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What Went Down at Manila Coffee Festival 2023

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Manila Coffee Festival 2023 (MFC 2023) took place last March 17-19 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom’s MGBX, the venue’s newest exhibition hall located at the basement. Activities included were immersive conversations with coffee resource persons, live cultural shows, art exhibitions, and many others.

Photo from Buzz Beat Media

The 3,400 sqm. space was occupied by over a hundred exhibitors. The festival opened via a symbolic tree planting activity of the Libera Coffee tree, popularly known locally as the “kapeng barako”, at the Organic Urban Regenerative (OUR) Farm site which is located within the Newport World Resorts property. 

Manila Marriott Hotel Facebook

‘Kape Talks’ (KTalks) are sessions where the movers and shakers of the coffee and food industry, as well as a variety of coffee subcultures, shared their knowledge and narratives. The Single Origin Bar featured master brewers who delighted guests with their unique cups of coffee which appealed to occasional consumers as well as aficionados of cups o’ joe.

Some of the familar brands in MFC 2023 are: Papa Kape, Milklab, Cofiport, Brewing Grounds, Coffai Corp., Gaggia Milano, Ahon Coffee, Timemore Philippines, Kakaw Galleon, Saeco Gaggia, Ride PH Cafe, Barista Depot Inc., Curve Coffee, Verra Coffee, Monin, Bait Lehem, Dingras Empanada, Prime Pacific Foods, and Kape Natividad.

Photo from Buzz Beat Media

GrainPro, a brand which aims to “promote sustainable and chemical-free ways of handling dry agricultural commodities” has a booth here. Butterboy Bakehouse, known to many as simply Butterboy, is unarguably the exhibitor with blockbuster lines almost all the time during the festival. The Quezon City based bakeshop specializes in croissants.

Photo from Buzz Beat Media

There’s a special cordoned off section at the back where those who are 18 years old and above can enter. The exhibitors here served spike coffee, or coffee with alcohol, like Elias and Nitro Coffee.

The event catered to art lovers too, featuring the Art Hall, MCF Music Theater, Mulat Art Movement, Sentro Artista, and many more. The current festival exhibit’s curators were Sining, Kape at Kultura, and the Association of Coffee Artists of the Philippines. There’s a 200 feet gallery within the exhibition hall where enthralling visual art from both Filipino and foreign artists were placed.

Photo from Buzz Beat Media

Another exhibit which was highlighted is by MOVE Caravan (Alternative Mobility Exhibit), an organization made up mostly of bicycle and scooter enthusiasts. It aims to promote alternative mobility in crowded Metro Manila.

There are non-food/beverage exhibitors in MFC 2023 such as Handcrafted by Harl’s and Nature’s Creation. Live demos as well as workshops care of the festival’s exhibitors and sponsors were also enjoyed by the attendees.

Dir. Gerald Glenn F. Panganiban, PH.D. who is the National Program Director for Urban Agriculture (Department of Agriculture) stated that this event is vital to put the spotlight on what the coffee industry in the Philippine has achieved so far.

Manila Marriott Hotel Youtube video screengrab

Rich Watanabe, the Executive Director at the Coffee Heritage Project, was one of those instrumental in making the event happen, for he also served as the Festival Director of the Manila Coffee Festival 2023. “If I can make it grander, if I can make it better, I think that is what our farmers deserve,” he said.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Manila Coffee Festival

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