H.M. the King in promoting coffee cultivation among hill tribes since 1969 to replace opium.

Through this Royal Initiative, coffee of a world class quality emerged in Thailand and has existed ever since.

With gratefulness to the kindness of

Doi Chaang coffee

Doi Chaang Coffee
The struggle for human dignity of hill tribes and pride of world class speciality coffee in Thailand Edited by : Ong-art Ritpreecha ISBN 978-974-06-2739-5 First Publication : April 2008 / 2,000 copies

Published and distributed by : Trimit Im-Ex Limited Partnership. 542/2 Ratanakhet Rd., A. Muang, Chiang Rai 57000 Tel: (053) 744 741-2 , (08) 4367 8358

Graphic Design by : Co-Kayan Media Team (053) 114 066, (08) 1716 5246 E-mail: co_kayan@mac.com

Printed at : Phongsawat Printing 117/11 Irrigation Canal Rd., T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 Tel: (053) 277 569

Printed in Thailand

All proceeds after expenses go to educational funds for children of Doi Chaang.

Preface 1 : Why I got involved with Doi Chaang Coffee?

As shown on the Doi Chaang website – www.doichaangcoffee.com - (Visionaries) that I have been actively doing business in Thailand for the past 25 years, primarily involved in the $ 100 million identification, exploration and proving of what is probably the most significant but undeveloped Potash deposit in the world. That company’s name is Asia Pacific Potash Corporation, now under the control of ITD. During the course of my time in Thailand, as you can imagine, I met many people and about two years ago I was introduced by a friend to Khun Wicha, who was interested to take Doi Chaang Coffee to North America. When I went to Doi Chaang and first met with the Akha people, I was very surprised and impressed with the everything I saw. All of the people, from the farmers tending the coffee plants to those operating the processing and roasting facilities, their dedication and care was readily apparent, the plants were strong and healthy and the Roasting Plant and Storage facilities were very clean and well organized. Overall, it was clear that the Akha people had an immense sense of pride in their achievements, which was very well deserved. But at the beginning I was naturally very hesitant to get involved with an industry in which I had no prior experience or knowledge. However I referred to my business partner, Wayne Fallis, who has had considerable experience in the international food business and he was enthusiastic about the opportunity.

We then spoke with the renown Roast Master, Shawn McDonald, who having sampled the coffee was ecstatic over the quality, which he rated very highly along with Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kona Coffees. Such was his confidence in the quality of the Doi Chaang Coffee, that he agreed to join the company. It was obvious that establishing Doi Chaang Coffee in North America would be a long, expensive arduous task, but when we heard more of Wicha’s vision and met with all the Akha farmers, we were overwhelmed by their quality control, work ethics, dedication and determination to make Doi Chaang a World-class coffee and agreed to support them. So began what is probably a unique relationship in the coffee industry. A new Canadian company, Doi Chaang Coffee Company (International) Corp was established in which the farmers, through Doi Chaang Fresh Roasted Coffee, became carried 50% shareholders, with my partner and I providing 100% of the funding from our personal resources. Concurrently, “International” entered into an exclusive arrangement with “Fresh Roasted” for North America and Europe, to purchase the green beans, which would not be blended with any other coffees and only sold under the name of Doi Chaang. At this time, in addition to being available from our website, we are now well established in over 100 outlets in Alberta and British Columbia, and more recently Doi Chaang Coffee is available in Ontario and Southern California. Kind regards John M. Darch Chairman, Canada

Preface 2 : Why I joined Doi Chaang Coffee?

I have been in the coffee business, at all levels, for over eighteen years. During this time I have roasted virtually every coffee grown on the planet. I have also had the opportunity to serve these coffees to all levels of consumers and organizations. When I was first approached by John M. Darch and Wayne Fallis about joining the Doi Chaang team I was somewhat skeptical as over the years I have been pitched by many grower groups about roasting their coffee. The first step was to take a look at the green samples and then assess the roasted bean, in the cup. I received the sample of the coffee and at first glance I determined that the processing part of the cycle, was top notch. The coffee was clean, there were no defects and the size of the beans was consistent. I started off with a full medium roast and the cup it produced was very, very good. The aroma was flowery with a sweet slant. The citrus/ fruity flavor was well displayed and had a hint of honey/nuttiness. I was convinced that this well balanced cup of coffee would fit in with the upper echelon of beans that are on the market. I rank the medium Doi Chaang as comparable to some of the world’s superb coffees such as Cuban Crystal Mountain, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Yemen Mocha Mattari, to name a few. The unique and interesting characteristic of the Doi Chaang bean is the large spectrum of taste profiles we can achieve using different roasts. This type of bean ability is not that common and therefore is very special. When we do a Medium dark roast we get an exotic, rich cup of coffee that

is very special and has been hugely embraced by the dark drinkers in the coffee world. In a nut shell we have a single bean that can take different types of roasts and yet produce excellent coffee in the cup at each roast level. In my previous roasting operations I always considered getting 6 out 10 people drinking and approving a particular cup of coffee, a success. When I go out to present Doi Chaang I have had cases where 9 out of 10 people have voted for this coffee, regardless of whether it is a dark roast or medium. This is truly a high acceptance factor that is unheard of in the coffee industry. I have gone as far as blending the medium with the dark to produce our signature roast which has resulted in another unique taste profile, using the one bean. To add to my opinion of the Doi Chaang bean, we have recently had both our medium and peaberry coffee’s reviewed by Ken Davies of Coffee Review. He is one of the top coffee experts in North America. A 90 score was awarded to our medium which ranks us in the top 5% of medium coffee’s in the world. A 93 score for our peaberry is truly exceptional and puts us in the company of the world’s elite coffees. In closing, I consider myself a lucky man to have had the opportunity to roast Doi Chaang coffee and be a part of the Doi Chaang family. The people behind the growing and harvesting of this coffee take such great care in the whole process that it truly is a pleasure to work with this coffee. Shawn McDonald Senior Vice President Operations & Roastmaster, Canada

A Cup of Coffee with the Editor
I am going to convey the story of “Doi Chaang Coffee” and the two key persons behind its success through a published article again. I used to do this twice and this is my third time. The first time was 3 years ago. I had a conversation with “Brother Wicha” (Wicha Promyong) and “Ardel” (Panachai Pisailert) at the old office of the company on Thanalai Road in Central Chiang Rai. I compiled the story as an article, which was then published in the column “Chao Sua Phuthorn” (Famous Rural Businessperson) in the Nation Weekly Magazine. Then, the second time, this article was included in a pocketbook named “Chao Sua Lanna” launched at the end of 2006 which contained some other articles I wrote about 20 businesspersons in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces, all of which were published before in the column “Chao Sua Phuthorn”. For several years after I got to know Brother Wicha and Ardel through the interview, I have been in touch with them periodically, sometimes by chance and sometimes by intention. We talked over the phone, met at Doi Chaang Shop or met somewhere up on the mountain. Sometimes we came across each other at a commercial booth in a coffee trade fair. I have learned more and more about Brother Wicha in particular through the published media like newspapers and magazines. These media always publish the story from his interviews and the articles or news about Doi Chaang Coffee based on the data that he provides. These publications have reflected the gradual development of Doi Chaang Coffee and the progress it has made in all a sudden. This is consistent to what he once told me, “Those who keep an eye on Doi Chaang should not blink more than twice. When they open their eyes again, it might progress further to another significant step already.” What I have seen and perceived support his statement very well. I also

heard someone said that Brother Wicha was so “boastful”. However, this is nothing in term of a blow from the mouth when it is compared to a serious allegation made by another group that Brother Wicha, Ardel and villagers of Doi Chaang are “laundering some money”. But the fact is always the fact; and a tough person would never pay attention to a condemnation without cause or any prejudicial allegation. They continue finding ways for cultivating coffee that would yield the best harvests, and expanding their markets as much as possible. It is basically true …that they do this to earn for themselves and their children. But beyond that, they are fighting for human dignity of the ethnic hill tribe people and the poor of the forest, all of whom were looked down upon by other people in all aspects of life. They and their friends both in Thailand and overseas are bringing a pride for Doi Chaang villagers and other indigenous people on some other mountains. They are making known to public that hill tribe people are not silly and not lazy at all. Their lifestyles are not the same as what mentioned in a myth created for facilitating the convenience in exploitation. Today, Doi Chaang people have shown their capability to the world. They produce for sell the coffee of a kind acceptable worldwide as “one of the world’s best coffees”. Apart from bringing billions and billions Baht into the country each year (as expected), they also build up the pride for themselves and the reputation for Thailand. I used to ask Brother Wicha whether I could write a book when the dream of Doi Chaang people comes true. I mean when Doi Chaang Coffee becomes famous and acceptable worldwide. I want to inform public about the historical background from Day 1 to the day when Doi Chaang is recognized as a world class brand of coffee products. And the time has come. Indeed, it has arrived sooner than expected. … They sent Doi Chaang Coffee for a quality testing by the Committee of Coffee Review : The World’s Leading Coffee Buying Guide highly recognized by coffee lovers. The test result showed that the “Single Origin Peaberry” of Doi Chaang gained 93 points in April 2008 and “Doi Chaang Single Estate”, the premium coffee of Doi Chaang, also got a very high score of 90 points in February 2008.

April 2008


Also, during the meantime, there have been some efforts trying to distort some facts about the coffee circle in Thailand; and Brother Wicha cannot stand it. So, driven by such good news and bad news, it is the appropriate time for this book to emerge and inform the truth about Doi Chaang Coffee. However, it is unavoidable that some truths about coffee arena and overall society are presented here and there throughout the main content.
Doi Chaang Coffee Single Origin Peaberry - Medium Roast Calgary, Alberta, Canada Reviewed: April 2008 Overall Rating: 93 points

Single Origin Peaberry Medium Roast

Recipient of 93 point award for:

The test result has been publicized on the Coffee Review’s website. This written evidence by foreigners overseas reflects that the ultimate goal of Doi Chaang in gaining international recognition has been met.

Through this book, “Doi Chaang Coffee”, it is my third time to present this story again but with more details. And I don’t think it will be my last, because, as long as Doi Chaang Coffee keeps growing and progressing forwardly, we cannot forecast how far it can go. I am grateful to everybody who contributed for the production of this book. I would like to thank Brother Wicha, Ardel, and Doi Chaang people in particular. Without them and without Doi Chaang Coffee, this book would never exist. Another person I am grateful to is “YOU” who are reading this book. I hope you can enjoy reading and feel happy as if you are taking a sip of your favorite coffee. And may I hope that you would continue to be a regular customer of “Doi Chaang Coffee” always.

With aromatic kind of friendship And mutual pride Ong-art Ritpreecha Baan Sra, Chiang Rai April 2008

Part I : Rooting 25 History of Coffee in Thailand 39 Background of Doi Chaang Village 49
The World Legends about Coffee Historical Background of Coffee Cultivation on Doi Chaang


Part II : Budding
Origination of “Doi Chaang Coffee”

65 69

Success = Knowledge + Experience + Strong Commitment Empowered by Resentment Self-reliance

75 85 89 93


Crisis = Opportunity + Friendship + Motivation Growing up Little by Little

From Thailand to International Markets

Part III : Blooming 103 No Definitions Would Suit the Entity 107 Word of Mouth Marketing 113 Stick to the Principle of “Doing the Best” 117
Origination of the Brand and Logo

Part IV : Becoming Fruitful Doi Chaang Academy of Coffee 123 Other Brand Names for Our Products 125
Premium Goods from By-products of Doi Chaang Coffee Future Plan



Annex : Breeding 138 Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory 142 Thailand : Our beloved country 158 Thai Geographical Indication 160 Finale : The Secret of Coffee Cultivators 168
Welcoming “HRH Princess Somsawali” A story through pictures: From the beans to a cup of coffee


Wicha Promyong – President of Doi Chaang Coffee Company in Thailand

Panachai Pisailert – Managing Director of Doi Chaang Coffee Company in Thailand

The logo used in Thailand

The logo used in Canada, America and Europe

Piko Saed00 : whose face is on the logo of Doi Chaang Coffee

Part I : Rooting


The World Legends about Coffee
If you used to read a book or visit some websites about coffee before, you may want to skip this chapter, because, the world legends presented here are not different from what you might have read. I have to talk about this again because it is a “compulsory part” of the content. I would feel unconformable if I skip this part. On the other hand, these legends may be useful for those who have never read them before; and those who have read them before may want to read them again. Any way, regardless of the group you are in, (some) legends about the consumption and cultivation of coffee among people around the world will absolutely be included in the content of this book, “Doi Chaang Coffee”. It may be a good idea for you to read the legends I found and compare them to the ones you have learned about; then, sort out similarities and differences. I have no reason for not telling you that I searched for these legends from various websites such as wikipedia.org, Snook. com, uttaradit.go.th, tlcthai.com, vppcoffee.com, and so on. I would like to thank them publicly for serving as the sources of reference.

Legend 1
Humans first knew how to drink coffee in Africa since the 12th century. Around the year 1400, a goatherd in Ethiopia, by the name of “Khaldi”, noticed that his goats became hyperactive and were acting very frisky after eating red berries from a certain bush. He decided to try some, soon he was as active as his goats. His wife then offered these berries to a priest.

Intending to lower the power of these berries, the priest tried to burn them but the berries gave a very attractive smell after they were burned. The priest then cracked the burned berries, put them into water, drank the watery part, and felt so refreshing and active. Some merchants then introduced these berries to general people afterwards.

Legend 2
People in Europe started learning about coffee in 16th century from the fortune searchers and travelers from Africa and Arab. The person who made coffee become most popular in Europe was “Soliman Aga”, the Ambassador to the Royal Household of King Louis XIV of France; and that was around the year 1715. After then, the price of coffee became higher and higher because French noblemen were so addicted to coffee. People of other countries in Europe significantly knew how to drink coffee in 19th century but this knowledge was limited to only writers and wealthy people.

Legend 3
With regard to the cultivation of coffee … The French people tried to cultivate it in southern part of the country but without success. Meanwhile, Dutch people tried to plant it in East Indian Islands and they could do it successfully. The French people then did the same. Both countries were very possessive and watchful for their coffee breeds. However, on a later date, there was a conflict between France and Holland about their frontier in Ghana. The King of Brazil sent an envoy to resolve the conflict and this envoy secretly took the coffee breeds back to Brazil and reproduced them until Brazil has become the world largest production area for coffee until today.


Atmosphere in a Turkish coffee shop of ancient time


Legend 4
The first human on earth that knew and drank coffee was “Mufti” of Eden during the 9th century. This is contradictory to Legend 1 (mentioned above) and Legend 5 (detailed in the following paragraph).

Legend 5
The first human who learned about the taste of coffee was an Islamic priest of the Middle East (an Arab) named “Deli” who always felt sleepy while saying his prayers. This priest got rid of his drowsiness by drinking the water he got from boiling the coffee beans. After that, drinking coffee became popular throughout the land and has been integrated in the lifestyle of people in the Middle East.

Legend 6
At the beginning of the 6th century, there was a man named “Khaldi”, a goat herder living in Abyssinia (Ethiopia at present). He took his goats to the paddy fields and the hills every day for natural feeds, and took them back home in the evening. One day he noticed that his goats acted very strangely. They were vigorous than normal after they ate some small red berries of a kind. After observing this for several days, he felt sure that the goats became active and alert because of these red berries. He picked up some berries, took them home, and ate them. Khaldi was then the first human who had the chance to taste these magical berries known on a later date as “coffee”. Then Khaldi told a priest about these berries. As the priest had some knowledge about herbs, he took some of these berries and peeled off their skins, dried them in the sun, then boiled them and took the watery part as herbal drink. After that, he never felt drowsy again while saying his prayer in the evening. Instead, he was very refreshed and active. Starting from this point, the process of taking the skin off these small red berries, drying them in the sun, and brewing them as a drink, has

spread widely and become the culture of all coffee lovers around the globe.

