For 22-year old Vladimir Eola, the work to be his own boss and own a coffee shop began two years ago, when he was fresh out of Senior High School (SHS), and with hardly a break between that and his first job at a coffee shop in his hometown in Batangas.
When he first heard of Lipa Coffee Academy, Eola said he went out of curiosity, as well as interest. He had been previously interested in coffee as his family used to have a small coffee farm.
Dreaming of putting up and managing his own coffee shop, Eola has worked as a barista, coffee technician, and roaster in Cafe de Lipa. He can also perform cupping sessions, also known as coffee tasting—where a connoisseur samples different coffee for their taste, aroma, and potential blends. As coffee technician, he is an able farm manager and soil analyst, testing the soil for its content and nutrients and determining whether it is fit for coffee farming.
All these, Eola learned as part of his training at the Lipa Coffee Academy, one of the schools that piloted SHS Program under the new K to 12 curriculum of the Pinagtong-ulan National High School. The program is offered for students in Grades 11 and 12 who pursue the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) track.
Eola was not disappointed having enrolled in the SHS Program. He added that even though he started out with some skepticism, he eventually appreciated the training he was getting from the academy.
“Nakita ko naman po, na ‘yung tinuturo nila—‘yung mga proseso, pati pagtatanim at harvesting—sapul sa aktwal na ginagawa. Tama po, “ he said.
Merely two years after graduating from high school, Eola is not only able to help provide for his siblings. He is also closer to his dream of putting up his own business. “Ngayon po, nakakasuporta na ako sa mga kapatid ko. Nagkaroon (rin) po ako ng maraming kaalaman about coffee na pwede kong gawing basehan… kung papalarin man pong magkaroon ng isang coffee shop.”
Lipa, Batangas is known for its rich and strong coffee beans. The first coffee tree was supposed to have been brought to and planted in Lipa in 1740, and a family native to Brgy. Pinagtong-ulan were the first to cultivate the first barako tree, from whose beans the famous kapeng barako is brewed from. The town of Lipa also used to be among the world’s top producers of coffee in the late 19th century.
The Lipa Coffee Academy is a joint project of the Department of Education (DepEd), in consonance with its K to 12 program, and the Department of Agriculture, as part of its efforts to revitalize the coffee industry in the country.
source: Deped Website