Coffee insights from bean master Jay Isais
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -Jay Isais, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s director of coffee, roasting, and manufacturing, is in charge of selecting the best green coffee beans available from the world’s finest growing regions. As brand’s resident cupping expert, Jay is tasked with combing the world’s finest coffee-growing regions — from Latin America and East Africa to South Asia and the Pacific — sampling and selecting the regions’ best harvests, then overseeing its blending and roasting processes.

“Cupping is the industry method of tasting a sample of coffee, then scrutinizing it for the coffee’s acidity, aroma, body, and flavor,” shared Jay. “My job has me tasting approximately 10,000 samples of coffee per year.”

Having been involved in the coffee business for more than 30 years, Jay not only sees to it that the quality is maintained in every The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cup, he also makes it a point to understand and really be able to take apart the processes behind it, knowing where in the world he can find a particular bean with the most unique flavor, when to harvest it, and ultimately utilize every small detail to best bring people an extraordinary experience right from the first sip.

“For coffee buyers around the world, what we first look into is the character of the coffee,” he says. “In the coffee world, there are so many gimmicks but what really matters is the substance and character of the coffee.”

From light and subtle to dark and distinctive, the amount of hard work put into crafting each The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf specialty-grade coffee is meticulously considered all throughout, as part of the brand’s commitment to deliver a kind of passion you can taste — a satisfying roast to please every palate.

When asked about where the brand buys its coffees (in Asia), Jay said that their sources are “from the Central and South. Indonesia is our only source in Southeast Asia. In the whole of Asia, we have sources in India and Nepal.” Cavite, a known coffee capital here in our country, famous for the bold flavors of the beans it produces, actually has a coffee program supported by the German government. And upon discussing things further, Jay explained that the rich taste of Philippine coffee will surely become a hit once it establishes its own distinct character and flavor.

Regarding the possibility of a limited-edition, Philippine-based product, here’s what Jay had to say: “We do it (limited-edition products) all the time and we’re looking for it constantly. We have a dual purpose: we support the coffee farmers and the coffee-farming ingredients, and we also support areas and markets where we have franchise stores. But if we can do both simultaneously, it’ll be better because we’re not just promoting our Philippine stores and partners but we are also supporting the Philippine coffee industry as well.”

Isais is positive that coffee will become an even bigger hit this year, what with his announcement of 20 more stores to open in the US. And with the brand celebrating its 10th year in the country and 50th around the globe, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is set to delight more and more people with its world-famous heritage of fostering coffee-drinking experiences enriched with premium freshness, gourmet quality, and authentic flavor.

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