Our sourcing partners Beanspire have been working in Doi Pangkhon for nearly a decade. 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. In 2017-2018 season, they invested in a wet mill, operated by a few of their partner producers, all belonging to the five Merlaeku brothers who are of Akha Hilltribe minority, so Beanspire had more control of the process since the cherries and we also bought cherries from outside the family as well.
In the 2018-2019 season, the mill was improved by adding a roof, buying new pulpers and improving workflows. In the 2019-2020 harvest, a new electricity generator was bought, a cupping lab was built for the farmers, and new concentrate flooring was laid for the mill. In the 2020-2021 harvest, a new space was leased in the lowland so coffee could be dried more efficiently.
In past years, the Kenya-styled Washed process they use in the area involved a double staged fermentation, which included dry fermentation, followed by wet fermentation and ended with soaking. This harvest season, they experimented with extending the dry fermentation stage even longer, reducing the wet fermentation and soaking stages to a minimum. Beanspire dried bamboo raised beds for at least 14 days and finished off the drying in the lowland. A "Kenya-style washed" process is a processing method that is widely used in Kenya and is known for producing clean, crisp and consistent coffee.
The elevation at Doi Pangkhon is from 1,250-1,450 meters above sea level. Note that they are at 19 degrees north of the equator, which means that this elevation is really high (e.g. Tarrazu in Costa Rica is 9 degree north so coffee can grow beyond 1,600 m.a.s.l. there). The coffee varieties 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.