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Mae Chedi, Thailand

RM66.00 MYR

Tasting Notes: Honeydew, Red Dates and Apricot

Region

Chiang Rai

Producer

Watchara Yawirach

Processing

Anaerobic White Honey

Altitude

1200 MASL

Variety

Chiang Mai

As a specialty coffee roaster born in Asia, it's a continuous aspiration to serve our coffee-producing neighbours more deserving recognition and the opportunity to reunite with familiar drinkers. This coffee is one of two Thai offerings in our lineup, and it's the fruit of labour from the green coffee trading company Beanspire Coffee.

Our roasters met the Beanspire team through mutual - coffee industry - friends from The Roots in Bangkok, who are proud purveyors of sustaining local agriculture and supply. So we had a few chats over coffee, and next thing you know, we took our first trip to northern Thailand in 2019 to meet the Beanspire team and see their work on the ground.

With the vision to connect Thai coffee to the international specialty coffee market, our partners at Beanspire Coffee aim to build relationships with farmers, introduce modern practices, and exhibit the potential of Thai producers in the competitive world of quality coffee. Beanspire works with growers at the farm level, sharing expertise and providing avenues for small estates that may not have access to the export market. The team believes in upholding the identity of Thai producers while shifting consumer perceptions of the nation's coffee through traceable, transparent, and sustainable supply.

The producer of this coffee is Watchara Yawirach, a 34-year-old farmer and leader of a 19-member cooperative in the Mae Chedi district, Chiang Rai. Mae Chedi is an established tea region with coffee being a minor - but still financially contributing - crop to grow. In the '70s, opium production was prevalent in Thailand and coffee was introduced in 1977 to be a promising transformation towards good farming and sustainable livelihoods. Watchara Yawirach is one of many young generation farmers that picked up on the modern demands for specialty coffee, and this will be the first year they see their coffee exported. The cooperative takes from tea fermentation practices and apply them in coffee processing, alongside many other experimental methods to push the boundaries for their coffee.

The coffee variety Chiang Mai (sharing the name as the Thai city) is a hybrid unique to the region. It is a variant of Catimor made from the crossover of SL28, Caturra, and the Timor hybrid. It's a highly resistant variety developed by the late Thai King to eradicate opium plantations and introduce sturdy, high-yielding coffee crops to take the place of the farming land.

The coffee is anaerobically fermented in non-porous, sealed bags for 9 days before being pulped, washed, and dried on raised beds. This near-zero oxygen environment introduces lactic acid development to the coffee's fermentation. This result from anaerobic fermentation is best known for giving more body, sweetness, complexity, and even a wine-like quality to the coffee. Although anaerobic fermentation is a contemporary buzzword in the specialty coffee world, the method here is an old tea processing tradition passed down generations in the region.