving Traditional Foods in Negros Island. They grow Robusta, Liberica, and Arabica coffee, and have started working together on different species of coffee. Instant coffee made from poor quality Robusta still dominates the domestic market, but awareness around fine Robusta is growing, leading to quality competitions for it.

The work with the Coffee Coalition is timely because it emphasizes not only the “good” part but also the “clean” (if how coffee is produced respects the environment around it) and “fair” (if the work of producers is respected).

The Coffee Coalition aims to advocate for good, clean, and fair coffee through transparency by involving more producers in the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). This community-based initiative involves local baristas, roasters, traders, and graders to showcase the work of the Coffee Coalition.

One significant project is the “Coffee Trails,” which brings people to coffee farms as part of a travel experience to the region. This project generates awareness about coffee production, life on the farms, and the economic impact on farmers. With government support and international visitors, the Coffee Trails have helped increase public awareness of coffee from Minoyan.

The first Terra Madre Visayas in November 2023 was a great opportunity for the Coffee Coalition network to showcase their activities, PGS, and Coffee Trails. Participants from Visayas and Luzon visited the coffee farms, listened to their stories, and learned about coffee processing. This event has led to many people wanting to establish their own Coffee Coalition communities in other parts of the Philippines.

Teddy’s goals for the future include reaching out to as many farmers as possible to bring their coffee production in line with the Coffee Coalition standards. With 13 farmers now involved, the Coffee Coalition can help farmers focus on aspects of coffee production and environmental care.

Thomas believes he can be an ambassador for the Slow Food philosophy to other roasters interested in buying Coffee Coalition coffee and creating their own Slow Food Community. He wants to continue creating opportunities for exchange and empowerment of farmers through training and education.

Read More @ Slow Food

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