In January 2018, I’d visited Northern Thailand as there was great Arabica and Robusta coffee being produced by the Golden Triangle. As with most things, I left organising any trips till the last minute, but this time it went in my favour. When I turned up in Chiang Rai, I met a guy who owned a motorbike shop. I explained to him that I didn’t want to go on any bloody waterfall or temple trips that everyone else tries to sell to you, I just wanted a guide to show me around the coffee plantations. Fortunately, he had just the guy, and that was Kitt.
Kitt’s family owns a plantation, and he himself was a bike guide, so it was a total win for me. We hooked up with him and organised a four day trip up to the boarder of Burma. Over the next few days we travelled up the mountain, and even when we couldn’t see any coffee plantations, the scenery was so absolutely mind blowing and beautiful that it really made me stop and think about how lucky we were to be there. When we finally reached Kitt’s family plantation, it was high up in the mountains where the vegetation was perfect for producing Arabica beans, around 1250 feet above sea level. They had a little tree house where the view went on for miles, and Kitt made us the most lovely, gorgeous coffee from the farm whilst I was sat in a hammock – working hard as per usual!
On the second and third day we were able to drive round a really big plantation that belonged to their family friend. Sort of the same but totally different. What was lovely was they had a huge organic vegetable garden with over twenty different salad varieties alone. And for some reason, he gave us a couple of guns to do some shooting… no idea why, as all we did was shoot trees!
Day four was really quite an amazing day because Kitt had friends, a brother and sister, who owned a plantation called Brame Coffee. They ran a children home which had a boys unit and a girls unit, which they had built into the side of a mountain. It was so beautiful. They had been granted money from the government as they had both themselves grown up in a children’s home, and when they reached a certain age they were granted money to get themselves up and running. In the area was a Women’s prison, so the home was set up to accommodate the children of the prisoners and eventually act as a means to reintroduce the children with their parents upon their release.
Now the duo were generating money from their plantation, they were able to start looking at exporting. When I was with them they had just bought a roaster and so where able to start roasting and selling to local businesses. Their whole charitable nature and ethos Is something true to my heart and I came away from there promising them that one day we would do some work together.
Unfortunately at this point, they’re not set up for exporting beans, so I can’t share their coffee with you, but like I said we will in the future collaborate with them, when they’re ready.