Episode 678

Thailand Doi Pangkhon Black Honey

Our sourcing partners Beanspire have been working in Doi Pangkhong for 7 years now. Doi Pangkhon, in Chiang Rai, has 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 our mill.

During the 2017-2018 season, there was substantial investment in a new wet mill and is currently being operated by a few trusted partner producers and allows for more control of the coffee processing. In 2018-2019 season, the mill was improved with the addition of a new roof, new pulpers and improved workflows. This harvest season, the mill received a new electricity generator, a cupping lab was built for the farmers, and new concentrate flooring was put down too.

This is a black honey-processed micro lot. Coffee cherries are collected, floated to remove defective cherries and pulped without water in order to preserve the most mucilage on the parchment. The parchment was dried on raised beds in a thin layer, raked several times a day to prevent fermentation, and to promote even drying. Once the parchment has been dried to 10% moisture level, it is delivered to a dry mill which is located in the surrounding low lands.

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 1,250-15,00 meters above sea level. This area is 19 degrees north of the equator, which means that this elevation is really high (e.g. Colombia Narino is 1 degree north, Costa Rica Terrazu is 9 degree north so coffee can grow beyond 1,600m there). Coffee cannot grow in Thailand above 1,550m.

The varietals here are a mixture of Catuai, Typica, Chiang Mai & SJ133. SJ133 is genetically identical to Costa Rica 95, while 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& the late Thai King as part of his effort to eradicate opium plantation by the hill tribe in the North.

In terms of green preparation, the coffee went through a destoner, huller, size grader, density table and ended with hand-sorting. The green passed through density table multiple times. The coffee was 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 innermost layer.

The big biscuit and toffee hit from this coffee is accentuated by the thick, silky texture. Roasted hazelnuts make an appearance too, shifting towards walnuts on the finish. There's just a little sultana note running through it all - this one's really all about the toffee, biscuit and nuts.

  • Country: Thailand
  • Region: Doi Pangkhong, Chiang Rai
  • Altitude: 1,250–1,500 m.a.s.l.
  • Processing method: Black Honey
  • Varietals: Catuai, Typica, Chiang Mai and SJ133
  • Producers: Merlaeku Family x Beanspire


Toffee, biscuit, hazelnut, walnut, sultana

  • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
  • Sweetness: (1–8): 7
  • Acidity: (1–8): 6
  • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 7
  • Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
  • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
  • Balance: (1–8): 6.5
  • Overall: (1–8): 6
  • Correction: (+36): +36
  • Total: (max. 100): 87

Roasting Information
Medium dark - keep the this one going steadily through first crack and push it well through the gap to the edge of second crack, to develop the complex sweetness.

Previous episode

Episode 677

Watch episode

Next episode

Episode 679

Watch episode