Farm: Merlaeku Family
Region: Chiang Rai, Doi Pangkhon
Variety: Chiang Mai 80, Yellow Catuai, Catimor, Typica, Bourbon
Dark Chocolate, spice, and black cherry. Full bodied and balanced with soft fruit tones.
Doi Pangkhon is perhaps Thailand’s most promising coffee growing region: good altitude, mild climate, healthy soil, and cherry blossoms serving as shade trees. The conditions are ideal for growing world class coffee, and the cupping table confirms it.
Up until the early 21st century, Doi Pangkhon was better known for supplying opium because it is situated in the Golden Triangle, an extensive network where most of the world’s opium poppy was produced. Transitioning the region from opium to coffee has been several decades in the making - a modern story in itself of sustainability, uprising, and revival.
In 2013, Miguel was hired as a consultant by a local export company in Northern Thailand to assess the quality potential of the region’s coffees. During the trip he stumbled onto Doi Pangkhon and after cupping a few samples it was clear this region was already producing some impressive coffees. While wandering the fields Miguel noted several excellent cultivars: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra and Catimor.
The growers, mostly in their 20's and 30's inherited the farms from their grandparents - former opium producers - and now run the estates with assistance from their families. The coffees are washed using natural spring water via a modified Kenya-style process, then dried on bamboo beds.
This is a GREAT example of what you can expect from this growing region: dried fruit, leather and spice; full bodied and complex. AND for the first time in 25 years of coffee cultivation, The growers of Doi Pangkhon are seeing their coffees on the international market!