COFFEE makes the world go round (if you ask a caffeine fiend) — even if it is virtual. Coffee Expo Manila is taking the drink online, serving as the country’s first virtual coffee expo, in light of physical restrictions due to the pandemic.

According to Victoria Martinez-Esquivias, Lead Organizer for the event, the expo was slated to run in the summer as a physical event, but constraints from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic required moving the event online. The expo will now run from Sept. 3-5 via www.coffeeexpomanila.com. Registration is free at https://coffeeexpomanila.com/visitor-registration-form/. The event was organized by the Junior Chamber International-Alabang (JCI-Alabang) in collaboration with Philippine Young Entrepreneurs Association (PYEA) and Collabox.

The three-day event presents 20 speakers from the coffee industry, and other related fields. These include Steve Benitez, Founder & CEO of Bo’s Coffee; Pacita “Chit” Juan, President of the Philippine Coffee Board; Joji Pantoja, CEO of Coffee for Peace; and Michael Harris Conlin, 2019 National Champion Barista. There will be talks by Philippine Franchise guru Butz Bartolome, and educational talks on topics ranging from coffee roasting to founding a social enterprise.

Ms. Martinez-Esquivias, during an online press conference on Aug. 28, said about the exhibitors: “They have to be coffee-based, or at least related to the industry.” She noted that there are participants who come from the fields of energy, logistics, and construction. Over 30 local and international distributors will also be joining, including representatives from Colombia and Nepal.

Updates about the event are posted on facebook.com/coffeeexpomanila and on Instagram @coffeeexpomanila. — J.L. Garcia