Coffee Growing in Chiang Rai
Coffee Plantations – 1. Doi Tung
Touring Coffee plantations was an something I had wanted to do since moving to Chiang Mai in 2018. I first experienced Coffee growing in the mountains of Doi Tung and this was certainly large scale. The Coffee was available to taste in the Doi Tung Cafe at Mae Fa Luang Garden, Chiang Rai Province. Subsequently, I’ve seen Doi Tung products in supermarkets and their shops in Chiang Mai and further afield.
Coffee Plantations – 2. Abonzo Coffee
I subsequently discovered that Coffee growing became an agricultural alternative to Opium for hill tribes in Doi Chang. Though such ventures took years to profit, the founder of Abonzo, Pattrachai Mongkolkoolpongsai says his family never gave up. He encouraged villagers of his Akha community to keep growing Coffee resulting in Abonzo’s success. The project educates Coffee farmers to achieve improved quality and quantity of their Coffee. Additionally, Pattrachai aims to develop Abonzo further whilst supporting Akha children’s education through scholarships.
To reach the plantation, we had to navigate steep roads through Mae Suai district. My first reaction was to take in the remarkable mountain views and then notice the Coffee growing. We sampled Iced Coffees in the adjacent Cafe and you could choose your bean (we chose Green and Peaberry varieties). Subsequently, we browsed products they were selling including drip coffee, coffee beans and ground coffee. We witnessed their coffee roaster, bags of coffee cherries and in another building people sorting coffee. I felt the experience was humbling, putting into perspective the achievements of the communities.
Coffee Plantations – 3. Doi Chang
The Mae Suai district encompasses Doi Wa Wi and Doi Chang, and we observed considerable Coffee en route. On this occasion, we decided against visiting Doi Wa Wi as the road became narrower and densely mountainous. The Doi Chaang Coffee brand originates from the Doi Chang mountains and the Wawee Coffee brand from Doi Wa Wi. Furthermore, they are now nationwide offering Arabica Coffee as their signature product. I recommend visiting all the regions as they offer authentic opportunities to see Coffee cultivation in beautiful surroundings.