Bote Central

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Case Study on
Bote Central

This case was prepared by Vergel V. Dyoco, under the direction of Dr. Antonio Concepcion and authorized by Ms. Vie Reyes, proprietor of Bote Central. Much of the information found herein was compiled from published sources and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation.

March 27, 2008, 2:00PM, Bote Central Office, BF Homes, Las Pinas City

Mr. Basil Reyes lights up a cigarette while he glanced at the draft I presented to him in line with the case paper I was preparing for class. His face switched emotions from fascinated as he sees roasting details then passionate as he reads through some of the data on the local coffee scene. Then he laughs loudly.

He was quick to admit that Vie, his wife, does the marketing side of the business and that he was keener on the technical aspects of it. He commented, however, that my “27-pager” paper was a load to read and that in as much as it was comprehensive, he quips, “You missed the mark by a planet!” As he patiently explained, I soon realized that its not just about the coffee. It is the empowering of the local farmers by adding more value to the goods they produce that simultaneously improves their community and the local economy. It’s a revolution.

However, how the “revolution” will be waged is still a hazy matter. The concept of Alamid coffee as an exotic and scarce coffee variety is well-known among coffee lovers, but how can he profitably make this concept operational to benefit especially the poor coffee farmers and workers? “Clearly”, he said, “we need a good plan for this.”

Starting Up

A small local company is combining commerce with conservation by offering one of the world’s most prized coffees made from the beans found in the droppings of the cat. The product, known as "Coffee Alamid" after the local name of the wild animal, is being sold in a few local shops and is an export product with strong potential although its supply may not be enough for domestic consumption. The blend uses coffee beans processed through the digestive system of the vulnerable Philippine civet, a small, cat-like nocturnal mammal closely related to the mongoose. The beans, which are swallowed and passed out whole by the animal, are gathered from droppings found at the farm. The product sells for P7,500 per kilo or retails in bottles for about P750 per 100 grams, enough for about 12-14 cups.

Coffee from beans found in civet droppings in Vietnam has gained a reputation among connoisseurs as among the best in the world. A similar product is sold in Indonesia. Vie Reyes, owner and sales manager of Bote Central, said the Department of Trade and the International Coffee Board were certifying the company’s bean-droppings as genuine and the Netherlands was interested in bringing the product to Europe. The project started when Reyes, whose group initiated moves in preserving native sugar palm, was surprised to discover farmers in the Philippines have long been making coffee from the beans in local civet droppings. Her company, with the help of non-government organizations, is working on a program that would train certain farmers to gather the beans. This will help in the conservation of the civet which has been made "vulnerable" but not yet endangered by destruction of its habitat and because it is being hunted for its meat.

The Company

The Reyes family is slowly changing the coffee business. From burglar alarms to glass etching to frosted glass bottles, the several business ventures of entrepreneurs Basil and Vie Reyes eventually brought them into the world of Arengga vinegar. Arengga vinegar derives its name from arenga pinnata, the scientific name of the sugar palm, or kaong tree. These palm trees take from 10 to 15 years before they can be tapped for their sweet sap, the primary ingredient of...
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