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Mae Suai, Chiang Rai - Northern Thailand

Mae Suai, Chiang Rai - Northern Thailand

The Kingdom of Thailand

So, YES! Thailand does grow coffee, both Arabica & Robusta. All arabica coffee is found in the Dois (Mountains) of Central and North Western Thailand. These lands have been cultivated for generations by the many Hill Tribe communities, the largest of these groups being the Akha, Lahu, Hmong, & Karen communities, to just name a few. There are over 1 million indigenous Hill Tribe members spread out across these areas. Their main source of income is generated by farming bananas, cabbages, corn, rice and of course COFFEE! Up until the 1960’s, this list would have also included Opium. However, as a result of his majesty, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Royal Project in the late 1960’s, Opium production was pretty much eradicated throughout Thailand with the introduction of Coffee production and other agricultural crops.

As a result of the demographics, most coffee is produced by small-holder communities. Some communities might process their own coffee, but it can be a challenge to get the necessary equipment up to these villages, especially during the rainy season. Other villages will sell cherry to a local mill for further processing. Coffee quality and consistency improve when this model is followed.