Legend 7
Coffee was discovered for the first time in the 6th century. During the period from that time to the 16th century, the only people who drank coffee and distributed coffee seeds for commercial purpose were the Arabs. They are very possessive and jealous of their coffee, and kept the story about coffee as a very top secret. Coffee seeds were boiled very extensively before sending out for sale, so no one would be able to plant them. However, a person from India was able to smuggle some coffee seeds out of Arab region to outside world. According to this legend, there was a pilgrim named Baba Budan who came from Mysore, a town in central region of India. While he was travelling back from his pilgrimage at Mecca, he secretly took 6-7 ripe coffee seeds with him by hiding them inside his waistcloth. Then he planted these seeds in his hometown.

When the coffee seeds grew up, he gave a coffee sprout to a Dutch merchant (a Hollander) to try planting it in Java Island. The merchant grew it successfully and later on took the coffee breeds to grow in a botanical garden in Amsterdam. The coffee sprouts from this botanical garden have been the original breeds for coffee trees all over Europe. And the coffee sprout of Baba Budan then became the original breed of coffee trees in India.

Legend 8
In 1534, Ostomus, the Sultan of Istanbul, announced a law banning coffee. However, the ban had made people want to try more. Within the following year, coffee became more popular and some coffee shops arose as the meeting points for thinkers, knowledgeable people and artists. Also, in the eyes of religious organizations, coffee shops were assembling places for people that distracted their interests in religion. Religious institutions then announced that coffee was the black drink of Satan. Coffee then became less popular after the announcement. It was not until the period of Pope Clement VIII when he tried this kind of drink and announced that coffee was not as bad as mentioned in the allegation. Coffee then became popular again. After that, the practice of drinking coffee spread widely. Coffee were introduced to people in Europe and this kind of drink became popular in all a sudden across the continent. In 1700, coffee trees were planted for the first time in South America and coffee became popular after then. At present, there are more than 20 million coffee trees in this region.

Legend 9
Before the 16th century, the only group who grew coffee was the Arabs. The original name of coffee was “Qahwah” in Arabic language, which derived to “Kahveh” in Turkish, “Coffee” in English, and “Kafae” in Thai on a later date.


Legend 10
This legend is about the introduction of coffee breed to America. It has been told that in 1723, a French solider named Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu took 6 sprouts of coffee with him while he was travelling by ship from Europe to America. He took care of these sprouts very well, even watered them with the limited amount of drinking water he had. However, the sprouts died, one after another. When the ship arrived at Port Martinique in Caribbean Islands, he only had one coffee sprout left. Gabriel took care of the survived sprout like an egg lying among the rocks. Three years later, the sprout grew up, became a coffee tree, and fruitful enough to satisfy him. Then, 50 years later, this only one sprout had turned into 20 million coffee trees. And 250 years after that, this continent has become the largest area in the world for coffee cultivation.

Legend 11
Martinique is the first country under colonization of French that cultivated coffee. The coffee seeds from Martinique were taken for cultivation in major coffee production areas around the globe. One of such area is the “Blue Mountain” on Jamaica Island. The coffee cultivated there has a very good taste acceptable worldwide because the cold weather of that place is very suitable for cultivating coffee. The coffee seeds from Martinique were also taken for cultivation in the towns of Belem and Para in Brazil. One hundred years later, Brazil became the country that cultivated the largest amount of coffee comparing to any countries around the world; and Brazil was able to get a complete control of coffee market.

Legend 12
In 1566, coffee from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) was taken for cultivation in Arabia. And at the beginning of 17th century, Dutch people was the first group who took the coffee of Arabia (the origin of Arabica Coffee) to cultivate in some other areas of the world. For example, in 1616, they took coffee from the town of Mocha to plant in the Netherlands.

Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection

Ancient coffee seller in Cairo

Photo: T. Patterson

A coffee shop in London tens and tens years ago

In 1658, they developed coffee cultivation fields in Sri Lanka, one of their colonized countries. And in 1690, the Commissioner of Pattavia took coffee seeds for cultivation in Indonesia. After an earthquake in 1699 and all coffee trees died from flooding, some coffee seeds were taken to Pattavia (Indonesia) again for cultivation. After that, the coffee breeds were spread to other places throughout the country. This Arabica type of coffee was named on a later date as “Coffee Arabica var. Typica”.

One dozen of legends mentioned above are considered as only a small part of all existing legends. (If all existing legends are complied, their contents may add up to at least one thick book.) Some legends are similar to each other in term of a big picture (such as the story about the goat herder in Legend 1 and Legend 6). Though, they are different from each other in some key points, such as the name of the person (pronounced as “Kaldai” and “Kaldee”); this is understandable because the name “Khaldi” in English can be pronounced differently in some other languages. Similarly, the story about taking the coffee berries to the priest in Legend 1 and Legend 6. It is said in Legend 1 that the wife of the goatherd took the berries to the priest and the priest burned the berries to lower the power of the fruits. In contrast, Legend 6 tells that the goatherd offered the berries to the priest himself and the priest boiled the berries to make herbal drink. This is also understandable and acceptable. Maybe the story can be changed when it is told from generation to generation. However, the major difference is about the time (the 12th century in Legend 1 versus the beginning of the 6th century in Legend 6). It is hard to consider that both legends are correct. It is even harder to tell that which one is correct, because the data from other sources are not available to support both legends and there has not been any further investigation about the origin of these two legends. “Some of my observatory notes” may help raise this issue for you to think about further. However, we shall leave all the legends as the complete ones as before, because, in one definition, a “legend”

is a story told from generation to generation. It is fine if the story would be different more and more over time from its origin due to the embellishment or modification by each of the tellers; and due to the shortcoming in keeping trace of the story on a later date. In conclusion, the legends exist for us to read them with an enjoyment, not for seriousness. This is similar to coffee. It exists for us to drink happily but not too much until we feel headache or dizzy. Well, after reading about all these, you may continue your favorite cup of coffee and turn to the following page to enjoy the history of coffee in Thailand, another “compulsory part” of the content for this book.

History of Coffee in Thailand
Similarly to “World Legends about Coffee”, the following information for this chapter came from various websites. (wikipedia.org, uttaradit.go.th, sanook.com, vppcoffee.com, etc.) All data that I found here and there are compiled together to outline the history.

In 1873, the word “Kafae” (one of the words used for calling coffee in the past, apart form “Kao Fae” and “Kopi”) was documented in “Akkhrarabhithansaap” (vocabulary book) of Dr. Bradley. It was documented as “Kafae – the tree of a kind coming from a foreign country, the seeds of which are brewed for drinking like tea leaves”. A record in 1911 of Phra Sarasartpholkhan (Mr. Jerini – an Italian) reveals that coffee arrived in Thailand since Ayudhaya period. However, it was not until Ratanakosin period when coffee became so popular in term of cultivation and drinking. In 1824, during the reign of King Rama III, Thailand started having commercial relationship with foreigners like those from England and the Netherlands. There was a cultivation of coffee on a trial basis inside the Royal Palace and the coffee sprouts from there were distributed to the ministers of state for further cultivation. During the reign of King Rama IV, Somdej Phra Mahaprayoonrawong had a coffee garden of his own. When he provided the hospitality for Sir John Bowring, he gave 3 bags of coffee seeds to Sir John as a gift. Not so many people have known about this bypath of the history that’s full of coffee smell.

For the most recent history, data from different sources are consistent to each other. The first Thai person who introduced Robusta coffee for planting in the South of Thailand was “Mr. Khimun”. His name was also called as “Timun” or “Dimun” in two other stories. However, there

was only one and the same person. (His name was called differently because all the stories were told from one person to another, from the past to present. People might tell the stories very carelessly; or might be in a hurry when they copied the stories from others.) The story of “Father of Robusta Coffee in Thailand” and the “World Legends about Coffee” have one thing in common. The data coming from different sources are distorted. Data from the first source reveals that the first Thai person who introduced Robusta coffee for planting in the South of Thailand is Mr. Khimun. He planted it in 1904 in Saba Yoi district, Songkhla province. Considering that coffee was one of the economic plants of the nation, the cultivation areas were expanded to some other provinces, around 90% of which were in Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Surat Thani provinces. Meanwhile, the data from another source gives an assumption that Robusta coffee was cultivated in the Southern Thailand for the first time in 1904 by a Thai Moslem person named “Mr. Timun” in Baan Tanod sub-district, Saba Yoi district, Songkhla province. It also gives another assumption that the Robusta coffee was brought into the country from Indonesia, because Indonesian people were excited about growing this strain of coffee during that time. However, the data from the third source says that the person who introduced the coffee to Thailand was a Thai Moslem person named “Dimun”. He had a chance to go to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for his pilgrimage. He took some coffee seeds back with him for growing in his hometown, Baan Nod sub-district, Saba Yoi district, Songkhla province, in 1904. And the strain of coffee he brought was Robusta. The cultivation was successful. Then the breeding and cultivation of this strain of coffee were promoted widely in Southern Region of the country. Without much observation, you can notice that, apart from the three different names used for calling the person, the names of the subdistrict were also different (Baan Tanod versus Baan Nod). However, these two points can be considered as minor technical errors in term of the language. And these errors do not cause any inconsistency among data. However, when we talk about the place of origin for this strain of

coffee, it’s another and different story. A set of data says that this kind of coffee came from Indonesia while another set says that it came from Mecca, Saudi Arabia. No matter which set of data is correct, there will surely be some problems regarding the issue. Again, I would leave this issue open for any of you who feel more serious about this. You may search for other and additional sets of data that may help clarify this. But if you want to know how I am thinking about this now, I rather rely on the one that says Mecca, because the data indicating Indonesia has shown an uncertainty by using the word “assumption”. Also, the third set of data shows a strong confidence in presenting this story, and the rest of the data in this same set have some academic characteristics that seem reliable. This set of data also provides a document of Highland Coffee Research and Development Center, Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University, as a reference. A few things that the three sets of data have in common are the year of the introduction (1904), the name of the sub-district (Saba Yoi) and the name of the province (Songkhla). So the time and the place for the cultivation of Robusta coffee in Thailand for the first time are strongly confirmed by the data in these three sets.

With regard to Arabica coffee cultivated on Doi Chaang, the record of Phra Sarasartpholkhan documented that it came into Thailand since Ayudhya period and was tried out being cultivated as an economic plant since 1850 in Chanthaburi province. It was then called as “Chanthabun Coffee” according to the name of the province. (However, some text says it was first cultivated in 1950, which is a hundred years later!!!) For me, I believe that it was cultivated in 1850 because the data from various sources confirm that the record of Phra Sarasartpholkhan (an Italian) was written in 1911. Any events documented in this record should take place before that year, not so many years after that. Then no data are available for the period from that time until 1957, which is the year that Mr. Somboon Na Thalang, the former Director of Rubber Division, Department of Agricultural, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, brought to Thailand from Brazil 4 strains of Arabica coffee. Such 4 strains were the Typica, Bourbon, Caturra

and Mundo Novo; and they were planted at Doi Muser Horticultural Experiment Station in Tak province; Maejo Agronomic Experiment Station in Chiang Mai province; and Fang Horticultural Experiment Station in Chiang Mai province. The coffee seeds from these three agricultural experiment stations were distributed to Thai farmers in Northern Thailand, both highland and lowland people. They grew these strains of Arabica coffee widely until the coffee suffered a disease called “coffee rust” - caused by a fungus named “Hem ileia vastatrix”. Coffee trees were deteriorated and they could yield only a small amount of harvests. The farmers had to stop taking care of these coffee trees and leave the cultivation areas abandoned. They could not solve the problem regarding “coffee rust” and had to stop cultivating coffee eventually. In 1974, the Royal Project for Hilltribe Development conducted a research and development on Highland Cultivation of Arabica coffee. This was aimed to replace the cultivation of opium among hilltribe people of the North as per the initiative of H.M. the King, and with the assistance from US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Thai authority assigned for operating this project was Thailand Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Coperatives. At this time, the Royal Project for Hilltribe Development received the second batch of crossbred Arabica coffee seeds. The Coffee Rust Research Center, Oeiras, Portugal, crossbred this batch of coffee to create an immunity against coffee rust. The Center used the strain of Hibride de Timor, an Arabica that could stand the coffee rust, to crossbreed with Arabica coffee in the strains that would grow as a short tree but yield a lot of harvests. The Arabica in the second breed (totally 26 pairs of the crossbred strains) could be divided into 2 groups: the Hibrido de Timor derivative, and the true Arabica. The Arabica coffee recently discovered and the seeds of which were collected in the 19th century from Ethiopia (i.e. S12 Kaffa, S4 Agaro, S6 Cioiccie Dilla Alghe, etc) were crossbred with Arabica coffee in the strains cultivated for commercial purpose (such as Caturra and Catuai). At present, these crossbreed Arabica coffees have already gone through the process for testing with the fungus that causes coffee rust. Only the perfect trees were selected, and their harvests were monitored and recorded until completing the 6th round. Then all these coffees were distributed for cultivating in different areas on the


mountains of Northern Region, such as Mae Fa Luang Foundation in Chiang Rai province; Doi Chaang in Chiang Rai province; and in highland areas of Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Nan, Phetchabun and Phitsanulok provinces. During the same period (1974), the US Department of Agriculture gave another set of Arabica coffee in some other strains to the Royal Project for the Hilltribe Development. Such strains included S288, S353, and S795 from India; and K7 from Kenya. These strains were then crossbred with each other several rounds until they were stable in term of immunity against coffee rust, and their productivity in yielding harvests. In 1983, the academic officials from Department of Agriculture went to Portuguese Republic to attend a meeting on coffee rust and pay a study visit to the Coffee Rust Research Center. When they returned to Thailand, they brought the seeds of Arabica coffee in the strain of Coffee arabica cv. catimor. They brought 2 numbers of them, CIFC 7962 and CIFC 7963. After planting the seeds and testing the sprouts against the fungus “H. vastatrix Race II” in the laboratory, the sprouts were sent out for planting in natural environment to test their productivity in yielding harvests and test the immunity against the fungus out there. They were sent for planting in Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Station in Chiang Mai province; Khao Kor Highland Agricultural Research Station in Phetchabun province; and Arabica Coffee Research and Development Center in Mae Lod Royal Development Project of Chiang Mai province. Then in 1984 and 1987, Plant Pathology and Microbiology Division, Department of Agriculture received from the Coffee Rust Research Center of Portuguese Republic another 3 numbers of coffee seeds in the strain of Arabica Catimor: CIFC 7958, CIFC 7960 and CIFC 7961. The sprouts of these strains were sent for cultivating in Khao Kor Highland Agricultural Research Station in Phetchabun province; Mae Fa Luang Foundation, Doi Tung, and Highland Agricultural Research Station in Chiang Rai province; and Research and Development Center for Arabica Coffee in Mae Lod Royal Development Project of Chiang Mai province. In 1988, Plant Pathology and Microbiology Division, Department of Agriculture, received from the Coffee Rust Research Center of

Portuguese Republic the coffee seeds in the second breed of halfbreed strains between Catimor and Catuai, totally 8 sets of them. The sprouts that passed the test against the fungus “H. vastatrix Race II” were sent for planting in Arabica Coffee Research and Development Center at Mae Lod Royal Development Project in Chiang Mai province; Khao Kor Highland Agricultural Research Station in Phetchabun province; and Development for Security Project at Phukhat, Phumiang, and Phusoidao in Phitsanulok province. After that, Arabica coffee of various strains have been distributed to several highland cultivating areas, especially in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, and Tak provinces, as an important plant that can replace the cultivation of opium and that can generate income for hilltribe people as well. The promotion is also conducted due to the fact that highland areas are very suitable for coffee cultivation and the demand of coffee in the market is very high still.

