In the mountainous north of Thailand, bordering Myanmar and Laos is the province of Chang Rai, and to the north and west of that, lies the village of Wa Wi, nestled amongst the Khun Tan Range of mountains, the lower altitudes have a covering of deciduous coffee, whilst the higher elevations encompass evergreen growth.
The Doi Chaang enterprise has made huge gains since it’s original formation in 2002, though coffee in the area goes back to 1969 and the support of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama the 9th, when coffee was introduced as a way to provide a living away from illegal drug cultivation. In 2010, coffee cherries were being pulped at 890kg an hour, using 50 litres of water per hour. By 2014
this had been improved to 10,000kg an hour, and just over 0.5 litres an hour. They have also planted 100,000 trees in the region to repopulate the forest with vegetation, wildlife and to provide natural shading for the coffee to grow under. Doi Chaang itself is now a protected geographical indication under the Thai government system.
Cherries here are picked when ripe and given an initial sorting to remove any unripes that have slipped through. The coffee then goes through a twenty-four hour dry ferment stage, before being submerged in water and undergoing a 24 hour wet ferment stage, similar to coffees in Rwanda, before being further washed, soaked, and rested. The clean bean is then transported to large
concrete patios that are lined with tarpaulin and left to dry under the sun. Once dried, peaberries are removed from the main lots and both coffees are colour sorted and have a further, final hand sorting. Beans are packed in lined jute sacks and rested for six weeks to stabilise before shipping.