This coffee is definitely a bit different: It comes from Myanmar, also known as Burma, a relative newcomer to the world of specialty coffee. All the more surprising that it would hit our palates with such a clean, yet extremely sweet and berry-like profile of outstanding quality. It’s funky in the best possible way and has notes of Raspberry and Nougat as well a refreshing and sweet hint of cherry cola. We can’t help but think of it as a god mood coffee. We hope you feel the same way!
Myanmar or Burma is a Southeast Asian nation bordering on China, Bangladesh and India to the North and Laos and Thailand to the South. It has seen its fair share of ethnic and civil unrest and has been in the media in recent years due to its military’s deadly prosecution of the Muslim minority of the Rohingya people. It is also a nation, rich in natural resources like oil, gas, rubies or teak. Decades of conflict have left many upland farmers with little choice but to yield to drug warlord’s demands to grow opium poppies for them. But as peace efforts are under way, the balance of power is shifting and opening up ways of bringing support to these isolated communities.
In Bant Sawk, a small village of about 200 households in the eastern uplands of Shan state, the cultivation of specialty grade Arabica coffee has meant the transition away from opium production and towards a safer, healthier and better life for the whole region. Our import partners ‘This Side Up’ from The Netherlands have been working with the villagers of Bant Sawk and the surrounding villages of the Hopong area since 2017. Since then, word has spread throughout the region and more and more villages have managed the switch from poppies to coffee. This Side Up are paying the farmers price premiums for premium quality and the money has been invested back into the communities to improve the coffee processing infrastructure.
The community farmers of Bant Sawk produce sun dried natural coffees: the coffee cherries are handpicked and delivered to Hopong community drying stations. Here, they are screened for ripeness and only the fully ripe cherries are placed on raised netted drying beds. Slow drying is a priority and drying times range between 13-17 days depending on weather conditions. All lots are separated by day and all members’ deliveries are fully traceable. No industrial fertilizers or pesticides are used in this area and even though these producers aren’t certified organic, their ways of growing and producing their coffees can be characterized as organic by default.