With regard to the history of coffee drinking in Thailand, only a brief data was obtained. An American person opened the first coffee shop in Bangkok. It was located in Sikak Phrayasri area. However, the name of the shop and the year when it was opened were not documented. Later, a local convenience shop named “Tung Hoo Store” placed the coffee of “Tung Hoo” brand for sale to its customers. During the reign of King Rama VI, His Majesty was kind enough to set up a coffee shop named “Norasingha” on Sri Ayudhaya Road, in the yard around the statute of King Rama V (that’s sitting on a horse statute). Then there were many coffee shops opened after that. Some of them have been famous and popular until today, such as “On Lock Yun” and “Ia-sae”. Apart from the coffee shops from the old days, the new and modern coffee shops have been popular more and more in Thailand at present. Coffee shops of small and big sizes, of Thai and foreign brands, have arisen everywhere even in the department stores, office buildings, hospitals, gas stations or in small lanes off the big roads. The selling strategies vary from one shop to another. Some shops focus on the coffee of a foreign brand, some focus on the interior

decorating style, the good smell of coffee that goes well with deliciousness of cakes and desserts. Some shops have chosen to provide the foods in a la carte menu along with coffee; and so on.

All of the above is a brief history of coffee cultivation and consumption in Thailand – from the days when Doi Chaang was the cultivation area for opium until the days that all Doi Chaang villagers cultivate coffee all over the entire mountain. And today, Doi Chaang coffee has been able to invade all markets around the globe and has been accepted by all coffee lovers as one of the best world class coffees. Before coming this far, Doi Chaang villagers have extensively gone through pains and struggling for many rounds. Both the ones who are walking in front and those who are following behind may feel discouraged sometimes for sure. However, they cannot give up. They and their alliances (both living locally and those who live far away) must struggle on, because the more they are involved in a large scale of business competition, the more intense pressure they will have to encounter. The following chapter will provide details about the fight of Doi Chaang villagers – how they united together and pooled up their physical and cognitive efforts to give a push for “Doi Chaang Coffee” and change it from a no-name coffee to become a brand of world class at present. They achieved that by ensuring the quality of coffee at each and every step ranging from cultivating, roasting, brewing and serving. First thing first…Let me introduce you about Doi Chaang villagers, the “coffee cultivators” who have been more and more the talk of the town both in Thailand and overseas. It’s the chapter named “The Background of Doi Chaang Village”.


A view of the village

Akha people - “Coffee Cultivators”

Background of Doi Chaang Village
Baan Doi Chaang is located at Moo 3, Wawee sub-district, Mae Sruai District, Chiang Rai province, Postal code: 57180. This village was originally the habitation of Hmong hilltribe people. Later on, the Lisaw (or Lisu) and Ikaw (or Akha) tribes migrated to this village in 1915 and 1983 respectively. “Baan Doi Chaang” is named after the characteristics of the mountain that is looked like two elephants, a mother and a child, standing with their faces pointing to the North (the direction towards the city of Chiang Rai). This can be viewed clearly from the compound of Baan Doi Chaang School. There is a cliff called “Pha Hua Chaang” at the altitude of 1,800 meters from sea level. It’s a very good viewpoint for looking at beautiful scenic views. The weather of Doi Chaang is cool and comfortable throughout the year. The average temperature is 18 degree Celsius.

There are 3 different routes that you may take for travelling to Doi Chaang. The route from Mae Sruai district > Baan Tin Doi > Saen Charoen > Doi Laan > Doi Chaang (Totally 28 km. from Mae Sruai; and 75 km. from Chiang Rai) The route from Huay Saan (Mae Lao District) > Huay Saan Lisaw > Kaset > Doi Chaang (Totally 15 km.) The route from Mae Sruai > Baan Tin Doi > the rim of Mae Sruai Dam > Thung Phrao > Huay Krai > Doi Chaang (Totally 30 km.)

If you take the route from the city of Chiang Rai, just take Highway 118 heading for Baan Tin Doi. About 10 kilometers before you reach Mae Sruai district, take a right turn to Baan Tin Doi, pass Mae Sruai Dam to Baan Thung Phrao (altogether 20 km.). Then turn right to go to Baan Doi Chaang (around 8 km.). When you arrive at “Doi Chaang Viewpoint”, you will see colorful temperate flowers all over the place. In winter, the flowers of Thai Sakura (Nang Phya Suea Krong, Prunus cerasoides) will be blooming in whitish pink color along both sides of the road to Doi Chaang. You will be touched with extreme excitement when you see such a beautiful flower. At the viewpoint, apart from looking at flowers, you can enjoy beautiful scenic views as well. Different ranges of mountain are standing complicatedly on top of each other for you to see. You visual field can catch the view of Yong City in Myanmar on one side of this viewpoint and a clear view of Chiang Rai on the other. Around 2 km. further from the viewpoint, you will reach “Doi Chaang Buddhist Park”. A respectful Buddhist monk, Phra Amnat Silakhuno, has performed his Buddhist practice here since 1989. He takes care of this Buddhist Park so well that the condition of the forest is well preserved. There is a big pond in the middle of Buddhist Park. The water is looked as green as jade and the pond is surrounded by all sorts of the trees. You can hear the crying voice of toads and frogs all the way that leads to the big Buddhist Monastery Yard where several Buddha images in different postures are installed there for people to worship. From the Buddhist Monastery Yard, there is a walkway that leads to a “Holy Water Well”. The well is always naturally filled up with water, in other word, the water inside never dries up. The water is very cool and clear throughout the year. This holy well is one of the nine holy places, from which the water were taken for using in the ceremony of giving an oath of allegiance at the occasion of the 60th Birthday of His Majesty the King. Apart from these, you may visit “Chiang Rai Technical Service Center for Horticulture and Production Inputs” (Wawee Highland Agricultural Experiment Station) and take a look at “the sea of fogs” on Doi Kad


Our first factory

Front view of the Coffee Academy in Doi Chaang

Phi located at the altitude of 1,650 meters over the sea level. It has been told that in winter, the sea of fogs can be seen in all directions (360 degree). Source: Handout Material prepared by Wawee Tambon Administration Organization, Mae Sruai district, Chiang Rai province

There is another place not mentioned in the handout. In fact, it is one of the tourist spots and the areas for taking a rest for local and foreign travelers visiting Doi Chaang. It is the place where the manufactory and the Academy of Coffee are located. It is the place where Doi Chaang Coffee cultivators and Doi Chaang Fresh Roasted Coffee Co., Ltd. have built up the pride for themselves and for Thailand. They have produced the coffee of a premium quality up to a stage that it is accepted and recognized globally as a famous coffee labeled with a Thai brand. Most parts of the story from this point onwards come from the conversations in the compound of the factory and The Coffee Academy. I spent one day and one night amidst the winter storm of early December 2007 for travelling up the mountain to talk to “Brother Wicha” (Wicha Promyong) - President of the Company, and “Ardel” (Panachai Pisailert) – Managing Director & Factory Manager. These two are the key persons who have worked very hard to build up Doi Chaang Coffee from the beginning when everything was of a “minus value” until the days that everything “must move on forwardly with confidence”. The stories I gained from talking with them are compiled as this book with a hope that when my readers drink a following cup of Doi Chaang Coffee, they would get more sense of the taste - both the one of coffee and that of the life of coffee cultivators. The first things I asked them to tell me about are the historical background of Doi Chaang villagers and the background of coffee cultivation on Doi Chaang.

Brother Wicha: Doi Chaang community was established more than 100 years ago. The first group of residence was not Akha but Hmong people. After Hmong people moved out to somewhere else, Lahu (Muser) people moved in. We met Muser friends who were born here and had become adults. Some of these Muser friends moved out to

live in Tak province, then Lisaw friends moved in. During a certain period, majority of people here belonged to Lisaw group. There also were Chinese Haw people during the same period but the number was very low. Then Akha friends started to move in. Akha people were very diligent. Whenever they had money, they would buy and develop a new piece of land. Today, among the ten thousands of people in Doi Chaang, 80% are Akha. The total number of households is around 800. There are 10-20 persons living in each house, or it can be as many as 30 persons for some houses. Most people were issued with a Thai ID 5-6 years ago. They didn’t hold any official cards before that time. After selling the lands and got some money, our Lisaw friends moved to live in a better developed area. Because, in the past, this place here on Doi Chaang only served as a resting spot for people who kept migrating. In the past, nothing else was cultivated here but opium. So people who could find a better place would move out. It was not until 10 years ago when the cultivation of opium was totally stopped. Even when coffee started to emerge here, opium still did exist. The actual introduction of coffee cultivation in Doi Chaang took place in 1983. Around 40 persons cultivated coffee at that time on a trial basis. Opium started to fade out. However, the coffee did not yield much in term of productivity and the price was determined by the middle men only. At the beginning when coffee came in, there was a Thai-German Highland Development Project under a collaboration with The Public Welfare Department. They worked at Doi Laan. Nobody would live on Doi Chaang. It was a darkened area, the valley of danger, and the area for cultivating opium poppy. Any persons entering the area would never receive a good hospitality. Any way, it was one of the areas that His Majesty the King wanted people to stop cultivating opium. Then The Public Welfare Department started to enter the area and the Royal Project took role as the host. Some collaboration projects between Thailand and other countries, such as Thai-German and Thai-Australia, also came in. Coffee sprouts were distributed to 40

families, 400 sprouts each. Among these, 20 families were Lisaw people for cultivating in 20 Rais* of land and the other 20 families were Akha for cultivating in another 20 Rais. And that was the beginning.

Ardel: When we talk about the historical background of the village, nobody was able to compile everything successfully. But as far as I know, Doi Chaang was started by Hmong people first, and then by Lahu, Lisaw, Chinese Haw and Akha respectively in chronological order. Now there are only 3 groups: Lisaw, Chinese Haw and Akha. The latter share 80% of Doi Chaang population. By counting the generations of Akha for a consecutive period of 2,000 years, starting from the first generation living in China and in Myanmar until the generation of today, I am in the 57th generation of Akha tribe. So we put up 57 posts for the building of The Coffee Academy as the memorial for people in this 57th generation.
* 1 Rai = 0.4 Acres

Brother Wicha and Akha people of different generations

From the land of opium to the land of coffee

Historical Background of Coffee Cultivation on Doi Chaang
Before coffee cultivation and coffee processing were introduced to hilltribe people of Northern Thailand including the villagers of Doi Chaang, the people here cultivated opium, an economic crop of that time. Opium cultivation had caused a tremendous scale of forest devastation. The fertile watershed areas of the country were also destroyed. In 1983, His Majesty the King had an initiative to improve life quality of Thai hilltribe people. So His Majesty started the Royal Development Project as per his initiation offering the breeds of some other economic plants that could replace opium and would help reduce the devastation of the forests. Based on the initiation of H.M. the King, the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations had extended their assistance at a full capacity. Doi Chaang villagers were offered with Arabica coffee of a good breed for cultivation. They also received various kinds of technical supports all along after that. During the past 20 years, Doi Chaang villagers could not sell their coffee harvests for a high price. But after everybody gathered together and formed a coffee company of their own, they discovered that there was a great demand in the market for their coffee and people would offer a good price for their products. So all of them are proud of their capacity in producing Arabica coffee with a world class quality. Source: Website “doichaangcoffee.com”

Brother Wicha: At that time, H.M. the King wanted people to stop cultivating opium and the government authorities also wanted the same. So they brought some temperate plants into the area. There were a lot of projects at that time such as the ones of UNO (United Nations Organization), Thai-Norway Highland Development Project, Thai German Highland Development Project, Thai-Australia Highland Development Project, and so many others. The study about coffee cultivation was started seriously at that time. With regard to Doi Chaang, it is the same story that I mentioned before. Coffee was introduced here in 1983 and 40 families actually cultivated it as a pilot project. Peach, Japanese apricot, and macadamia were also introduced here apart from coffee. Based on our survey, among the 40 families who cultivated coffee of the first group, only 10 families were able to continue growing them for a long run. The rest of them slashed all coffee trees down because they could not sell their harvests. They did not hold Thai ID and they could not rely on the assistance from government offices either. Several government bodies were established just to ensure a good image of public sector. It has been like this for 30 years. And today, these authorities act even more inappropriately than before. Some of them are taking role as a merchant instead of doing their work at a full capacity. For the 10 families who keep cultivating until today, they do not want to cultivate coffee. The main reason was that after they slashed the coffee trees down, the trees did not die but kept budding again. So during the period before today, they just cultivated coffee very carelessly. It is not comparable to what they do today. Six years ago, Ardel was the village headman. He came down from Doi Chaang to meet me in the city of Chiang Rai for some advice. He told that he had 500-600 Rais (200-240 Acres) full of coffee trees but he could not sell the harvests. He slashed them down but they grew up again. Apart from seeking advice, he also provided me with some data he got from China when he was there. He told that people in China could sell coffee at a price of 60-70 Baht per kilogram. And he asked why the price offered to him was only 17-20 Baht per kilogram. (*30 Baht = US $1) So I went up the mountain in order to help him. Thirty years ago, I traveled all over places. I knew all the mountains well. So if some of my friends in the mountains had some problems, I would help or give advice. For example, if one of my friends was arrested, or another one


could not sell his products, I would help them as much as I could. It has been like this all along. It was a coincident in that given year. There was a short in supply of coffee in the market. The price in Chiang Mai was 70-80 Baht/Kg. So we tried to take our coffee to sell there. At the first contact, we were offered with a price of 60 Baht/Kg. So we told this to the villagers and collected the coffee together around 2-3 trucks. We hired tenwheel trucks to take them down the mountain and transferred to sixwheel trucks for sending to the merchants. But eventually, we were betrayed Our friends along the road to Chiang Dao and Fang also encountered the same situation. They were offered with one price at the first contact but were paid with another price upon delivery. The price paid to them was lowered by 50% off the agreed price. The merchants knew that we had no choice but to sell the coffee. It’s like a dead body arrived at the cemetery; it had to be cremated after all. I was so vengeful at that time. But today I feel grateful to those profiteers because they had driven us to establish Doi Chaang Coffee. These merchants are still working in coffee arena. They still act like a saint. Though they have gathered together as organizations, not working separately like before; they are still the same ghosts as before.

