The first ASEAN Coffee Institute Barista Certification held by the Philippine Coffee Board

Leann Carla AdanNews & Events

The Philippine Coffee Board held its first-ever ASEAN Coffee Institute (ACI) Barista Certification on the 15th and 16th of December. 

Attended by twelve participants from all over the Philippines, the recently concluded inaugural ACI Barista Level 1 training held at the UCC Coffee Academy in Bonifacio Global City has been a great success as it gave rigorous training and deep fundamentals on everything that one needs to know as a barista.

In particular, the certification includes topics on ASEAN coffee, sustainability, seed-to-cup, coffee flavours, operation of an espresso machine, basics of milk frothing, among others.

In photo: Pioneer batch of ACI Barista Level 1 of the Philippine Coffee Board with Mr. Robert Francisco, ACI Country Head Trainer.
December 15, 2022. Photo by Leann Carla Adan

Robert Francisco, Technical Director of the Philippine Coffee Board, and ACI Country Head Trainer spearheaded the training, with the assistance of Coffee Master Ejay De Paz and Barista Trainer Khairi Nasaluddin of UCC Coffee. 

Robert has been in the coffee industry since 1993. He has almost three decades of experience and knowledge, ranging from coffee shop operations to running a roastery. Robert also holds a certification as a Q Arabica Grader, Q Processing Level 2 – Professional, Q Assistant Instructor under the Coffee Quality Institute and now as the Country Head Trainer of ACI. 

In photo: Robert Francisco discussing the components of an espresso.
December 15, 2022. Photo by Leann Carla Adan

Following the standards set by ACI, the class starts with fundamental theories, followed by thorough hands-on barista training, making it a perfect course for beginners. The students are given the opportunity to operate espresso machines and learn how to steam and pour milk. To assess the effectiveness of the class, students also had to take a written exam administered by Robert.

Further, Commune Cafe, a specialty café in Poblacion, Makati City, will be hosting the students for their 20-hour O.J.T. (On-The-Job Training) as a requirement to complete their course, which must be in-line with what Robert taught.

In photo: Final written assessment of the ACI Barista Level 1 as administered by ACI Instructor Robert Francisco
December 16, 2022. Photo by Leann Carla Adan

The rising need for baristas and coffee education in the Philippines

The steady increase in the consumption of coffee in the Philippines has been evident in the past year. As such, the demand for cafes and consequently, baristas, are at its peak. 

Further, more coffee shops are seen to emerge as Filipinos have incorporated into its culture the “over a cup of coffee” social interaction almost on a day-to-day basis.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, home brewing became a trend which led consumers to e-commerce stores to purchase their coffee beans and brewing equipment. Since then, the interest in brewing has boomed among consumers in the Philippines. 

“There is definitely a surge, especially after the pandemic. Many want to be baristas, so there is also a surge of classes.” Robert said. 

In fact, many courses appeared online as cafes found it important to share what they know about brewing methods, roasting, cafe operations, barista skills, among others. 

In photo: Practical demonstration and hands-on barista training
December 16, 2022. Photo by Leann Carla Adan

Robert adds, “we tried our best to make the training affordable, as it is well-recognized in the ASEAN region. In the course, we discuss coffee background, culture, sustainability and barista skills. Students have to be able to understand and comprehend the situation of the coffee industry in ASEAN – again the main objective is to make ASEAN coffee recognized.” 

In partnership with ASEAN Coffee Institute which aims to provide affordable and quality education to all, this pilot course is making an astonishing impact on the coffee education landscape in the Philippines.

Attracting participants from various backgrounds, Mia, a part-timer at Commune shares, “I actually took this course because I wanted to start my own cafe. As a former OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), I wanted to focus on doing jobs and also focus on how I could introduce Philippine coffee to the world. I would recommend this course to my friends because I have really learned a lot.”

Nicole, 22, a pilot, with a family who deeply loves coffee, travelled all the way from Davao to attend the training. “I joined this training because my family wanted to open a coffee shop in Davao. I would recommend this to my friends because I have learned a lot, especially on the practical side of things. Not only [did I gain] knowledge, but also friends.”

With an overwhelming response and success of the first class, the Philippine Coffee Board has already scheduled the next class on February 9-10, 2023 to be held at UCC Coffee Academy and OJT at Commune Cafe.

To learn more, visit Philippine Coffee Board Inc.

In photo: Pioneer batch of ACI Barista Level 1 with Mr. Robert Francisco, Coffee Master Ejay De Paz, and Barista Trainer Khairi Nasaluddin.
December 15, 2022. Photo by Leann Carla Adan