Long before the Department of Agriculture launched its campaign to plant coffee to curb the constant drain of dollar reserves due to heavy importation of coffee, Amadeo was already engaged in coffee farming.
As early as 1880, Amadeo was producing Arabica, a variety known for its aroma and flavor, in modest scale. Formerly called Kapeng Tagalog, it was intercropped with other produce, supplementing community livelihood.
However, in 1890, an organism known as “Coffee Rust” (Hemilia Vastatriz), swept the plantations. Rust-like patches on the leaves spread rapidly from tree to tree until entire coffee plantations appeared burned. Coffee fields were ruined.
Coming to the rescue, the government sent coffee experts abroad to look for varieties resistant to coffee rust and suited to the Philippine condition. In 1922, the Department of Agriculture introduced three varieties from South America, the right substitute for Arabica coffee.
These were the Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica, each with its own particular characteristics. Liberica coffee produces big beans, resistant to drought. The pulp is very thick and it takes 40 days to dry. It is a prolific bearer. Excelsa is also resistant to drought and takes 25 days to dry. With a pulp that does not separate from the beans when milled, Robusta, is most preferred by coffee growers. It dries in 15 days and since the pulp easily separates from the beans, it takes least effort to clean.
Year after year, the people of Amadeo continued planting this variety and after 10 years, 900 hectares were planted to coffee, and Amadeo began selling coffee at commercial scale. But when the Pacific War broke out, coffee cannot be brought to Manila due to the lack of transportation. Many coffee growers cut their coffee trees and plant rice. But in 1946 with the war over, coffee was again in demand, but at such high price that the business world referred to it as brown gold. Foresighted Amadeo growers saw the potential and began to revive their coffee industry. By 1960, some 2,212 hectares were devoted to coffee, making Amadeo a major coffee producer supplying coffee factories in Manila. Soon Amadeo coffee merchants extended their routes from Manila to Batangas, Baguio, and other places.
Today farmers sell their coffee as fresh berries, parchment coffee, dried or green to coffee traders, exporters and the end users/processors. Milling is mostly by small-scale wholesalers-millers using rice or corn mills. Lately, more efficient and modern milling facilities have been installed in the town. Coffee areas are now accessible to end-users through good roads. Domestic and international market demands for high quality coffee has resulted in better storage warehouses. However, the town still needs more modern processing facilities.
Amadeo hopes to penetrate the world market as the clamor for good coffee growers. Even the young, the world over, are now a coffee drinking generation.
From the website of the National Statitical Coordination Board (NSCB).