Coffee Harvest - Meet the Coffee Experts
Learn the secrets of coffee from the experts
From October to February, the coffee plantations of the Bolaven Plateau grow heavy with ripe fruit and a race against time begins in order to pick the beans at just the right moment for the perfect cup.
The Bolaven Plateau, with its rich volcanic soil, reliable rainfall, high altitude and temperate climate has provided the perfect environment for growing coffee for over a century. Coffee lovers describe Lao coffee in terms reminiscent of wine-taster’s parlance, and beans from this region are slowly but surely taking their place on the world stage.
When to visit?
Even though the coffee harvest takes place each year from October to February, visitors are welcome at any time.
Several local operators and guides offer a range of tours, including visits to coffee cooperatives and farms, coffee picking, and coffee processing and roasting workshops. Keep reading to meet some of Southern Laos’ coffee experts.
JHAI COFFEE HOUSE
Meet Thao and Mr. Eh of Jhai Coffee House
Jhai Coffee House is the world’s first completely philanthropic coffee roaster and cafe, located directly at the source! Jhai represents the Jhai Coffee Farmers Cooperative (JCFC).
The owners of the coffee house, Thao and Mr. Eh have were born on the Bolaven Plateau and have trained with American coffee professionals. This has greatly improved their English fluency and allowed them to become experts in their respective fields.
Thao heads up all roasting, brewing and wholesale while Mr. Eh is responsible for JCFC training initiatives such as farming, fair trade payment systems, processing and preparing their specialty organic arabica typica coffee for export. Their efforts resulted in their coffee qualifying in the top 1% of coffee quality in the world!
Stop by at Jhai and see them roasting and have a wonderful cup of fruity and floral coffee or dark and chocolatey coffee.
KOFFIE’S COFFEE TOUR AND WORKSHOP
Meet Mr. Koffie
Earning the nick-name ’Koffie’ from his family in Holland at the age of two because he used to drink the dregs from any coffee cup he could get his hands on, today Mr. Koffie sources the best available beans from selected areas of the Bolaven and roasts his own blend.
He shows visitors around various organic coffee farms and imparts a wealth of information at his coffee workshop on growing, harvesting, producing ... and drinking ... Lao coffee. Visitors learn how to roast and brew the coffee fresh from the field into a cup of flavourful, aromatic java.
Koffie’s Coffee Tour and Workshop, Road 16 Ban Paksong, Bolaven Plateau/ Champassak province / Km 50/ www.paksong.info/laos_coffee_workshop.php / koffie paksong.info /Tel. (+856) (0)20 22760439)
MYSTIC MOUNTAIN COFFEE
Meet Mr. Khamsone or “Kham”
Kham of Mystic Mountain Coffee is a passionate provider of coffee-related tours in an area of the Bolaven Plateau where he knows every isolated farm track and, almost, every tree and rock. With over 23 years experience in the coffee industry, Kham’s personal stories and tips for assessing, tasting and smelling beans will fascinate any visitor.
Tours vary from a half-day to several days, depending on the customer’s requirements. The jeep-based trips include experiences away from the usual tourist spots, through remote villages, coffee plantations and vegetable plots.
SINOUK COFFEE RESORT
Meet Mr. Sinouk
‘Coffee is undeniably one of Laos’ national flagship products,’ Mr Sinouk, says. ‘To me, the coffee business is about the product, the region and local communities. I always enjoy discussing and tasting coffee with visitors coming into our resort or our coffee shops.’
Mr. Sinouk is the owner and founder of Sinouk Coffee, one of the leading coffee brands in Laos. After 15 years working in coffee production and trading in the Bolaven area, he and his team opened the Sinouk Coffee Resort, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the coffee production process in beautiful landscaped surroundings, either as day trippers, or as overnight guests at the resort, which is situated in the Sinouk plantation itself.
LakKhao Village, Paksong-Thateng Road, Bolaven Plateau - Champasak Province www.sinoukcoffeeresort.com/ sinoukcoffeeresort gmail.com /
Tel. (+856) (0)30 955 8960 / Mobile (+856) (0)20 2229 5899
THE BOLAVEN PLATEAU COFFEE PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE (CPC)
Meet Mr. Yen
Mr. Yen is one of the active coffee farmers who make up The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative (CPC), formed in 2007. Now representing nearly 1,600 small farm coffee producers from 53 villages, the cooperative specialises in certified organic coffee. Members are proud to show visitors round their farms, demonstrating the various techniques used at different stages of coffee production.
CPC organises day tours, starting from their office in Paksé. The cooperative also has four hectares of gardens for visitors to enjoy, before a coffee tasting session in the CPC laboratory.
VIENG’S FRESH COFFEE
Meet Mr. Vieng and his wife
When commenting on the likelihood that there is coffee rather than blood running through his veins, Mr Vieng breaks into a wide grin and agrees that the prospect is likely.
Always testing new approaches, Mr Vieng used to sell his beans to a factory, but now he processes the beans himself for direct sale.
He and his wife Noy welcome vistors from around the world at their farm and homestay, offering the chance to learn about coffee production during a guided tour and enjoy Noy’s delicious meals made with local produce.
The area also hosts a festival every October to celebrate the coffee harvest.
Ban (village) HouyHoun Thai, Road 20, Salavanh Province, 60km north from Pakse / 25km south from Tadlo. / Mobile (+856) (0)20 9983 7206 / Tel. (+856) (0)30 964 4427 (speaks English)