This raw, unadulterated flavor is what makes Steven Ballantyne, a television producer and CEO of a film production management in Asia known as EPM Asia Ltd., passionate about coffee.
“I was leading an expedition in Papua New Guinea way back in 2003. The local guides collected green coffee beans from a farmer, roasted it on an open fire in a baked bean tin, crushed the bean with rocks and brewed in the same tin with river water. It was the first time I tasted pure coffee and I was absolutely hooked! It was at that moment I just knew I needed to grow coffee,” Ballantyne said.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Ballantyne explored several countries in search of the ideal spot to start a coffee plantation. Late in 2014, he travelled to the Philippines with his friend, Winifred Articona, an interior designer born and raised in San Pablo, Laguna.
When Articona introduced Ballantyne to local brew known as ‘kapeng barako’ and to the natural beauty of Batangas, the television producer partnered with Articona to start the coffee plantation that he was looking forward to.
By 2016, they had established Hinitan Plantation, a 10-hectare coffee and cocoa plantation, in Lipa, Batangas.
“We are situated on the steep banks of Taal Lake, Lipa, Batangas. When we started, the land was pure jungle. Today, we have a balanced combination of agricultural land alongside the jungle areas which we preserved to support the natural habitats of many species of wildlife living on the farm. This includes troops of Philippine long-tailed Macaque monkeys which are also featured on our company logo,” Ballantyne said.
As for its name, the top of the farm is known as Hinitan Ridge which also means 'hot place.’ The television producer and interior designer were the first people to open up shop in this area, thus adopting the name of the place for their farm as well.
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