"I am able to support my children through Abaca." - Corazon Umalde
This will be a slightly different blog.
Before talking about coffee, I’d first like to discuss an archipelago country in Southeast Asia - the Philippines.
Speaking of the Philippines, the first thing that comes into your mind could be sunshine, beaches, islands, corals, volcanoes, hot springs, etc. No doubt that the country has all these beauties all year round. There are also endless streams of tourists coming here every year for vacation.
No, I am not writing a travel diary! Instead, I want to share with you some of the environmental issues and crises the Philippines has been facing that you might not know.
One third of the country’s population is living on less than one dollar a day.
In its 500-year history, the Philippines was ruled by Spain, the United States, and the Japanese until it declared independence in 1946. Although the Philippines has been experiencing economic growth since independence, political turmoil and deep-rooted corruption issues have stagnated the country, and there is a wide wealth gap in the country. One third of the country’s population is below the poverty line, living on less than one US dollar a day with a high unemployment rate.
Serious environmental issue
Natural disasters such as floods and landslides are aggravated.
In terms of the environment, early Philippine agriculture had been excessively planting cash crops, such as tobacco, hemp, sugar, coconut and palm. In addition to the over deforestation, in order to increase yields, farmers have been using a lot of chemical fertilizers. As soil fertility declines, soil erosion becomes a serious problem, and natural disasters such as floods and landslides are also aggravated.
In recent years, in order to alleviate these problems, the Philippine government has introduced new agricultural methods: agroforestry. "Abaca" is the product of this new method.
What is the magic of “Abaca”?
For Filipinos, "Abaca" means hope.
"Abaca", also known as Manila hemp, is a specialty of the Philippines. It is a natural fiber derived from the leaf sheath of the Abaca tree. Since they are very tough and resistant to water, fishermen used it as rigging in the old days.
Its "magic" is that its vitality is very tenacious. It can be self-sufficient without pesticides or additional water, and it can be decomposed biologically. Therefore, in recent years, the local government has actively cultivated Abaca in areas with soil erosion.
"Abaca" can effectively improve soil erosion, promote the restoration of biodiversity in tropical rainforests, and reduce sedimentation problems in coastal areas. "Abaca" can even be used as organic fertilizer.
For Filipinos, "Abaca" means hope. The job opportunities provided by the Abaca project have saved many families and lives. Watch this video to learn about the story of Corazon Umalde:
If you have read till here, you might be asking: Why are you talking about "Abaca" and what does it have to do with coffee?
If the coffee I drink every day is destroyed by the quality and taste of the filter paper, I’d rather not drink it.
I tried to replicate James Hoffman’s experiment, soaking all kinds of filter paper and drinking the water. If you are brave enough to try it, the taste of many filter papers in the market will shock you. Among them, I tasted the soaked water of Cafec’s filter papers, including "Abaca Filter Paper". I have nothing to say but admire.
For more details, you can refer to our earlier post "The Magical Power of a Filter Paper".
The essence of "Abaca Filter Paper" lies in its tastelessness. It can also be reflected in its papermaking and drying technology and double-sided crepe. It has good water permeability, flexibility and durability.
Yet, the most important reason for supporting Abaca Filter Paper is that it is natural, eco-friendly and sustainable. It replaces the use of wood, reduces the consumption of forest resources and the environmental burden, and also carries the hope of many Filipinos.
It is my favorite filter paper!