Ardel: I used to export something to China during a certain period. I came across a coffee smuggler while I was travelling in a ship. I

asked him about the place where he would sell the coffee, and he said ‘Thailand’. Then I started to think why he could sell his coffee but we couldn’t sell ours. Brother Wicha did not pay much attention at the first place when I asked him for some advice. He just said, ‘Is that true?’ And then he went up the mountain to see everything. Then he said that we had to do something. We cultivated coffee but we could not sell them at all or, if we could, we would get a very low price. The soil on Doi Chaang was very fertile. Every plant grew well on this soil. The supply of water was good and manpower was sufficient. However, everything came to an end with such a story. We could not sell the harvests. When Brother Wicha arrived, he told that he did not have any knowledge about coffee but we would have to find a way to resolve the situation, and that we had to study about everything first. So we went here and there seeking advice from knowledgeable persons in the area of coffee. We approached some technocrats and instructors at Chiang Mai University as well as some other persons in some other places. Some of these people did not pay attention at all while some others, like Ajarn Patchanee, assisted us at their full capacity. Initially there were 40 families on Doi Chaang that cultivated coffee, including 20 families of Lisaw people and 20 families of Akha people. However, those who cultivated coffee continuously for a long run was totaled as only 10 families. Six years ago when we started cultivating coffee up here, the cultivation areas were totaled as 500-600 Rais. Apart from coffee, we also cultivated eggplant, cabbage, and Japanese apricot. Though we had a lot of harvests of the plants but we could not sell large amount of them either. It was due to the same old story that we were not holding Thai ID. We had been determined to spend our life that way all along. In the past, if the merchants offered a price of 5 Baht per kilogram for our coffee, we would agree to sell it right away, because we didn’t know what to do with it. We didn’t have any alternative ways for selling. We didn’t hold Thai ID. When I learned that Chinese coffee could be sold at the price of 60 Baht per kilogram, I said to myself, What! I had to do something for this because villagers were really in trouble and this should be viewed as an injustice. So I came down to see Brother Wicha and have proceeded everything forwardly from that time.

The coffee flowers most people may haven’t seen

Part II : Budding


Origination of “Doi Chaang Coffee”
“Doi Chaang Coffee” was originated several years ago in the land of high mountains in the North of Thailand by Thai hilltribe people of Doi Chaang Village who gathered together and established a coffee company of their own. We had developed coffee cultivation and processing systems continuously for more than 20 years. However, we had to suffer disappointment about the marketing because the price offered for our harvests was too low and unfair. We had to sell high quality coffee at a very cheap price to the middlemen who blended our coffee with the coffee of a poor quality and sold them further. Also, there is a large amount of poor quality coffee smuggled across the border into Thailand each year. Because of the above reasons, we gathered together and established our own company to ensure the comprehensive production of coffee. We built our manufactory and storage buildings to produce and send directly to the market our high quality and single estate Arabica coffee. We cultivate coffee in the areas allocated to each family by the government. Everybody has strongly committed to do agricultural works in a sustainable manner, which would cause as minimal effects as possible to ecological system. Every step of the production is conducted very attentively to ensure the good taste of “Doi Chaang Coffee” in every cup that you take a sip of. Source: Website - doichaangcoffee.com

Brother Wicha: After we took the coffee down the mountain, sold it, and found out that we were eventually betrayed about the price, I told Ardel to calm down and said that I would join him in the business. If we could sell coffee at 60-70 Baht/Kg, then we could maintain our business, not 10 Baht or so per kilogram that we were offered.

I believed I knew a lot of people and I did have some friends whom I associated with. So I presented them with samples of coffee. They told me that somebody previously showed some samples to them the same as what I was doing. But when they received the whole lot of coffee, it was of a poor quality. The coffee was blended or inserted with something else. So I got an idea that ‘if our coffee is not good enough, we shouldn’t sell it’. So we stepped backward to find out more about the way that we could ensure the good quality of our coffee. Because of His Majesty the King, we now have 168 strains of coffee, more than those of any country around the world. There are three main coffee production areas around the globe. The biggest one is Portugal. They do not cultivate a lot of coffee but do have the biggest collection of coffee strains. Second to this country are Angola and Thailand respectively. We’ve got this rank because the government authorities have presented and have been doing some works here. H.M. the King wants everyone to stop opium, so every party tries to help. No one wants to see opium. Due to that reason, we received all strains of coffee from around the world since 1969. All these strains were planted on experimental basis at various agricultural centers like those in Tak, Phetchabun, Chiang Mai, and so on; totally more than 10 centers together. I regarded this as a very great job. However, everything had died down for 20 years. Nothing emerged out of this in a tangible way. So, apart from sitting down studying all the data, I also visited all of these agricultural centers; and almost all them cultivated coffee. I spent 7 months for asking them my questions. And at the same time, it was a chance for me to meet various instructors who love coffee but were tired of the coffee arena and the bureaucratic system that wouldn’t allow them to maximize any knowledge about coffee. These people keep providing me with some books and some data until today. So I have gathered all these knowledge and converted them into a more concrete practice. From cultivation area of 500-600 Rais in the past, we have expanded it up to almost 20,000 Rais (8,000 Acres) within a period of only 6 years. In term of productivity, we started from 18 tons per year and now we can produce thousands tons per year. In my perspective, Arabica coffee is a sustainable agricultural plant that can strengthen the economics well. Based on studies, we really have

a good preparedness in term of the coffee strains available in the country, and in term of the potentials of technocrats. The technocrats have done so many things during the past 30-40 years that we can maximize the knowledge upwardly from there.

Discussion around a bonfire during the old days

All the troubles to get through

Success = Knowledge + Experience + Strong Commitment
Brother Wicha: I have been a trekker for almost 30 years. I traveled to many places in Laos, Myanmar and China. It was not too difficult to travel across borders at that time. So I learned about trading business with people in the same generations of Ardel’s father and grandfather. The entire family bought forest products for sale. I used to do all these, picking up various things for sale. So I was quite exposed to such wisdom and knowledge. I used to be a travel companion of people from UNO (United Nations Organization). So I had a chance to see how the cultivation was promoted at Doi Angkhang in Fang district, and also in some other places; and I acquired such knowledge and experiences more and more over time. When I saw what Doi Chaang villagers were trying to do, I wanted to see that everything is carried out in a more tangible way. I am a serious reader. If I am interested in something, I will study extensively about it. When I decided to engage myself in coffee business, I didn’t think that as long as our friends in the mountain already had the coffee, then I didn’t have to do anything. I strongly confirm that we have developed a clear procedure for every step of the process. We have collected data and sought advice from knowledgeable persons. I was lucky to have Ajarn Patchanee Suwanwisonkit, an instructor at Chiang Mai University, to serve as my consultant. Her knowledge about coffee was very extensive. I consulted her about all the procedures ranging from the cultivation of coffee to the methods used for coffee processing. We didn’t want to do all these without any relevant knowledge. I had hundreds of books about coffee. So I knew about all places in the world that produce premium coffee. For example, Hawaii produces

Kona Coffee; Jamaica produces Blue Mountain Coffee; and so on. I studied all procedures and operational steps of these places and compared to ours, assessed whether everything was perfect and well prepared, and tried to resolve the areas that needed improvement. Our friends who had cultivated coffee here for 20 years were also eager to learn about all these. We collected the coffee we cultivated, sent it to Rome, Copenhagen and Germany for a quality check. We let them taste it. Everybody said it was a good coffee. However, it was the coffee belonging to the strain offered to us at the first place by the Department of The Public Welfare. But it was not good enough. Our processing after harvesting might not be good enough. After taking a sip, people who knew a lot about coffee would be able to tell whether it’s a good coffee or not. So we decided to change the way we would process our coffee. I called a meeting among 6-7 friends who worked together at that time and we decided to start everything all over again. We then studied seriously about all the procedures required for ensuring the quality of our coffee. And along the way towards improving our quality, we always had good luck. When we attend the meetings about coffee with representatives from various countries in Bangkok, Europe, and Asia-Pacific Region,

Improving land surface for building the factory and The Coffee Academy


The coffee roasting machine that costs 17 million Baht
we also brought our coffee for them to taste. So we were able to receive advice from the real knowledgeable people in area of coffee. Basing on this advice and the knowledge acquired from the texts, we gradually adjusted and changed our procedures. It took us for more than 4 years before we discovered how to come this far. So I would like to ask everybody to visit Doi Chaang. I want you to know that we are not crazy. We really have strong intention to do all these. The cost for building the factory on the mountain was twice as much comparing to the cost for building in lowland area. However, we were willing to do so because we wanted everybody to see the location where Doi Chaang Coffee was originated. In my perspective, it seems that in the past we were sitting on top of a diamond mine. We were the laborers digging diamonds for some other people who took them for sale. Local people in general worked as laborers; local wise men worked as merchants; and the persons wiser than these two groups worked as the traders who took these diamonds to the outside for cutting and marketing. For one kilogram of stone, we would get only one or one and a half karats of diamond after cutting; but we can sell this amount of diamond for a fortune.

So if we think about the comprehensive system of production, why don’t we let our friends here to work as the diggers, cutters or lapidaries for these diamonds. It’s better for them to create jewelry products for sale themselves. In fact, we have the capacity to do everything in every step. That’s why we didn’t mind buying the roasting machine at the cost of 10-20 million Baht. Most people would buy a roasting machine that costs only 200,000 – 300,000 Baht but we bought the one that costs 17 million Baht.

Ardel: Doi Chaang Coffee has achieved its success because we do have friends. We also have the opportunities given to us by others. But this doesn’t mean that we are so capable of doing things. H.M. the King has given us a lot. This success was originated from the King. His Majesty had a very good insight about this possibility, and was the one who brought in the breeds and strains of coffee for us. The success also comes from the diligence of our villagers. Today, after waking up in the morning, Doi Chaang villagers will go to coffee orchard, stay there and sleep there. They stay with coffee from morning till bedtime. Coffee is their life. After the class is over, children will come back from school and stay in coffee orchard too. At the beginning we started with 500-600 Rais (200-240 Acres) for cultivating coffee and now the cultivating area has expanded to 20,000 Rais (8,000 Acres). There are almost no empty spaces at the moment. They are all used for cultivating coffee. Villagers cultivated a large number of new coffee trees this year. They have to wait for 3 years before the trees will yield harvests. While waiting, villagers also grow some other plants between coffee trees, such as eggplant, chayote, macadamia, Chinese pear, etc., and they can earn from these plants during the interim. Growing these kinds of plant is also good for coffee trees because they need such natural canopy. Now the villagers also grow stink bean to serve as the fertilizer for coffee and to provide natural shade in a long run.



Empowered by Resentment
Apart from the resentment due to the betrayals of the merchants and from being forced to sell our coffee at a very low and unfair price; there also are some other resentments that serve as a major driving factor for the establishment and steady growth of Doi Chaang Coffee. Brother Wicha: I want hilltribe people, especially our Akha friends, to regain their dignity. You may have seen in the news about the group of people who came up the mountains to buy coffee from hilltribe people. Most of them always run a campaign persuading everybody to buy the coffee, otherwise the hilltribe women would go working as a prostitute, and the men would be take a job as a drug dealer, or they would cultivate opium. That was very rude. There were several westerners who came to earn a living in Thailand. They bought 2 tons of coffee from the Royal Project and also bought coffee from an unknown source, mixed two kinds of coffee together and put out for sale. They made an advertisement persuading people to buy the coffee claiming that it was the coffee from the Royal Project. That ‘s the way they earned for a living. Another famous Coffee Company also did the same. They bought maybe only 2-3 tons of coffee of a well-known brand, such as the one from Ethiopia, but claimed that all coffee in their storage came from such a country. It was the marketing strategy that tried to take advantage over people in any possible ways. Then they put a few kinds of premium coffee for sell on the shelf but the coffee they used for brewing in the shop was a very cheap one. The cost of the coffee they used for brewing one cup was only one or two Baht but they sold it for a hundred Baht or so. Any way, people were excited to buy it. They were the victims of the advertisement. Both the middlemen and some government officers treat hilltribe people as an idiot. They said hilltribe people never got what they had tried to teach; and that’s why hilltribe people had not made any progress after cultivating coffee for 20 years. They just simply blame the hilltribe people. Then they acted as if they were the beggars when they tried to sell coffee. They asked people to buy coffee, otherwise the hilltribe people would die from starvation.

Therefore, we want to sell coffee of a good quality in order to show people that this what we want. We want Thailand to gain a reputation for its capacity in cultivating coffee of a premium quality. We are not beggars. What we want to sell is the quality. You can sell coffee like a beggar for one or two times only. The merchants may buy the coffee because they love H.M. the King and love the country and so try to help. But they can’t do this so often because they will get bored. Any way, we won’t try to be very stylish and we won’t try to create any trend either. We just feel confident that we can produce good coffee of a world class quality. We will expose everybody to the best coffee. We will let everybody know about Thailand, about Doi Chaang; and know that we have the best product here. We will be happy already if we can do only all these things successfully. Another thing that triggered off the final part of my perseverance in improving Doi Chaang Coffee toward an excellence was the insulting speech of a technocrat from a foreign country. He said that within a following period of 20 years, it would be impossible to have any significant development regarding coffee in Thailand. He gave the reason that there had not been any progress since 1969. Some other technocrats, whom we used to work or consult with and who have stayed in Thailand from that year till present, also think the same. Why?..… Because these people cannot take any action to address it, or do not have a chance to do so. They just try to obstruct each other by trickery. Several of them will be retired soon so they won’t come down to address the issue. There is no reason for them to come down and get hurt, and no reason to start everything all over again. If they do it and fail, then they will be blamed. It’s simply better not to do anything. All budget proposals didn’t make sense. Everything was a deception and no progress had been made in this area. They deceived each other successively from bottom level to the top. All ministers were chosen based on a quota system. Only few of them knew well about the issues. This is quite obvious. Some technocrats said that cultivating coffee would devastate the forests and caffeine is hazardous to human health. I responded that they might know well about something in the area of their expertise but it didn’t mean that they would know well about everything. So they shouldn’t speak about something outside the fields of their expertise


because it would cause a negative effect on others. Cultivating coffee does not devastate the forests at all. It is contrary to what many people think. Let’s talk about the banks. I used to deal with a bad banker. He wrote in our guest book that he came up the mountain to ask for the back payment for the loan but he didn’t see us. I keep this note on my desk all the time to remind me that he was one of the persons that triggered off my perseverance. Also, when you look at coffee circle in a broader scope, it’s a matter of monopoly. The coffee market is monopolized by Japanese and westerners’ companies. Let’s look at the big hotels of today. They were established with the investment cost of hundreds or thousands million Baht. Most of them use the coffee of a poor quality that they bought for 200-300 Baht per kilogram to serve to their guests. They really insult the coffee lovers. Among the five-star hotels in Thailand and most of the airliners, they really compete with each other about the wines they serve. But when it comes to coffee, they serve cup-washed water to the guests. Well, because, if the guest want to drink whiskey or wine, they have to pay for that. But for the coffee served at a specific area like at a meeting or a workshop, they have to provide it for free. So they try to save their budget as much as possible. No matter how big a hotel is, it is good already if 3-4 out of 100 persons at managerial level would have some knowledge about coffee. For several hotels that we approached and tried to sell our coffee to, they did not consider much about coffee but the coffee machine to be used. Because, a big company would bring a machine for them and that company would be eligible to supply coffee to them for indefinite period and through a monopolized system. We cannot do like that because we have spent all of our money in our research to improve the quality of our coffee. And we don’t like the idea about giving out a machine in exchange of getting a monopoly in supplying our coffee to them. Some hotel managers switched the coffee they used from some other brands to Doi Chaang brand. But when they changed a manager, the new manager switched back to use the coffee of the previous brand. These people had some benefits from doing so. Such a system does exist. These (coffee) companies have taken advantage for 30 years,


even before some of these hotels were established. We have studied all about this very deeply. Not so many people know that coffee cultivators are the underprivileged. Our villagers here, our friends in South America, and those in Africa are being under pressure. So I decided to fight. I’m not afraid at all.

Ardel: Talking about resentment, it was obvious when I tried to borrow a roasting machine and they did not lend one to us. They did not support or help us to maximize our work at all. That was the main issue. Everything else was just a matter of petulance in general. For example, when we set up and ran a booth in Bangkok, we wore traditional hilltribe costumes. People acted strangely when they saw us. Some taxi drivers did not allow us to get in their cars. They might be afraid that they would not be able to communicate with us. It might be a strange situation for them. Also, we were not allowed to take the sky train. They asked whether we could speak Thai. However, we do not feel uncomfortable at all. We are proud of everything we have and of everything we have shown to others. We may feel a little bit petulant about the fact that most foreigners value us a lot but Thai people don’t.

