Coffee lovers around the world do not usually equate Specialty coffee and Myanmar in the same sentence, but if you would like to keep up with emerging origins and be lucky enough to sample this incredible new coffee, then keep an eye out for the launch of our amazing Ga Naing Yar offering later this year.
We may have smuggled 30kgs of another spectacular Myanmar coffee back with us from our trip in March, but our first official shipment is currently sitting at the Rangoon International Airport, with all certifications and documents completed and waiting to board the plane!! Very excited to share that we have managed to partner directly with 51 farmers of this Ethnic PaO community; Ga Naing Yar co-operative sits at 1470 meters above sea level and is spread over 27.5acres of farm land, which is interspersed with other farming crops, mainly tea and oranges. Raw has contracted for their full production of 2017, a total of 14 sacks of this very special Catuai natural processed coffee, and looking forward to a future commitment as their capacity increases.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma was a British Colony up until the late 1940s. Historically it was by far the wealthiest Asian country; but has had a challenging political history. In 1962, it changed from an Independent state when the Military took over with a coup d’état. As recently as 2011, there was an election and political reform began with the popular election to the position of 1st State Counselor, of the famous Aung Sun Suu Kyi (daughter of the much-loved leader, Aung Sun, who is fondly referred to as the father of the Nation).
Myanmar farmers have been growing commercial grade Arabica coffee for more than 170 years, but with temperatures and rainfall, optimum elevations and fertile rich soils, the region is highly suitable to develop improved agronomy practices, and move from supplying C grade coffees to local Asian markets to reaching out to the growing International Specialty coffee segment. Winrock International (a non-profit International Development) and CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) joined forces in 2014 and this year will see the third season Specialty coffee crop has grown, since the start of the program.
Cleverly in the first year, the program selected only three small farming groups / co-operatives that were already growing micro lots of coffee often in small holdings behind their homes; but as a community these farmers presented as a cohesive and efficient body, with existing structures and very good communication skills. These first three groups were trained to improve their harvesting, processing and grading systems, and the yield, quality and pricing the farmers earnt was immediately successful, and both CQI and Winrock International are confident that this is sustainable and has the potential to develop further. The second year saw 23 new farming groups selected to join the first three, with more than 50 additional farms applying to join up for this next season. This year the internationally recognised cupping/scorings for the coffee have rapidly improved 15 points on the scoring system, to a strong 89 scoring coffee. (150% increase year on year in yield and grade).
We (Kim and Matt) were lucky enough to be invited by Andrew Hertzal head of SCA education, to join a selected group of coffee professionals to visit and sample a wide range of the most beautiful coffees from this new Specialty coffee Origin. This group came together from USA, NZ, Iceland, Korea, Japan, Honk Kong, Australia and Dubai, and now forms a core group that look forward to importing, roasting and marketing this beautiful coffee to coffee lovers around the world.
Flavor profiles range from those found in bright floral vibrant Kenyan’s or Rwandans, to rich full bodied Central American origins. The coffees present as very clean, complex natural processed coffees and it is immediately evident that the advice and procedures shared by CQI and Winrock have been adopted and given a huge advantage to these farmers, saving years of slow painful improvements, leaping them ahead on the International market. But being realistic, there are also some very real challenges to consider with such rapid growth that are external to the actual coffee industry, including a very immature banking system and inexperienced official departments responsible for documentation.
As a company, Raw is 10 years into its coffee journey, and we finally feel we have the knowledge and contacts, not to mention maturity!!! to spend more time looking at direct supply chains, and developing sustainable long-term partnerships like this one with the Ga Naing Yar community. No lie, these origin trips really are the best perk of our industry and allow us to see some of the most beautiful less travelled parts of the world, meeting some of the amazing people responsible for growing our beautiful coffees, and this definitely makes us feel accountable for making sure your end experience, justifies all their efforts.
Success! Feel free to
or head to your