The Bolavens Plateau in South Laos is the most favourable region for coffee cultivation in the country. The region boasts high elevations, rich volcanic soils, and a moderate climate with plentiful sunshine, rainfall and a low risk of frost. The gentle slopes of the plateau negate many of the farming challenges posed by more mountainous and varied terrain.
The economy in Laos is overwhelmingly dominated by agriculture, accounting for around 25% of GBP and 73% of the labour force. With 22% of the population also living below the poverty line, there is a continuing need for sustainable agricultural supply chains to which the specialty coffee industry can positively contribute.
Over the last 10 years, quality coffee on the Bolaven Plateau has come to mean more than a change for Laos coffee from Robusta to Arabica. With each passing season, more and more farmers learn about the agronomic and milling practices that produce superior quality worthy of the specialty market.
Laos Naga coffee comes from a variety of farms and a variety of people, but they have in common a pursuit of quality as defined by the specialty coffee industry.
Laos Coffee and the Lord Of Naga
The story of Laos coffee starts in the southwest corner of Laos, where the Mekong river approaches the border with Cambodia as if approaching an ocean, fanning out into so many delta-like fingers that the region is called Si Phan Don, Four Thousand Islands. A hundred miles north, after hugging the border with Thailand for 500 miles, the Mekong—whose name derives from Mae Nam Khong, Mother of All Rivers—breaks with the boundary between the two countries to meet up with the smaller Xe Don river at the city of Paske, capital of the Champasak province. This stretch of the Mekong marks the western edge and southwestern corner of Champasak, the Bolaven Plateau, and the coffee lands of Laos.
Although the mythical creature, the “Naga,” appears in many cultures and traditions, it is particularly prevalent in Laos and Thailand, where it is known as the “Phaya Naga,” Lord of the Naga, and is believed to live in the Mekong river. Unlike the Naga that appear in some other traditions, the Phaya Naga is not partially human, and is characterized by a giant horn on its head. Like “Nessy” in Scotland’s Loch Ness, the Naga is regularly sighted in the Mekong. In fact, in addition to a giant catfish, there is a species of eel in the Mekong that grows to 5 feet in length, sans the horn. Tradition holds that fireballs seen shooting over the world’s 12th longest river at the end of Buddhist Lent, known as Mekong Lights or Naga Fireballs, come from the mouths of Naga.
Region: Bolaven Plateau, Laos
Processing: Fully Washed
Altitude: 1,200 - 1,350 M.A.S.L
This coffee is roasted for filter; and is recommended for brewing using the V60, Kalita, Mugen or other drip / immersion coffee makers.