Turning a mountain into The Coffee Academy

Brother Wicha: We do everything by ourselves here on Doi Chaang. For example, when we bought our first roasting machine for 7 million Baht, we managed everything about the purchase by ourselves. Initially, we made a contact through the Thai Embassy in Italy requesting a coffee-roasting expert to come and assist us for only one month. A person contacted us back through the Embassy. He proposed that, during the period of such specific month, he would work for only 20 days and take a vacation for the rest; and he requested 6 million Baht for remuneration. So we decided to operate the machine ourselves - turning it on and turning it off. Sometimes the machine caught fire because we got confused. We didn’t know how to do it. So we took the principle of trial and error. Any way, I was quite confident that if we had a strong intention, we could do everything successfully. Also, I felt bad to see our children left their home in the mountain to work in a gas station for a salary of 600 Baht (US $ 20). Some of them went to Ratchaburi province to take a job as a welding mechanic. So we asked all of them to come back. When these young people saw the machine, they said they could operate it. Some of them used to work in a big factory and they could write a blue print of the machine and build up some parts for fixing it themselves. What we needed to purchase were the parts that required high technology for them to function. But importantly, we wanted to learn and operate the machine by ourselves. For the coffee-milling machine, we bought it from a factory that produced the ones for milling rice. Then we modified it for milling coffee. It took us more than a year before it became a very good coffee miller. Apart from manufacturing the milling machines for our own use, we also export them to Indonesia and Laos PDR. A coffee-milling machine made by westerners would cost 7-8 times more comparing to the machine we make. We have created a better design, can build it as a lower cost, and we can buy all the equipment and materials here in Thailand. If we want to use a fancy word, this is the ‘Learning by Doing’ learning from practice. Our children used to work in a gas station and in a factory. They can write out a blue print from looking at a real machine. They know where to buy equipment and all the parts; and then they assemble everything together. It might be because of the good luck as well. However, we wouldn’t

have any luck if we didn’t put in our efforts, or if we didn’t have initiation. These children know how to maximize everything. They do not do only the works they are told to do. In each specific month, everything keeps changing in a non-stop manner. Today is not the same as yesterday but it always better than before. This is the good luck of Doi Chaang. Everybody has a high level of patience. When opportunity allows, these young people do their works at their full capacity - as if their diligence glands are so hyperactive. Apart from making the equipment and machines by ourselves, we also built all the buildings here on our own including the building of The Coffee Academy. We bought the cement and dragged in the power lines ourselves. We also bought this piece of land because the lands of our friends were located quite far away and behind the mountain. This location was suitable for being developed as a factory; so we bought it. This factory was started from nothing. I put up a tent here and lied down reading the books. I asked local people about geographic condition of the place and started having quite a number of new friends. All of us had to seek a loan – one or two million Baht each. All of us who had worked together did not have salary. No one lived a luxurious life. All the vehicles we bought were best utilized. Ardel: When Brother Wicha told people that we would set up a roasting factory, no one believed him and asked whether he was crazy. However, we kept insisting about this idea. We put up a tent for sleeping at night. And during the day, Brother Wicha and I dug the holes for driving the piles of the factory. Before we decided to build the roasting factory, we had no idea about the quality of our coffee. So we took a very first step by sending the coffee for a quality check in a foreign country. We wanted to know how good it was and what was the status we were in. At that time, I submitted a request to borrow a roasting machine from a government office but they didn’t lend one to us. We had to rely on somebody else – sending the coffee for them to roast, hiring them to roast coffee for us for several rounds. However, they could not satisfy us with the output of the roast. So we had to do this ourselves, set up a roasting factory of our own. The first roasting machine was purchased from a foreign country at the cost of 7 million Baht. We didn’t know how to operate it so they sent someone to teach us. He was a German. Upon his arrival, he was so surprised and couldn’t believe that there was Doi Chaang Coffee on earth. He stayed with us for almost 2 months.

I couldn’t believe when Brother Wicha said we would buy a roasting machine at a price of several million Baht. At that time, we almost ran out of the money for buying foods. Though we had improved the surface and the level of land but we needed more money to install the power lines and have the power system in place. We needed 485,000 Baht more and we he had to drag the power lines from outside into the village ourselves. So we had to sell our vehicle and we got 320,000 Baht (US $ 10,000) from doing so. This amount was not enough. So all the villagers had to put together all the money they gained from selling coffee and used it for this purpose. We started to seriously take our harvests for sale at that time because Brother Wicha was holding Thai ID. If you ask whether the villagers were willing to join the effort, it might be possible that they were not. But we had no choice. I had to do that because it was necessary. Everybody had to contribute and put everything together. We needed to break their rice pots first. That means I didn’t ask but forced them to contribute. For example, if a family got 50,000 Baht from selling coffee, I deducted 40,000 Baht from them for using for this purpose. I deducted the amounts from that kind of money until we were able to set up the roasting factory. Then we asked our villagers to come and live together in the same area. Before this, they lived separately from each other. We had to find a way for bringing them to live together because they had contributed their money until we had the factory, which they all shared the ownership. Let’s talk about roasting. We had gone through an experimental and learning process, in which we roasted and threw away a large amount of coffee worth millions of Baht before we discovered the roasting technique that we wanted, which is the Premium Roast. The allowable maximum time for roasting by this technique is 17 minutes. It’s all right to reveal this information. No need to keep it as a secret because everything depends on the coffee beans not the technique. This processing technique just happens to be suitable for Doi Chaang Coffee. We have gone through all kinds of the experiments. We kept trying until we discovered the most suitable processing technique for Doi Chaang Coffee. We want our coffee to have this specific characteristic. In Thailand, we determine such a characteristic. But for a foreign country, they buy raw material from us and it is up to them how they would like to roast the coffee. It depends on culinary culture of each one. Canada, Korea, Japan, each of them has a culinary culture of each own. If you take a sip of Doi Chaang Coffee in a foreign country, the taste will be different from that of the one available in Thailand. The taste varies according to the choice of preference for each country.


Crisis = Opportunity + Friendship + Motivation
Brother Wicha: Doi Chaang Coffee has gone through several rounds of crisis. We almost lost the business in the 3rd and 4th year. We faced a very serious financial crisis because the bankers were not sincere with us. They did not approve a bank loan as they previously agreed. At that time, the global supply of coffee was very short and the merchants knew that we had financial problem. The villagers were also caught in a bad situation. They came to us requesting for money but we didn’t have any to give them. Meanwhile, the merchants came up the mountain with millions of Baht in cash for buying coffee. We had no choice but to sell our coffee in exchange of the cash. As these merchants had been waiting to buy, so we had to sell. And we sold all the coffee we had in our storage. If the banks kept their promise, there would not be any problems. These bankers were just the merchants who traded money. If we were rich, we didn’t have to borrow money from them. And during such period, we wasted 7 months without productivity. In fact, we also had to pay for the air fare and hospitality expenses for them. I felt that sometimes the bankers seemed to be a kind person. But when we walked together under an umbrella and it was going to rain; they took the umbrella back right away – leaving us to get wet alone. I respectfully told a high rank person that if he would send someone to study something here, he should send someone who had relevant knowledge, had confidence in us, and had enough time for us. I asked him not to send anyone who only knew how to collect data. It would be like a child who would take lessons and take a test until getting a doctorate degree but actually could not do anything at all. Political and in-depth issues within the banking circle were their direct concerns. So it’s their responsibility to address these themselves. They should not take us, the moderate-level investors and those of a lower scale, to get involved. These bankers took a major part in causing the failure in the business of these people. While we were totally abandoned by the banks, our fate was not too twisted. We were lucky to have some friends who loved Doi Chaang very much as if we were the members of their families. I would like to

mention a few names as an example: Sister Ben and Khun Phakphum in Chiang Mai, Khun Idd and khun O in Bangkok, and so many others. Everybody lent us a helping hand and shared an effort to resolve our contingent problem. The amounts contributed by this group of friends were totaled as 30 million Baht (US $ 1 million). We have not forgotten and will never forget their kind assistance. Though we had to get through a lot of troubles, however, we had got quite a number of good friends along the way. Some of them whom we didn’t know before just came in with tens of million Baht to assist us. It’s a proof that we never gave up. There also were some crisis in other areas but not so important. For example, some agencies surrounding us talked to each other that Doi Chaang was doing this and doing that. Many of them visited our place and released some negative information afterward to discredit us. For example, a person said that we used coffee business to launder the money gained from selling narcotics. I used to be petulant, however, in another perspective, it serves as the motivation for me. The villagers had run this for 30 years without much development. And within a few years after my engagement, everything has been developed in a tangible way. I came across the content of a project proposal requesting for financial support. It described that Doi Chaang would not be able to do anything. The soil was not fertile; and local people were silly, lazy and stubborn. I translated these phrases for young villagers to read and hear how other people looked at them. Today, I would like to ask such people back whether they or the villagers are silly. Even with a good educational background, these people do not have a capacity to communicate well enough with the villagers to make them work efficiently and yield effective results. Meanwhile, the villagers who finished grade 3 or grade 5 from school are taking care of the business with a very high turnover of tens or hundreds of million Baht. My friends also insulted me. They said it wouldn’t be possible. So what? After giving them a tangible demonstration, the villagers were able to do it well. Once at a dining table, I had to respond very rudely to a person. He asked me ‘how many tablets’ (of narcotic) I would take back from the mountain during a following trip. But it’s all right. I had to forget all about this when I was back in the mountain. A lot of works were waiting for us to do.

There is one thing I really take the pride of. This place has become the knowledge center about coffee. Children and young people have a chance to learn and practice. It’s no use for them to go to school in educational system because they are not holding any ID any way. Some teachers also look down upon them. They’d better come and learn here. The previous building of The Coffee Academy was blown down by a storm. The entire building collapsed. We spent 4-5 months to construct it but the storm took only 10 minutes to devastate everything. I let everybody take a rest for 2 days and then we took out all the ruins and built a new building. There was no room for discouragement and no need to wait for assistance from others. If you ask whether I felt discouraged at the beginning. Yes! I felt discouraged every day. However, I couldn’t give up. And after 3-4 years had passed and everybody already trusted and had confidence in me; if I showed any discouragement to these young men for even once, everything would turn into a disaster. I have to be strong in front of the public. But I can tell you that I used to lie down crying alone in bed; and I did that for more than once. However, it’s fun. And this is life. Ardel: Today, no matter how people would treat us an insulting way, I don’t pay much attention. I just let go. It’s more important for us to show them how well we can do our jobs. In the opposite way, their insults may serve as a driving factor for us to work harder. And that’s a good thing. Before we can come this far, we were occasionally tripped along the way. It is the same as when you drive a car, sometimes a tyre may be punctured. But we had to move on. We wanted to build up everything here. This is an example of the success of the people who stood up and worked together, and helped each other. Everybody in other areas or other mountains can also do the same. You can come here and take this place as a model. And if you have any problems, you can consult us at any time. We want to share what we have because it is not ours. It belongs to everybody. We have never felt possessive and we won’t keep everything as a secret either. We want to share and disseminate information about the things we have learned or have found to all Thai people.”


Growing up Little by Little
Brother Wicha: Doi Chaang village is now being divided into 3 villages because it has grown up very fast. The new neighborhood is around 6-7 kilometers away from the original one (Moo 3 Baan Doi Chaang) and such new villages have already been assigned with a new number of the village (Moo #). The community does expand very rapidly. After the information about coffee and a guaranteed income of 30,00040,000 Baht per Rai (US $ 1,000-1,300 per 0.4 Acre) was spread out, almost all of the villagers who had moved to other places, as well as Bangkok, have moved back to the mountain. Government authority has tried to divide the village into smaller ones for the sack of the easiness in administration; and in order to get more budgets allocated. For example, they will be allocated with 1 million Baht if there is only one village. But if they divide one village into four, then they can get 4 million Baht. For the cultivation of Arabica coffee, the area of Doi Chaang is suitable in all aspects. The coffee of this strain can grow well at an altitude of a little bit more than 1,000 meters, or at any altitudes higher than this. In Thailand, all the areas of such altitude are regarded as the preserved forests. It is lucky for people of Doi Chaang that the authority has assigned around 20,000 Rais (8,000 Acres) for using as cultivating area; and this is definitely enough for cultivating coffee. However, villagers must not carelessly invade the forests further. If we manage properly, this area would be enough for the people in these existing 800 families or so. Many people may think that the cultivation of coffee will devastate the forests. This is not true. Coffee trees can grow well when they are cultivated under the shade of other plants. They can be cultivated in addition to the plants of some other kinds in any orchards or plantations; and this is a good method of cultivating coffee. Before we can come this far, I had to prove everything for the villagers to see because nobody believed me. The villagers were disappointed before. People from government offices came up and talked to the villagers like a candidate running an election campaign saying that they would help improve everything. Such speakers were technocrats and they did have their offices here in the mountain. Even with all that, they couldn’t do anything successfully since 1987. And when I came, people just wondered if I could make any difference.

So I decided not to talk to the villagers in such a fashion but talk to them individually one after one. I asked each villager how much he earned from selling his coffee in the previous year. If he earned 30,000 Baht, I guaranteed that he would get the same amount in that given year but with one condition. He had to do everything follow my suggestion. No matter what happened, I would definitely give him 30,000 Baht. But if we could sell for more than that, perhaps 50,00060,000 Baht, he could get the entire amount. In a cultivation area like this, and if they do everything as I suggested, I’m quite confident. Today, those who earned 30,000-40,000 Baht in the past can earn millions of Baht. When everything became more concrete, other villagers started to do the same. After we applied technical knowledge in our works, the harvest-yielding rate increased 4-5 times from 80-100 kg/Rai to more than 400 kg/Rai. When people witnessed the success of their friends and a high price we offered, they also wanted to do the same. The cultivation areas then increased from 500-600 Rais to 20,000 Rais within a few years. The growth was dramatic. We have established 12 organizations of a small size. The villagers were asked to gather together, form an organization, and develop a managerial body for each organization by themselves. Each organization comprises 50-60 families who take care of each other. Furthermore, The Coffee Academy was established to oversee the practice of villagers and to provide knowledge on how to store coffee properly. The villagers don’t have to worry, if they can maintain their capacity to produce good coffee, then we always have the markets to accommodate their harvests. I also keep travelling most of the time to look for a potential market, to coordinate the construction of a factory, and to set up a joint venture in a foreign country. In the future, if we can harvest 20,000 Rais (8,000 Acres) in each year, we will have at least 6,000 tons of coffee per year. That would be really great. If each and single village can harvest 6,000 tons per year and the guaranteed price offered is the same as it is today, the cash flow in such village for the raw materials alone would be 600 million Baht (US $ 20 million). But when these raw materials are processed further, there would be a very huge amount of the value added. Four years ago I said that one day this village and this mountain would bring a lot of money, billions Baht per year, into the country. I didn’t say that just for fun. We almost reach that point. That is, the total figure outside the country has already reached this point. But if we look at the sale volume in Thailand, which shares only 5%, it’s another story.

