State: Shan State
Farmers: Smallholders from A Lel Chaung village (part of Shwe Taung Thu farmers group)
Elevation: 1282 masl
Variety: Red Catuai
Screen size: 15+
Shwe Taung Thu Farmers Group
We’re really proud to be in our second year of working directly with the farmers group Shwe Taung Thu, which translates to ‘Golden Farmer’. The group is made up of Danu and Pa-O smallholder farmers who are producing specialty coffee in the Ywangan area of Southern Shan State, in the east part of Myanmar. The group provides leadership, finance, technical assistance and market linkages for its members with the objective of bringing fairer trade conditions for its coffees.
Coffees produced by Shwe Taung Thu are named after the villages where the coffee is grown and processed. Each community has its own working group which is responsible for managing the processing of the coffee within each village. The focus is exclusively on producing dry naturals – the climate and terroir is particularly suited to this process, with very dry heat during the harvest season providing excellent conditions for drying.
A Lel Chaung is named after the village in which this coffee is grown which comprises of 180 households. The production of this coffee is managed by a core group of around 25 members and this is the fourth year they have produced specialty coffee. A Lel Chaung is an exceptionally clean and bright natural processed coffee, which really reflects the meticulous attention to detail – three groups of seven villagers work on rotation to hand sort the cherry.
This community has used a significant portion of their profits from coffee to improve their community services, such as the village healthcare system and education. They aim to allocate around 10% of profits for community improvement.
Ripe cherries are picked and delivered to a central collection point in the village. This is then hand sorted by villagers, retaining the best cherry and removing under and over ripe fruits. The cherries are then spread out to dry on raised beds for around 17 days. Dry milling takes place through a local exporter.