When speaking of coffee in the Philippines, we almost always end up mentioning Kapeng Barako from Batangas, supposedly that “strong, STRONG” coffee (thus the name, “Barako” for “ultra masculine/macho/brusque”) that is obviously a way, way better alternative than the Pinoy regular 3-in-1.
What not many know is that the Philippines actually has other coffees also worthy of being given attention. And here, the Pikit coffee comes to mind.
Pikit, by the way, is a first class municipality in the province of Cotabato in Mindanao in southern Philippines. As per the 2015 census, it has a population of 154,441 people (thereby the most populous municipality and local government unit in the province). It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Aleosan; on the south by Pagalungan, Maguindanao; on the west by the Municipality of Midsayap and the Liguasan marsh; and on the east by the Municipality of Datu Montawal.
For many who aren’t from Mindanao, Pikit is infamous for “hosting” wars (literally) – e.g. the so-called Pikit War between Muslim separatists and the Philippines army took place there in 2003. This, obviously, creates that impression that this is but a “land of war” (it isn’t!).
Now back to what may be the place’s best offering – i.e. coffee.
Robusta is the variety (mostly); but after being freshly ground, there are three ways the coffee is “presented”, i.e. dark, darker, darkest. Obviously, the tastes vary – the paler the coffee, the less “strong” it is, so that the palest version is even chocolate-y (close to Vietnamese coffee); while the darkest one is a somewhat paler (milky, even) version of the Barako. No matter the version, though, the coffee isn’t “mapait (bitter)”.
Pikit coffee may be bought from local “palengkes (markets)”; and they sell cheaply, too, for around P100 per kilo.
So the next time there’s chance to try REAL coffee, forget the 3-in-1 excuses for “coffee drinking”. Consider drinking some of the coffees from the Philippines. And here, Pikit coffee sure is worth a try…