But at least, the cash amount of hundreds million Baht keeps flowing. The business grows rapidly but in a tangible way. You should go up to Doi Chaang and explore everything. Every corner in Doi Chaang is full of coffee trees. In Doi Chaang, we do not cultivate coffee based on a theory from a textbook but mainly on geographic spaces available. And there is no exception for a small space between rocks. Ardel: On the first day when I came down to meet Brother Wicha, I didn’t think that we would have our coffee for export. I just wanted to do something to ensure that Doi Chaang villagers could sell their coffee and be self-sufficient. At that time I was occupied with a thought that how an opium planter like me could do anything else. We cultivated opium for generations and we had never been exposed to the world of coffee before. We just wished that we could sell our coffee at a price good enough for survival or for maintaining the business. But today, we export coffee at a price of 14 dollars per kilogram. It’s beyond our expectation. For example, one of our elder fellows used to work as an instructor in Mae Sruai district. He has switched his career from teaching to cultivating coffee; and has brought back his wife and children to stay here too. All young villagers who used to work at a gas station also came back. They got only 500-700 Baht a month while working at the gas stations. Now all of them have become a wealthy person from involving in coffee business here. With regard to annual income, some families can earn 1-2 million (Baht) per year. My brother-in-law gets almost 1 million Baht. Each family of coffee cultivators in Doi Chaang has a minimal income of 30,000 Baht/Rai/year. The crops are harvested only once in a year, and that is in winter. And during the period before harvesting time, everybody must take care of the coffee trees very well. Doi Chaang Coffee emphasizes the proper practice that ensures a standardized production process. All the cherries must be sent to the factory on the same day that they are picked. If the villagers fail to do so, we will decline to buy those cherries, because when the cherries are kept overnight in a bag, they will get rotten or spoiled. And when the cherries become rotten, a fungus will grow. We are very careful about this. If they do not deliver on the same day, we won’t accept the cherries. We have the name list of all cultivators and we know the date when each one picks the cherries. The ripe cherries will be put into a well for sorting out the ones with good quality and those of a poor quality. The ones with good quality will sink. And we will take out the floating ones and keep them separately for selling to others undergraded.


From Doi Chaang to Canada

From Thailand to International Markets

After we had researched and analyzed until we felt confident that Doi Chaang is a coffee of world class quality, and with our vision about disseminating good coffee to serve people throughout the world; we then tried to look for a possibility of exporting the coffee to other countries. We were quite sure that we would gain recognition and reputation for Thailand through such exportation. We export Doi Chaang Coffee to several countries around the globe. We also entered into a joint venture agreement with the businesspersons from Canada. Our counterpart in the joint venture has a lot of experiences in coffee business and those in some other areas at international level. The counterpart also enjoys a great success from developing some businesses in Thailand for more than two decades. The mentioned joint venture has set up a coffee manufactory and has served as the marketing agent for Doi Chaang Coffee covering the countries in North America and Europe. This marketing channel would pave a way toward the success in distributing Arabica coffee of a premium quality from Thailand to coffee drinkers around the world who prefer good coffee. The company jointly established by coffee cultivators in Doi Chaang and the businesspersons in Canada is named as “Doi Chaang Coffee International Corp.”. The main purpose of this joint venture is to introduce the premium-quality and single-estate Arabica coffee of Doi Chaang to international markets. Source: Website - doichaangcoffee.com

Brother Wicha: The idea of joining a business with Canada was introduced by Khun Idd (Pornprapa Bunmusik), a very good friend of Doi Chaang and one of those who helped us at the very beginning. She’s a friend of John Darch and she took him for drinking a cup of coffee. Khun John really liked Doi Chaang Coffee because he normally drank several cups of coffee a day and he had no idea before that such a good quality coffee would be available in Thailand. Before we met the team from Canada, there were so many other parties who tried to approach us. However, each group requested to take part in the process of production; and to invest and hold some shares in our company. At that time we had already put in more than 40 million Baht (US $ 1.4 million) for the investment. Some of the westerners, Korean and Japanese offered to put in the additional amount of 1.5 - 4 million US dollars for investing in shares but we denied all the offers. For the team from Canada, they spent a period of two years to prove everything about us. They took some samples of coffee for checking and sent some people to discuss with us for 3-4 rounds. When they arrived and came up the mountain, they witnessed our security and the quality of our coffee. They saw how we lived together, what we were doing, and they was touched with a feeling that we did not do this for money but establishing an organization to strengthen the community. So they asked if they could join our business without investing anything on the part of the production; and whether we would agree about an idea. They proposed that we would send our coffee selling it to them at a price with no margins; set up a company together with them in Canada; sell the coffee, and divide the profits on a half-and-half basis after deducting all the actual expenses. That was how it started. We are going to use the same kind of approach in dealing with our potential counterparts in some other countries. We think this strategy would help our brothers and sisters to become self-sufficient. It will also bring the profits gained in such countries back to Thailand and into the hands of these farmers because all of them share the ownership of such companies. Actually Khun John is a businessman who has worked in Thailand for quite a while. He flew back and forth between Canada and Thailand for 2-3 rounds in a year. Previously he worked as the Director of Potash mine in Udon Thani province. He sold it all out in order to shift all of his effort to work extensively with us in coffee business.

Khun John and Khun Wayne came to honor the open ceremony of The Coffee Academy, 16th April 2007
In Canada, Khun John asked one of his friends, Khun Wayne Fallis, to join the business with Doi Chaang establishing “Doi Chaang Coffee International Corp.”. This company was registered 3 years ago. We send raw material – the coffee beans- to this company at the price without margins to roast there for the sack of freshness. We sell and expand the markets together; and that’s good. Everything goes quite smoothly so far and we both have entered into a long-term business contract, the period of which is 5+5 years. During the past three years, Doi Chaang Coffee were on sale in Canada. We had more than 100 stores just in Vancouver alone; and consumers in Canada started to accept Doi Chaang Coffee within a short period. However, last year (2007), we started to have a problem related to The Fair Trade issue. Major chain companies, with 300400 stores attached to each one, wanted us to supply them with our coffee for selling in their stores. However, we could not do as per the request because there was a restriction defined in the rules and regulations. That is, we must attain the eligibility for putting a Fair Trade label on our products first. Due to the fact that during the past 10-20 years, some big enterprises in coffee business approached the farmers right in their coffee orchards and took advantage of them through an unfair trade. So a number of organizations tried to address the issue and protect these farmers. And as a result, such major chain companies cannot buy our coffee unless we hold a membership of such organizations. This issue is fairly new to us.

Now people like our coffee and want to buy it; but we cannot sell to them unless we have the mentioned logo. We have tried to resolve the issue and a considerable amount of progress has been made. When this issue is totally resolved and we are allowed to use the Fair Trade logo; we will have hundreds of additional stores within 3 days for selling Doi Chaang Coffee. At this moment we can sell Doi Chaang Coffee only in a small store. We cannot increase the number of our outlets because, from dosing so, we will have to share the same stores with the major chain companies. Then they will use the Fair Trade issue to block us. As of now, I have submitted the request for The Fair Trade logo in both America and Europe. They will send someone to check whether we really practice a fair trade, because in some locations the profiteers pay the farmers a very cheap price for coffee. Sometimes one kilogram of the green beans they buy is cheaper than a cup of coffee sold in their shops. These people would ask (coffee cultivation) cooperatives to sign a long-term contract (for selling at a fixed price); and the leaders (of farmers) do not know about this trick. This kind of incident occurs in every country that was colonized before. Coffee cultivators had been the slaves for hundreds of years. It was not until very recently when some people started to separate away to cultivate and sell coffee by themselves in a small estate. For us, if we have only ten tons of the harvests like before, we can do like that. But now we have thousands tons, so we cannot limit ourselves to fight only in the arena of kick boxing in Thai style. We must get familiarized with and accept the international rule to compete on stage of global level. In fact, we are ready. They can come and check everything here to rule out the unfair trade. What we have established has gone far beyond what they are thinking about. However, some issues are very hard for us to explain to them. For example, if they come and see the children aged 8-9 years or the elders aged 70-80 years picking coffee cherries, they may develop a misunderstanding that is hard for us to clarify. Because, in our perspective, this is the folkway of living together. When the mothers and fathers are in coffee orchard, children and aged people would come and stay with and help them. While we view this as the happiness within a family, the foreigners may think of the


use of children’s labour or that of aged people. Any way, we have to try to clarify this with them. During the previous years, we did not send a large quantity of coffee beans to Canada. We sent only 80-100 tons per year. However, there is a growing trend of the markets there. And after we attain the eligibility to use the Fair Trade logo both in Europe and America, our markets will be expanded to a very large scale. Our next step is seriously to open the markets in the USA. We believe that within the next 1-2 years, Doi Chaang Coffee will be able to dominate most of the markets in Canada, America and Europe. (Now we got The Fair Trade logo already.) And most recently regarding Europe, after trying to resolve some issues with various parties for several months, we are going to set up a company under the name of “Doi Chaang Thailand” and set up a factory in the town of Voghera, Milan, Italy. In joining this effort with Italy, we apply the same system as what we used for Canada and other countries. That is, we try to find an honest partner whom we can trust to invest together with us. We will sell our coffee beans to this partner at a price without margins; and will do all the marketing together. This is a win-win situation in which the security of both parties can be guarantied. I mean our security and partners in all the countries we are dealing with. Doi Chaang Coffee is very distinctive comparing to others. It is the coffee coming from a “single origin” and its quality is very consistent. From the first to the last cup you drink, such a good quality is unchanged. We produce 1,000 tons of coffee or so in each year; and we allocate our products to different countries based on the demand in the markets. The market will expand to a bigger scale within a few years, we believe. However, this is not a big concern for us because our production capacity will grow as well. We forecast that within a few years, our production capacity will reach 4,000-5,000 tons per year. And by that time, both parties – the partners in Thailand and those in a foreign country – will grow together.


Part III : Blooming

Origination of the Brand and Logo
Brother Wicha: I decided to use Doi Chaang as the name of the brand in order to honor the location where the coffee is produced. Brothers and sisters here in Doi Chaang have cultivated the coffee for more than 20 years, it would not be appropriate if we take the coffee down the mountain and name its brand after a foreign name, or a name of an irrelevant person. I don’t think it’s a proper idea to do so Doi Chaang Coffee is produced here as a single estate coffee, and at the altitude of 1,200 meters or higher over sea level. These altitudes are considered as the best qualification of an area for coffee cultivation. And the coffee suitable for cultivating at such altitudes is of the ‘strictly hard bean’ type, which would grow slowly and would take a longer time for their cherries to get ripe comparing to the coffee from other places. As it takes a longer time for them to get ripe, they can accumulate a larger amount of minerals from the soil. The density of their beans will be higher and very distinctive from the beans of the coffee from other sources. But when we tried to file a registration under the name of Doi Chaang, the authority declined to accept this name and gave several reasons for the declination. I had to explain that giving an honor to the location where the coffee could grow well is a good thing. Blue Mountain is a location in a mountain range in Jamaica, and Kona is an area in Hawaii Islands. These coffees were able to use such names and they could make a successful sale volume too. And if our product was good, I didn’t believe that it would not be popular in the market only because it’s under a Thai brand name. I believe in the idea about the source of origination. The land is like a mother. If you don’t honor your mother, then who else would you honor? So I insisted to use this name to file the registration and I did it successfully in the first year when I felt sure that everything would come true. Initially, I planned to do it for only 3,000 Rais (1,200 Acres), just enough to ensure self-sufficiency and a better income for the villagers. But

today it’s beyond expectation. It keeps expanding and has been maximized all the time. I once met a person whom we sent green beans for him to roast. He worked in Vancouver and had done this job for 30 years. He said that any other kinds of coffee with the same taste and characteristic as those of Doi Chaang have all vanished from this world. Doi Chaang Coffee can be roasted to obtain various kinds of roasted beans, ranging from the mildest roast to the most darken roast, without losing its identity. You may get a new taste and odor but its identity will be the same. We have been ranked in the top chart for all premium coffees in the world by 30 experts who voted for us. Initially we got 60 points; and then 4 years later we got 93 points. I didn’t think that our rank in the chart would move upwards so quickly. We have used the picture of the face of Ardel’s father as our logo. His name is Mr. Piko Saedoo. He was a very good person and people in the mountain always respect a good person. Also, Mr. Piko has cultivated coffee from the very beginning until today. Apart from honoring the land where the coffee is cultivated, I also respect and would like to honor these villagers who love coffee and love the stuff given to them by H.M. the King. They might illegally cultivate opium in the past. But when H.M. the King brought coffee into the area for them to plant, they agreed to cultivate it. For people with such background, I think they can achieve anything easily. We also thought about using the pictures of somethings else such as an elephant, a cat and so on. Finally we decided to use the picture of Ardel’s father because he has cultivated coffee since 1983 until today. We took a photograph of him and sent it for transforming into a graphic design as seen in the logo. Without this group of people, all coffee trees may have vanished from Doi Chaang since a long time ago.

Ardel: When Brother Wicha was going to use the picture of my father as our logo, I thought about it and asked Brother Wicha why he wouldn’t use the picture of himself instead. He said he was not the one who originated Doi Chaang Coffee but my father was. My father was one of those who went to the Royal Project to take the breeds of the coffee introduced by H.M. the King. Someone asked me why we didn’t use the picture of an elephant or the coffee trees or beans. Well, we didn’t have any elephants in Doi

Piko Saedoo - The Founding Father of Doi Chaang Coffee
Chaang at all; so we should not use the picture of an elephant. And before we decided to use the picture of my father, we also thought about the pictures of some things else but they did not make sense. My father didn’t know that we would use a photograph of him as our logo. He was a little bit older than 60 years when this photograph was taken. He didn’t see the photo until it was imprinted on the side of the coffee container. I think that deep inside he may feel glad and proud but didn’t show any expressions. Normally he is a quiet person but very diligent in doing all the works. He never stays still but always find something to do. He also loves to complain; and would complain about miscellaneous things during the whole course of cherries picking. But in our community, he is a natural leader. This community regards him as an honorable and respectful person. Though our ancestors came from China but my father was born here in Doi Chaang. He is 73 years old now and has 9 children altogether. I am the 7th child in my family.


No Definitions Would Suit the Entity
Though the entity is registered as “Doi Chaang Fresh Roasted Coffee Co., Ltd.” but Brother Wicha, the President of the Company, frankly said, “This status is a must when we have to take the loan from a bank or to deal some business with others. So we registered it to become legal. But if you ask about the internal management, it’s really a mess”. Brother Wicha: At the beginning, I worked together with the villagers in the original group (who had cultivated coffee for more than 20 years) in doing everything. Whenever they got the money from selling coffee beans, we would buy cement and iron for constructing the factory. We had to get money that way because everyone in the group had coffee trees. For Ardel in particular, his father cultivated 40 Rais (16 Acres), and his elder brother 70 Rais. So we put money together for the investment. It was not possible for anyone to invest alone. During the early years, we invested 40-50 million Baht (US $ 1.3-1.7 million). Some people suspected that we were laundering the money; some others said we got a lot of money through bank loan but did not want to pay the villagers; and so many other stories. They attacked us like this all the time. In fact, here’s what we thought since the beginning. The company we established belongs to everyone who cultivates coffee in Doi Chaang. All the profits will go to villagers of the mountain, not only to the company. The company was established by the effort of only 3-4 persons. Ardel was the one who initiated this and went to consult me. So when we needed to set up a company to gain creditability, he was appointed as the Managing Director because of that reason. We had to find more villagers to join us until we had at least 7 founders altogether (as required by laws). The registered capital at that time was 300,000 Baht (US $ 10,000). I was honored to take the role as the President of the company because I can speak Thai more fluently than the others.

