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Good Laos coffee that you can not miss

Have you heard of a country in Southeast Asia named Laos? Did you know that Laos has been producing coffee for decades? 

If you’re a coffee professional, you probably knew that already, however, for those of you who didn’t, I’d like to share some of the history of this country’s culture, some issues the country has faced, the history of its coffee production, and finally I would like to introduce some interesting Laos Natural coffees.

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Background

Laos is unique among many Southeast Asian countries in that it was largely influenced by Indian culture rather than Chinese. 

In the 1st century, Indian merchants established trade routes to Laos, and before long Buddhism was introduced. To this day, Buddhism remains the dominant religion in Laos. 

From the 14th to 18th centuries, Laos experienced a few periods of prosperity and weathered threats from different countries. Eventually, the country split into 3 regions: Luang Prang in the north, Vientiane in the middle, and Champasak in the South. 

This weakened the region and it was ultimately conquered by Siam (present-day Thailand). Attempts to overthrow the Siamese all failed. 

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(Credit: Vincent Rouffaer )

In the early 1900s, the French expanded their empire and drove the Siam government out of Laos, which was controlled by the French for a short time. 

Around World War II, battles fought between the Thai, Japanese, and French led to Laos becoming independent for a short time. 

Before long, Laos was involved in the Indo-China War, which resulted in communism’s rise to power. Laos was afflicted with poverty and poor economic growth, until finally introducing economic policy reforms. 

This brings us to present-day Laos, which continues to struggle to rise above the poverty line. 

Introduction of Coffee to Laos

Coffee was first introduced to Laos sometime during French occupation from the late 1890’s until the 1950’s. 

Originally, coffee was planted in the northern province, but it was discovered that this region wasn’t very suitable for the methods of planting used at that time.

In 1949, coffee crops also experienced a huge frost that, along with other factors, resulted in coffee production moving to the southern areas of Laos near the Bolaven Plateau of the Champasak. 

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( Credit: Nicole Motteux )

Noticing all the problems with frost, disease, and low yield, the Laotian farmers began to swap Arabica out for the more resilient Robusta varieties of coffee. 

While a large majority of the coffee production in Laos is still Robusta today, there are still many farmers that are planting and harvesting some great Arabica coffees.

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(Credit: Vincent Rouffae )

Laos Coffees at Torch  

To this last point, we at Torch have found some really great Arabica coffees from Laos’ recent coffee harvests. 

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Among all the coffees we tried, we have chosen two different Natural-processed and one Honey-processed coffee.  

These coffee  has an elevation of around 1200-1400m.  These coffees are all different iterations of the Yunnan Catimor, which is renowned for its resiliency and resistance to disease.

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The Laos Natural #1 exhibits exotic flavors, such as Mango, Passionfruit, and Black Cherry. 

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The Laos Natural #2 is very different but equally wild, with notes of Cookies, Vanilla, and Dried Apple. 

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Finally, our Laos Honey-processed is quite different from the other two Naturals. This bean has more subtle tea-like notes, including Apple, Orange Peel, and Green Tea.

We are are serving these coffees in the Pu’er café, so we hope to see you soon!  If you can’t make it to Pu’er, but would still like to try these exotic coffees, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly, or drop by our online store on WeChat or Taobao!

Click the red buttom to buy online:

  

What do you know about this country's Coffee ?

Author: Mason | Editor: Kelvin & Jack


Once Asia’s richest nation, Myanmar (also known as Burma) has been plagued by civil wars, illicit drug trade, and massive human rights’ violations.  In recent years, organizations such as Winrock have begun working with local farmers to develop agricultural practices, which has led to the growth of specialty coffee in Myanmar.

Coffee was first introduced to Myanmar by missionaries in the early 1800’s, but many farmers opted to grow the opium poppy instead, which has been used to produce a variety of highly-addictive drugs, such as opium and heroin. 

However, the newly-elected government has incentivized farmers to produce coffee instead, and so the nation’s coffee industry is currently experiencing a rebirth.  As a result, multiple Arabica varietals are being grown all over Myanmar, including Caturra, Catuai, Catimor, and Bourbon.  

This is quite unique as most coffee-growing countries in Asia focus on growing the Catimor varietal due to its resistance to leaf rust.  The result is an exotic range of coffee flavors.

As the quality of Myanmar’s Arabica varietals continues to improve each year, worldwide demand for beans from this mysterious and exotic new origin is rising as well.  

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Previously inexpensive beans have doubled in price for certain varietals, reaching around US$3,000-7,000 per ton. Last November, Myanmar coffee was awarded second place in a competition held by the Asia Coffee Association, placing behind coffee powerhouse Indonesia and ahead of China.  

Despite the growing demand for Myanmar coffee and a great deal of arable coffee farmland, production output is still limited by a lack of proper farming techniques and modern coffee farming technology. 

Winrock and other non-profit organizations such as the Sustainable Coffee Association (SCA) and the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) have been working diligently to combat all these issues and improve output quality and volume. 

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In addition to these organizations, the Mandalay Coffee Group (MCG) was founded in 2014 in partnership with SCA.  

MCG works closely with smallholder and estate farmers across Myanmar, purchasing ripe cherries and processes in-house using a variety of methods, producing high-quality green beans for domestic use and specialty coffee buyers overseas.  These developments all point to continued growth of Myanmar’s specialty coffee industry in the years to come.

Speaking of organizations that seek to help farmers, you may have heard of the “Mountain Men Project” that Torch started this past harvest season. These Mountain Men were brought together with the specific goal of helping farmers improve their output.  Torch recently purchased 40 tons of a new Myanmar crop in order to support their growing specialty coffee industry and we also hope to work alongside these farmers in the future.

This new Single Origin has a range of notes consisting of Toasted Marshmallow, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Hazelnuts, hints of Kenyan-like tomato and acidity, along with other smells and flavors.

2018 is a great year to get out and try new and exotic coffees, so be on the look out for Torch Coffee’s new Myanmar Single Origin! 

*If you have any questions about current and future coffees Torch will have, you can contact us or go to our Wechat store and Taobao to purchase the great Myanmar coffee we suggest.

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