PRODUCER: Mandalay Coffee Group
FARMER: smallholders from 16 villages in Ywangan
REGION: Ywangan, Shan State, Myanmar
VARIETAL: red catuai
ALTITUDE: 1280 MASL
Tasting Notes: notes of honeysuckle, lemongrass, sweet melon and red grape with a creamy cashew and caramel body
About The Coffee
Myanmar, also called Burma, is located in the western portion of main land Southeast Asia. In 1989 the country’s official English name, which it had held since 1885, was changed from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar; in the Burmese language the country has been known as Myanma (more precisely, Mranma Prañ) since the 13th century.
Myanmar is bordered to its north and northeast by China, to its east by Laos and Thailand, and its west by Bangladesh and India. Myanmar possesses the largest expanse of tropical forest in main land Southeast Asia with substantial biodiversity, harbouring rare species such as the red panda and the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey. Climate and terroir are perfect for coffee cultivation in various parts of the country, particularly in the Shan hills which stretch into the coffee growing regions of Yunnan and Thailand.
Myanmar has been growing coffee since the late 1800s, introduced by British colonists. Following Myanmar’s independence in 1948, a concerted drive to produce coffee occurred much later during the political reforms of 2011, when agricultural growth was encouraged as part of the government's opium eradication programme. The subsequent opening up of its economy led to the increased focus on coffee as a commercial crop. Specialty coffee production commenced from 2015, supported by development initiatives from Winrock Foundation, USAID and CQI, with the first specialty coffees exported to the USA in 2016 (Atlas) and to the UK in 2017,
Our Ywangan coffee comes from Mandalay Coffee Group (MCG) and consists of combined daily lots grown by predominantly Danu and some Pa-O hill-tribe smallholder farmers in the remote mountainous area of Ywangan, Southern Shan state, Myanmar.
MCG was formed in 2014 and is owned entirely by citizens of Myanmar. It works with these smallholders, providing support as well as processing the coffee and bringing it to market.
For this season, MCG worked with over 50 smallholder farmers, each of whom cultivates approximately 0.25-3 acres of land, with coffee plants intercropped with a variety of produce such as avocados, jackfruit, papaya, macadamia and djenkol beans. The different types of trees act as a buffer to the spread of leaf rust and provide much needed shade, for both the coffee and the families who welcome the shade around their homes. Most of the farmers do not use fertiliser, but there is a big difference in quality and yield from the wealthier farmers that can use manure from their cattle.
Within 48 hours of picking, the hand sorted cherry is transported to MCG’s processing mill in Pyin Oo Lwin. At the processing facility, workers hand sort the best cherry, removing under- and over-ripe fruits. Cherries are spread on drying raised beds for anywhere between 11-32 days depending on weather variations, are dry milled on site and then go through further hand sorting.