At last year’s Single Origin Bar featuring local beans direct from growers.
Food & Drink Features

Sample rare single origin coffees straight from our local farmers in this 3-day coffee festival

This March 13 to 15, the Manila Coffee Festival celebrates great local coffee and the farmers who grow the beans that fuel Filipinos’ ongoing love for the brew.
ANCX | Mar 06 2020

On a trip to Sagada last year, ANCX visited several coffee farmers who tend their small plots and age-old Arabica coffee trees that thrive in the high altitude. Courtesy of the Coffee Heritage Project that provides support to these farmers, we were witnesses to the process, as tedious and back-breaking as it is, that brings to us city dwellers our daily cup of coffee. The men and women behind the Coffee Heritage Project help hundreds of local farmers—planting coffee trees, cleaning the plots, harvesting the beans, providing technical expertise—and buy the beans at a fair market price.

Coffee seedlings for local farmers at the Coffee Heritage House in Sagada.

But for those of us who live in the city, as we dash in and out of our neighborhood coffee shops for a quick Americano or cold brew, there’s not much that connects us in any significant way to the farmers who grow the coffee beans, except perhaps for those somewhat exotic single origin coffee bean names that identify their provenance.

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Naturally grown and processed, handpicked and hand sorted Arabica beans from Sagada.

While the Coffee Heritage Project focuses on “engaging volunteers to help coffee growers plant and care for coffee trees at origin,” its broader based goal is as “a community-based local coffee movement that aims to transform the agriculture and coffee industry sector.” The second part, “to transform the coffee industry sector,” therefore becomes the basis for the upcoming and much anticipated second Manila Coffee Festival (MCF) happening this March 13 to 15, 2020.

Organized by the Coffee Science Center (the educational arm of the Coffee Heritage Project), this three-day event showcases the lives and experiences of the coffee farmers from the mountains of Sagada and elsewhere in the country in the heart of the metropolis where coffee experts, aficionados, and even novices can gain greater appreciation, not to mention access, to the local coffee products on display.

This second Manila Coffee Festival is hosted by the City of Manila, led by Mayor Isko Moreno, and presented by The Manila Hotel. Inspired by international coffee affairs like the New York Coffee Festival and the London Coffee Festival, the Manila Coffee Festival promises a schedule packed with activities to inform, educate, entertain, and of course, provide copious cups of local coffee.

Young coffee enthusiasts checking local beans at last year’s MCF.

The festival is geared towards coffee industry professionals, coffee shop owners, would-be coffee entrepreneurs, coffee hobbyists and enthusiasts, and even art and culture lovers, with an anticipated 12,000 projected to attend the three-day event.

One of the highlights of MCF is the Single Origin Bar where coffee consumers can interact directly with growers, roasters, and brewers from all around the country. They will be bringing their rare beans, most of which are not available in the city, brewing them onsite for participants to sip and appreciate.

Brewing single origin beans on demand at last year’s Single Origin Bar.

The MCF will boast 80 exhibitors selling various coffees, eco-friendly products, as well as exhibiting art- and concept-driven murals and conversation pieces, and even an MCF Café Music Lounge featuring live music.

A variety of coffee and non-coffee related booths at last year’s MCF.

There will be special events, product demos, and workshops spread throughout the three days, including the following:

  • Hotdog Band performing at the opening ceremony
  • Enderun Pastry Demo with Auro Chocolates
  • Ink Brewing & Calligraphy Workshop with
  • The Journey to being a Professional Barista tips and know-how from World Coffee Events competition judge Cherryl Lee
  • Latte Art Workshop by Monin
  • Incorporating Vegan Food in Your Café Menu by the Vegan Grocer with Chef KC Candelaria of Daniel’s Choice
  • Managing Food Waste for restaurants and cafés by Green Space
  • Singapore’s Bettr Barista Talk
Perfecting latte art at MCF 2019.

Other highlights include the following:

As a tribute to people in the industry, Coffee Culture: “Humans of Coffee” is a series of mini documentaries produced for the festival that share the many stories behind the coffee farmers and workers.

The festival will also launch #beanwoke, a fundraising project to support local coffee growers affected by the recent Taal Volcano eruption.

The Manila Coffee Festival will be held from March 13 to 15 at The Manila Hotel’s Tent City, open 10 am to 7 pm. Tickets will be sold at the venue for P150 each, or sold online via until March 12.


To learn more, or

Facebook: and Instagram: @manilacoffeefestival


Sagada photos by Andre Drilon

MCF 2019 photos by Marti Bartolome