Then 3-4 years later, the villagers were encouraged to set up their groups under the name Coffee Cultivators’ Network. This idea came from the manager of the Government Bank for Agriculture and Cooperatives. It was the establishment of small companies (or subcompanies) before joining further as a bigger one. Each group had administrative body of each own. As of today, there are 12 groups in total. The villagers and I want “Doi Chaang Coffee” to become the only one coffee product related organization in the world that every component of it is completely owned by farmers, ranging from cultivation component to that of the marketing. Several companies, like those from France, Japan, Hawaii and Korea, used to approach us. They offered to co-invest in the production component with an amount ranging from US $ 500,000 to US $ 4 million. That was quite a large amount. But based on our study, all the premium locations for producing coffee in the world had been taken over by the foreigners. So I called a meeting and told everybody that the chance for the villagers of the entire mountain in holding the total ownership of Doi Chaang Coffee did exist but everybody had to work hard and get through the hardships. If they didn’t want to encounter the hardships, they might choose to accept what the foreigners had offered. The meeting then reached a consensus that we would keep it for our own. We didn’t want anybody to co-invest in the production component. We had gone through hardships for our whole life, it would be no problem to go through these again for another 4-5 years. The reason was very simple. At least everybody is inherited with dignity. They love their locality and their plantations. On my part, the joint ventures I established with foreign countries involve only the marketing component. They do not involve the plantations here at all. The amount of 200 million Baht (US $ 7 million) we have invested was the income generated from this entity. With regard to investment in overseas, it doesn’t matter how many million dollars is required, we use our raw materials here as the guarantee. The profit will be divided on a half-and-half basis among counterparts. The same basis is also applied for expenses sharing. And this approach is applied to all the countries we are dealing with.

In the future, we will have a lot of partners here and there around the world. However, all the raw materials produced in Thailand still belong to our villagers. They will get every single cent out of it. This is different from the Blue Mountain. 90% of the investment there belongs to foreigners. Let’s go back to how we organize our organization. Though we’re known from the outside as a company, however, the nature of our management is based on the principle of “living by sharing”. We rather discuss and consult with each other instead of sticking to a title, a position, the line of authority or the chain of command. All of which are appointed or set up for dealing with the outside world. Living by Sharing creates everything. Everybody is equal in term of the capacity. They cooperate with each other; learn how to give and take; share and exchange knowledge and experiences. We still respect senior people as before. But when it comes to the matter of work, sometimes the senior have to surrender. I used to be scolded by a kid when I forgot my appointment with him. In such a case, I had to admit that it was my fault. And we are open to listen to opinions of people. In our company, those who work at a managing level responsible for the turnover of 100 million to 1,000 million Baht finished only grade 2 or grade 3 from school. To start working, a high level of education is not always necessary. It depends on the fact whether the opportunity is there for you, and whether you have enough perseverance, good intention, and adequate patience. If you have all these, you can do everything; and we are prompt to make any change (for you). It can be said that we may be the strangest organization in the world. Most people did not believe that we did everything by ourselves. Instead, they thought that we were backed up by foreign capitalists or some military officials. At that time I just wondered why nobody understood us. But now, I don’t care about this any more.

Ardel: With regard to the consolidation of people as an entity, I cannot find the most suitable name to correctly describe its characteristics. Though it is registered as a company, and some people may view it as a community enterprise, a cooperative, or any other kinds of a body; it is not exactly the body of such a kind.

No matter what the name (of our entity) would be, we have established everything for our survival. The only common commitment we have is to stay here and help each other. Everybody doesn’t have a salary. We do our work because it is the duty for us to perform. The status of the company is only something we use for dealing with people at the outside; and it is definite that this business belongs to everybody. Presently we have 12 plantations or 12 groups within the Coffee Cultivators’ Network. There are 60-100 families in each group. They do not have a salary and don’t have to work as a company either. They work as a group. Now, Doi Chaang Coffee belongs to all 12 groups of the villagers. Among these, 2 groups belong to Lisaw and Chinese Haw people; and the rest or 10 groups belong to Ikaw (Akha) people. We all join the effort, work together, and receive a fair price of coffee as remuneration. Today, the lowest price is guaranteed at 100 Baht (US $ 3.5) per kilogram. Whether the price will increase or decrease, it depends on the committee of the network of these 12 groups. The price is set by them, not by me or Brother Wicha. This system is a new thing for us. Before this, we lived separately and independently from each other. Now we live together and sometimes there are some disagreements or dissatisfactions. We have to call a meeting to find a solution for these. Whenever any urgent issue arises, at any time of day, we can call a meeting immediately. Our entity intends to be a product-oriented organization. We want the entity to establish and run everything by itself, not by sticking to some specific persons like Brother Wicha or me. Don’t stick to us. We want to ensure that everybody shares equal level of importance to the entity. Everyone has a duty of each own, and must perform at his or her best. We have sent our kids to further their education. We already planned about the direction that we would go; about the persons who would succeed our business; and about how we would develop our products.


Word of Mouth Marketing
Brother Wicha: What is the marketing plan of Doi Chaang Coffee? ... Well, the only thing that helps us come this far is the Word of Mouth Marketing. We did not do anything much about marketing at the beginning, almost nothing. We opened the front part of a shop in Chiang Rai to sell coffee for the first time. After the customers had tried our coffee, they kept coming back more and more. Those who lived far away, including the foreigners, even bought the whole box of coffee to take home. I just wondered about the foreigners in particular. Given the fact that they could buy coffee anywhere in their countries, and that the transportation cost was quite high; why were they willing to buy our coffee? They said our coffee was very good; and such compliment made me feel confident. This is called the ‘Word of Mouth’, one of the marketing strategies. It is similar to what happens among wine lovers. After tasting the wine of a kind and feeling that it’s good, they’ll pass their word of mouth about it from one person to another. Not only the foreigners, Thai people also passed on the word of mouth about our coffee. One of them graduated from overseas and used to be a regular customer of a coffee of a well-known brand in USA for ten years. After tasting Doi Chaang Coffee as his friend’s suggestion, he became so attracted by the taste and never switched back to any other kinds of coffee. Word-of-mouth strategy has been more and more effective for us. In the past, we sold our coffee at a very high price and that made some people raised a question about what kind of the coffee we produced. Some other people also used to complain about this and that. But today, all these people come back to us. People understand more and more about our coffee. There are around 300 shops across Thailand that sell Doi Chaang Coffee. We never set any target with regard to how many shops we will have in each year. We just let everything happens naturally. The only thing we want is to expose Thai people to a premium coffee of Thailand. They can enjoy drinking it without a need to rely on coffee of

a foreign brand. The only thing they need to know is the art of coffee drinking. Doi Chaang Coffee has been accepted worldwide. A person in Canada once told me that he could not sell Doi Chaang Coffee at his shop because of the Fair Trade issue. He had to go to a shop in another area to buy Doi Chaang Coffee for drinking. Given such a fact, if Thai people still insist about the idea not to accept Thai coffee, then it’s all up to them. We do not employ a franchising system in setting up a shop in Thailand. For those who are interested, we are ready to teach you and provide you with a knowledge transfer. No need to waste your money to buy a franchise. In my perspective, the franchising system teaches people to do everything carelessly and to underestimate themselves. I believe that everybody has a capacity of each own. Regardless of the brand you use, if your raw materials, your management, and your service are all good; the outcomes should be good too. Why do you have to pay money to the franchiser for nothing? For the method we employed in our business, we will sell roasted and ground coffee to you and provide you with training. We will take care of you only on the parts that we can. We will teach everybody how to be self-reliant. It’s better that we treat each other in a reciprocal way. Also, the franchising system in Thailand doesn’t work because people are not disciplinary enough. They could never meet the standards. A lot of foreign companies had come and failed. Though we do not set up our franchise for sale but we’ve just changed all the marketing structures in Thailand. I’ve just set up ‘Doi Chaang Trading Company’ to oversee all marketing activities inside the country, because we noticed that our markets in Thailand had grown slowly than it should. I believe there still are a lot of people who want to take Doi Chaang Coffee for sale. Our new company will provide facilitation to make it more convenient for everyone.



Stick to the Principle of “Doing the Best”
Brother Wicha: We seriously focus on the quality of everything we do. The profit is not our concern because we will always have it for sure. We are trying to present the best products to our consumers. If we do business in a comprehensive way, it is definite that we will gain some profits from doing so. There may be a loss for one product line but we’ll keep doing it still. Such a loss can be subsidized by the profit gained from other products. We do everything to ensure the growth of the business; and to ensure the confidence in all components. Once the confidence is developed, it will ensure security. Ardel once told the villagers that they had to do their best. They didn’t have Thai ID in the past and they had to fight for it until they got one. So they shouldn’t do anything bad; otherwise it would be the same as they were throwing away the ID they just got. They must care about their dignity, their village, their mothers, and the land. For those who got involved in bad things because they were not well informed about, there would be an excuse and he would be willing to help them. But for those who did it intentionally, they would be abandoned. For the quality control, we monitor everything ranging from the selection of the breeds, how to take care of the orchards, and so on. Everybody also keeps an eye on the orchards of the others as a way to help during their absence. When a problem arises, we will call a meeting to brainstorm for a solution. We are so quality oriented when it comes to the matter of the harvests. If the quality of the cherries is not good, though they may belong to our parents, we won’t buy them. Not to say about the coffee from outside, it’s better for them not to show up here. I told the kids they had to be strong. If the quality of their harvests was not good enough, they had to improve. Anyone who couldn’t improve shouldn’t bring the cherries to sell. There were a lot of quarrels about this problem during the past 2-3 years. Now the quality of the harvests is quite improved but there’s still some gaps. We need to call meetings to solve this.

As I mentioned before, there’s no upper limit for the word ‘BEST’. Everyday we must ensure that everything is not worse than what it used to be. We must maintain the quality and, if possible, improve it. The rank we’ve got in the top chart is not the indicator. It just a proof that we have tried our best, that we do not stay still but continue to make it better and better.

Part IV : Becoming Fruitful

Doi Chaang Academy Of Coffee
When previous experiences, mistakes, problems, and solutions are systematically organized based on local knowledge and wisdom, and integrated with technical knowledge and new learning technique of modern time, they will ensure continuous and sustainable development. Doi Chaang Coffee has therefore established “Academy of Coffee” to enhance and strengthen the capacity of people as the cultivators and producers of world class Arabica coffee. The training in The Coffee Academy focuses on cultivating procedures and how to maintain the quality of green beans at the level of “Speciality World Class” coffee. Along with this, the preservation of environment, how to maintain good ecological system, and how to live together with each other in a reciprocal way are also focused. Currently there are 12 groups of farmers in Doi Chaang who produce green coffee beans of a world standard. The funding for their projects come form the Bank for Agriculture and Co-operatives. Apart from providing knowledge about coffee, the Academy of Coffee also serves as technical training center for the youths and the villagers. There are various topics of the training but the most emphasized ones are Expenses Management System and Techniques of Reasonable Savings, because the farmers in each household can earn much more income now comparing to the past. In the Academy of Coffee, there is a laboratory, a meeting room with a capacity for 40-50 people, and the rooms for staying overnight for visitors who come for training. The structure of The Academy of Coffee was built on 57 posts or pillars to reflect that there have been 57 generations of Akha people so far on this earth (for a period of 1,700 years). This building is also considered as the biggest building in the world that belongs to Akha tribe. Source: Website - doichaangcoffee.com

Brother Wicha: For me, the first day when the Academy of Coffee was opened, 16th April 2007, was the day that we were able to count one. It was the day that we could gather all people, who used to live here and there, to come and live together; and count ‘one’ together. It was only the first step. There’re a lot of things to do further in the following steps. Doi Chaang Coffee had not actually started until the second that Mr. Piko hit the gong, because, without knowledge, we could not move on. We had nothing at the beginning: no land for cultivation, no investing money, and no workforce. We tried hard for 5 years; and when we were ready, we just count ‘one’ again. So I started to develop a curriculum, sought approval for the curriculum, and filed an application to open the Academy with assistance from many technocrats who trust us, both the ones who showed themselves publicly and those who extended their helps secretly from a dark place. The contributions they extended to us were not money; and all of them who came to help us couldn’t avoid paying something for us too. Ajarn Patchanee used to come up here and learn that we didn’t have any money to buy foods. That’s the fact. We started from minus, not from zero. During the early period, apart from the issue of betrayal and unfair price; we were also cheated. We sent our goods to China. The profit was not much but we were cheated even with such small amount. So we had to sell the vehicle of Ardel. He bought it for 700,000 Baht but he sold for 300,000 Baht (US $ 10,000). Then we bought 2 tents, set them up for lying down, studying, and reading. There are a lot of tourists every day. In the past, most of people who went up the mountain visiting the factory and The Coffee Academy were foreigners. Only few were Thais. Such foreigners came from China, the Department of Agriculture of Myanmar, Japan, and so on. But now Thai people started to know about us more and more. And we’re proud of that. Apart from The Academy of Coffee in Doi Chaang that provides basic knowledge about coffee cultivation, I am going to open Training Institute for Barista in Bangkok. It will be a Saturday and Sunday course for people who want to open coffee shops.

The second to actually started Doi Chaang Coffee
Ardel: The day I was so happy was the opening day of The Coffee Academy. On that day, all villagers of Doi Chaang smiled so proudly. They did not think that people like us, who have cultivated opium for generations from the time of our ancestors, would be able to achieve such a miraculous success. We invited a lot of friends and guests from various countries to come on that day: Laos, China, Myanmar, Korea, Japan, Italy, and Canada. There were Thai people, Akha people, and foreigners. We considered everybody as a family member of Doi Chaang people. Everybody came and stayed together very happily.


Other Brand Names for Our Products
Brother Wicha: Apart from Doi Chaang, we plan to launch a second brand to cover the products of farmers in some other areas. The name of the second brand is Northern Arabica (DNA), not “Doi Chaang Single Estate”. We will set up a new company to accommodate this brand, otherwise the farmers will be exploited by the middlemen the same as before. Within the entity of Doi Chaang, we also have coffee in a series of lower grades. We have established some different brand names such as Ego, Hilly and DC to accommodate each grade in this group, assigned a different market and a different price for each brand. Though our coffee in this series are lower grade but the quality of each one is better than a foreign brand imported to sell 2,000 – 3,000 Baht (US $ 70 - 100) per kilogram in Thailand. Some of the beans may be broken but the quality is definitely 75% up. However, for Doi Chaang brand, we have to maintain its quality at the top grade of the world as it has been. We are not the one who said that Doi Chaang is the coffee of a world class quality. This statement came from the Coffee Review. They do have a global committee with a very good recognition worldwide. It seems to be a must for all major entrepreneurs to send their coffee to the committee to test. So we don’t have to mention about this ourselves. People will know as soon as they visit the website. That’s why I always tell the kids that they have to do their best in their work. They must compete with themselves in trying to do the best. No need for them to compete with anybody else. They have to find out as much as possible how to improve the quality. I want the quality to be better and better. There is no upper limit for the word ‘Best’. There’s always an area for improvement. Today, our goal has changed. Initially we just wanted to cultivate coffee covering 2,000 –3,000 Rais (800-1,200 Acres) to ensure the self-sufficiency of villagers. But now it is an opportunity for us to gain reputation for Thailand. We’re confident that we’re ready. Apart from Pattaya, Pat Pong, Phuket, and so on; now let Doi Chaang build up the reputation for the country.

