At the World of Coffee event this year in Amsterdam, we were introduced to Beanspire through Rob Clarijs, a Rotterdam-based competitive barista, who has been buying Thai coffee and used Thai coffees in a few competitions. Most recently, Rob (check his coffee story here!)
was the runner-up
in the London Coffee Masters 2018. In the final, he used Thai coffee, from Doi Pangkhon (in Huey Chomphu District, Chiang Rai) to achieve the highest ever score
for the signature drink routine in the history of the competition.
Beanspire has been working in Doi Pangkhon area for 5 years now. Doi Pangkhon holds about 300 households, each typically producing about 1-2 tons of parchment. In the past years, Beanspire worked with each house individually on their wet processing and bought their parchment before hulling and grading at their mill. This year they invested in a wet mill, operated by a few of their partner producers who are all part of the same family.
This is their fifth year working at Doi Pangkhon. Where they got their partner producers to switch from fully washed to Kenya-Style washed. This means, it's a double staged fermentation which involves 12 hours of dry fermentation, followed by 12 hours of wet fermentation. We soaked the coffee in clean water for 12 additional hours before drying for 14-25 days on bamboo raised beds. Kenya washed is a process that's widely used in Kenya and is known for producing clean, crisp and consistent coffee.
All of the villagers belong to Akha Hilltribe and they are very young for coffee farmers, 25-35 years old, mostly. The elevation at Doi Pangkhon is from 1250-1500 meter above sea level. Note that we are at 19 degrees north of the equator, which means that this is almost the highest elevation possible as coffee cannot grow in Thailand above 1550masl (For comparison, Costa Rica Terrazu is 9 degrees north so coffee can grow beyond 1600masl)
The varietals here are a mixture of Typica, Catuai, and Chiang Mai (with many unknowns as well). Chiang Mai is a local hybrid that is a cross between SL28 x Caturra x Hibrido de Timor. So it's a catimor variant (like Colombia and Castillo varietals!) that's backcrossed with SL28 in order to improve the cup quality. It's a rust resistant cultivar that's been developed by our late King as part of his effort to eradicate opium plantation by the hill tribe in the North.
In terms of green preparation, the coffee goes through a destoner, huller, size grader, density table and ends with sorting by hand. The green then passes through density table multiple times and shipped coffee in a triple layered bag, which includes a cotton bag in the outer layer, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in the middle layer and Grain Pro in the inner most layer.