Premium Goods from By-products of Doi Chaang Coffee
Brother Wicha: We really have a lot of things to do. We would like to do anything that we can scale up or maximize from existing resources. And, you know what, almost everything we have has the potential to serve as the base for maximization or scaling up. We have learned and try to learn about everything; and when we discover something, we would want to do it. Everything must be utilized fully. The products made from the by-products of our coffee are limited to the category of cosmetics. We have discovered this. There are a number of agencies taking part in the research with us. We are based in Doi Chaang but people who will help us are in Hamburg and Osaka. All of the products in this line are natural and luxurious cosmetics. Now most consumers are waiting for our products to be launched. When I heard about the coffee oil, the nourishing cream contained inside coffee, I tried to study more deeply about it and I found a lot of good qualifications of the oil. We already set up a cosmetic company to accommodate the products from this line. Among the 4 products we have conducted an in-depth study about, only “soap” product is finalized while the other three are still in the process. Now I am interested in lipstick and also the persons who have a problem of skin. The coffee oil can help them. As far as I checked, the extraction of coffee oil is very expensive, 460 dollars per 500 cc plus 200% for taxes on top of that. Given such a high price, I rather buy an oil-extracting machine. We will check how many million will be needed for the purchase; and will take the cosmetic company to the bank and ask whether they will give a loan to us. I’ll show the figure to the bank and say that I have a very large volume of undergraded coffee, which can be used as the raw material for a massive production of various kinds of goods. We will also produce tea but only the one of a top grade. Our brothers

and sisters also cultivate tea, not only in Doi Chaang but also some other mountains. For anything that we can take an action to help the farmers, we would do. Apart from Doi Chaang Cosmetics and the Highland Tea, a further extended line of Doi Chaang product will be the wine and whiskey made from coffee. We already set up a plan for this. We will have to dig the mountain to acquire a cavity big enough for storing and fermenting 100,000 liters. We need to take more study tours to learn about this; and have to wait for the preparedness of the working team and research team. With regard to investment, all investing money come from the income generated from everything up here. With regard to the dividend, everybody has to until we reach another step. We have to wait until everything becomes more concrete. However, as today, each section for the two new product lines has been set up separately and we have shifted two young brothers to oversee such sections. Let each of them work separately to make it clear that each one can ensure the growth of the section of each own. As we expand to some other lines of products, it becomes clearer that we are the real expert or knowledgeable people about coffee. Coffee does not exist for us to drink only but has been used for many other purposes since ancient time. So we have split up our team having someone take care of the cosmetics and another one take care of whiskey, wine and other kinds of drinks. With regard to producing coffee for people to drink, we have reached the peak level of satisfaction for that.

Future Plan
Brother Wicha: At the moment Doi Chaang Coffee is at the stage of non-stop investment. We need another amount of 200 million Baht (US $ 7 million) to make it really comprehensive. Initially I estimated 400 million Baht (US $ 14 million) for our investment but this amount was not enough because the exchange rate had changed. And after Doi Chaang is fully developed, some other challenges of a larger scale are waiting for us. We need to help hill tribe people in other areas and other mountains as well. A lot of villagers from other mountains visit us every day but we are not ready to go and take care of them in all locations. If we can get through the stage we’re in now, we will be ready to expand the base of our operation. We already have it in the plan. Through our survey, there are 2-3 locations with a potential for getting developed and improved. However, we don’t know about the outcomes. They may get a totally new and strange characteristic. Thailand has a very strange characteristic. For example, when the pineapples from Phuket were taken to cultivate in Tambon Naang Lae, Chiang Rai Province, the harvests in the new place also had some good characteristic but were different from the pineapples in Phuket, which were also good. And ‘Naang Lae pineapple’ has become a famous breed. After being involved in the area of agriculture for 30 consecutive years, I feel confident that the horticulture in Thailand can be improved still. For Doi Chaang Coffee, there will be the production of freeze dry coffee and this kind of product must be of a very good quality. For the rest of the coffee we have, we will use them for manufacturing canned coffee; and such a production will require 400 million Baht for the investment. With regard to the equipment, instruments and the machines, we may have to wait until our kids who have gone for their education come back to help us. About the canned coffee, we don’t mean to compete with anybody. We will produce special canned coffee with a restricted condition that they will be able to sell at a price of less than 25 Baht (lower than US $ 1) a can, or maybe we can lower it down to a bottom price of 20 Baht a can. The price of Japanese canned coffee at the moment is 60 Baht (US $ 2) a can. However, we will never sell it at 10-15 Baht a can. This is another step we have in the plan for the next 2-3 years. I

normally make plan in advance every 2 years so I won’t have to get so tired on a day when anything would happen. One of the principles I take for working is to “take enough time for thinking, do everything fast, and always catch up with all the things”. Apart from the development of Doi Chaang Coffee in the areas of new products and the expansion of the markets inside and outside the country, and as the entity and the villages have grown extensively; we then have a plan to build a hospital and a school. I want to build a good school and a good hospital, not a small health center without a doctor or a quiet school with no presence of a teacher. It should not be a school that the teacher do not have time to teach because he or she may be called to welcome a high rank official who visits the area; to attend a meeting, a training session; or to join a study tour. In such a case, the children are allowed to play outside and in the coffee yard. There are some children who have finished grade 6 but cannot read and write still. We don’t want that kind of school or that kind of health center. There is a large influx of money in Doi Chaang, around 100-300 million Baht (US $ 4-10 million) every year. We will take their money, the money of everyone in the village, to build a good school and a good hospital.

Ardel : In the future, every group of coffee cultivators on Doi Chaang will take a restrict measure regarding the preservation of environment. We are not concerned any more about the production system because everybody shares the ownership. Any villagers who cannot produce a quality product will not be able to sell their products, will not be able to join the network, and will not be able to get involved with the factory. So the next issue we will focus is about the environment. We want to raise awareness among people in the network. We have gained a lot from the land so we must give something back in return. This year we will have to plant some kinds of trees. Our coffee trees also need the trees of different plants. They required natural shade and some minerals. The environment of the area will also be improved as a whole. Everybody has to have an understanding in common. If we preserve the environment well, it will give a good thing in return for our kids of the next generation. On contrary, if we do not preserve it well, we will not die alone but our kids will die also. Everything in Doi Chaang belongs to everybody, neither me, nor Brother Wicha, or any other person in particular. It belongs to us all.

Annex : Breeding


“HRH Princess Somsawali”



On December 16th, 2007, Her Royal Highness Princess Somsawali and “her mother”, Than Phuying Phansawali Kitiyakorn, along with Khun Namphueng (ML. Saralee Kitiyakorn), paid a visit to people in Doi Chaang and took a tour to the sites of Doi Chaang Coffee production process throughout the day.


All the three members of Royal Family were very interested in our presentations and demonstrations. They also asked to try doing everything in every step of the production process such as picking the cherries, fermenting them, drying them in the sun, and roasting the beans.


Doi Chaang villagers and staff persons of Doi Chaang Fresh Roasted Coffee Company were very pleased and grateful about the visit of Her Royal Highness and her relatives.


“It was fun and I’ve gained some knowledge in another area. I would like to thank Mr. Ardel and all staff members of Doi Chaang Coffee for providing the hospitality for me and my team.”
ML. Saralee Kitiyakorn

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“We, the team of instructors, have visited and taken a study tour of Doi Chaang Coffee production. We are very impressive how the entity has built up the livelihood and the generation of income for people. We were also pleased to taste the coffee and experience its mellowness and fragrance. (Good atmosphere, good coffee, and people with good temperament.) Very impressive.”
The Representative of Instructors from Chiang Mai Rajabhat University

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“I am so proud of my Akha fellows for their capability in making their dream come true up to this point. I feel that they have represented all people of Akha tribe in showing to all people around the globe that we have been able to come this far.”
Seree Thaweephanarak, Doi Saen Chai, Mae Fa Luang District

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“I’m so glad and proud to see such a good entity of Doi Chaang Coffee here. I’ve learned that there will be a lot more progresses and developments in the future. So I would like to wish you the success in all those. And please accept my sincere motivation.”
Mr. Preecha Kamolbutr, Chiang Rai Provincial Governor

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“First of all, I’m so glad to see Wicha Promyong, my former student during the old days, whom I’m acquainted and associated with as if he were one of my close relatives. I’m so glad to see the performance outcomes of my lovely student. He is a very capable person of a kind that‘s very hard to find on earth. Thailand is so lucky to have Wicha who is has a serious inspiration for helping the nation, restoring the soil of Thailand and converting it into the land of gold. I wish that all the good things Wicha has done would in turn give him the best things that he should deserve. I would like to thank Wicha and his team for ensuring the existence of the goodness in our country.” From Teacher Suthinan and team, Amnuaywit School, Phrapradaeng

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“The coffee is excellent! The view is spectacular. The people of Thailand are very hospitable, lovely hosts. I am sad to leave Thailand.”
Donna Wade, Kansas, USA.

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“A coffee drinks paradise. The coffee is outstanding.”
Mike James, Kansas, USA.

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“Fabulous coffee !!! I have been around the globe drinking coffee. And my cup here today was among the very best! Good luck DOI CHAANG !”
Ryan S. Roc

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“I understand now why Doi Chaang Coffee ranks the top one among all coffees in the world. It’s because of the fertility of the nature and because of the people here.”
Nong Jeans, Nong Jeab, and Nong Pop

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“I feel so lucky and excited to learn that our country has one of the best things in the world.”

Motivation in the Guest Book of Our Factory


“Doi Chaang is a luxurious coffee with a heartwarming mission. This coffee has reignited a culture and has truly taken fair trade to a higher level. It is delicious, decadent, deserving-drink and be proud!”
Pamela Gharibians

Motivation from customers in Canada and USA


“All of us at Mink are huge fans of the Doi Chaang Peaberry. It’s a consistently superior roast and brews exceptionally well on the Clover. It cups soft and low toned, and we find hints of cedar, warm spice, chocolate, and a low-acid fruitiness that suggests banana. We especially love that the chocolate notes become more explicit in the impressively long, resonant finish. The Whole Doi Chaang experience is capped off with tremendous customer service and support. Keep doing what you’re doing!”
Marc Lieberrman & Staff, Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.

Motivation from customers in Canada and USA


“I had given up on finding a good coffee in the supermarket, but you’ve proven me wrong. It a really full flavoured roast, dark but not bitter, and I am happily enjoying some now. So, thank you.”

Motivation from customers in Canada and USA


“I was just on your website, ordering more of your single estate signature coffees. I just had to email you to tell you that my husband and I are completely hooked on your coffee! I was visiting Vancouver…a few weekends ago, and I tasted a sample of your single estate signature coffee at Meinhardts. I bought a bag to bring home for my husband. He loved it! Since then, I have not been able to drink my Torrefazione or Illy brand coffees with as much pleasure as I did with the Doi Chaang coffees. Thank you for bringing this closer to home for us! I hope to see your coffees down in the U.S., as all my family live down there.”
Helen Johnston (Victoria, B.C.)

Motivation from customers in Canada and USA


“When the Terminal City Club went looking for a premium coffee we were looking for the highest quality coffee that a true coffee lover would appreciate. In building all of our catering and restaurant menus we are always looking for new, organic, local if possible suppliers to bring to our discriminating members. It became clear that the competition for “Ethical” beans was split between many pretenders and a couple of contenders. In blind cuppings our chefs and myself narrowed our favorites down to two. It is the extraordinary story of Doi Chaang and John Darch’s teams commitment that made the difference. Unmatched personal service and a company committed to sustainable growth while developing the economy of their villages. It was a perfect match. In our four block area there are several coffee shops sourcing super-premium beans and our members and their guests understand the complexities of the various beans and blends. We look forward to a long and dually beneficial with Doi Chaang in the future.”
Michael Jenkins, Director of Food and Beverage – Terminal City Club, Vancouver

Motivation from customers in Canada and USA


Doi Chaang villagers are grateful to Ajarn Arporn Thamakhet, Ajarn Patchanee Suwanwisonkit and Ajarn Jacques Op de Laak who have provided technical assistance and extended warm motivation to us all along.


Thailand: Our beloved country

The Kingdom of Thailand is located in the heart of Southeast Asia and is renowned for its natural beauty, ancient history, rich culture, diversified economy and hospitality. The country is naturally divided into four regions. The Northern, in which Doi Chaang is located, has lush forested mountains and deep narrow valleys with remnants of ancient Kingdoms, beautiful temples and remote hill tribe scattering throughout the area. The Northeast, which covers one-third of Thailand and consists mainly of arid farm land, was once the centre of a Bronze Age civilization where many relics and monuments remain to attest to the splendour of pre-historic times. Central Thailand has rich fertile farm land with vast and extensive rice fields. It is also the home to Bangkok city, the country’s capital and financial, political and cultural centre.



The Southern region is the hub of tourism with its long coast line of beautiful beaches, coral reefs and tropical Islands. It is also centre for vital rubber, tin and fishing industries. Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand and it is interwoven into daily life with various duties and ceremonies. Buddhist festivals, holidays and events dominate the annual calendar and the Buddhist temple is the centre of the village often serving as a school, orphanage or meeting hall. Modern Thailand combines traditional Buddhist culture, ancient history and traditional customs with the latest technology, political stability and diverse economy. From the excitement of Bangkok city to the lush mountain tops to the wild jungle to the white sundrenched beaches, Thailand is filled with scenic beauty and rich diverse culture, and justly know as the land of smiles.


Thai Geographical Indication


ANNOUNCEMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Subject: Registration of Geographical Indication DOI CHAANG COFFEE Registration No. Sor Chor 50100018

In order that the Registration of Geographical Indications complies with the Protection of Geographical Indications Act B.E. 2546 (2003), by virtue of section 32 of the Administrative Organisation of the State Act B.E. 2534 (1991) amended by the Administrative Organisation of the State Act No. 5, B.E. 2545 (2002), the Department of Intellectual Property hereby announces that The registration of Geographical Indication of Doi Chaang Coffee, Application No. 49100025, Registration No. Sor Chor 50100018 has been accepted, with the particulars of registration as attached herewith. The announcement takes effect as of 27 September 2007. Announced on 24 October 2007

Puangrat Asavapisit Director-General Department of Intellectual Property


Registration of Geographical Indication DOI CHAANG COFFEE

(1) Application Number 49100025

Registration No. Sor Chor 50100018

(2) Application Date:

28 July 2006

Registration Date: 28 July 2006

(3) Applicant

The Doi Chaang Coffee planters’ group, consisting: Mr.Anuchit Pisailert-Doi Chaang Coffee Production Group 1, Mr. Kunakorn Pisailert-Doi Chaang Coffee Production Group 2, Mr. Panachai Pisailert-Doi Chaang Coffee Group, Mr. Krisdatan Wuiyue-EGO Coffee Group, Mr. Noppadol Pisailert-Doi Chaang Coffee AAA Group, Mr. Winai Pisailert-Doi Yama Coffee Group, Mr. Wanchai Saisawangthammakul-Phu Sawang Coffee Group, Mr. Somsak Pisailert-Yama Korjor Coffee Processing Group and Mr. Chanchai Ponganurakpoom-Lormee Akha Doi Chaang Coffee Processing Group. Address: moo 3, Tambon Wawee, Mae Sruai District, Chiang Rai Province 57180

(4) Quality, Reputation, Specification or Specific Characteristics of Goods Definition Doi Chaang Coffee refers to major Arabica varieties: the Caturra, Catimor and Catuai, obtained from fresh coffee cherries grown on the slopes of Doi Chaang, at an altitude of 1,100-1,700 meters above sea level. Doi Chaang Coffee is grown within the area of Doi Chaang and Ban Mai Pattana villages in Tambon Wawee, Mae Sruai District of Chiang Rai Province. It is produced by a standard process, creating high quality green beans and roasted coffee.


Characteristics of Goods Green Beans: bluish green or grayish green with less than 10% undeveloped beans and a moisture content of no more than 12-13%, classified into three sizes. - big size larger than 6.95 millimeters - medium size from 6.1 – 6.95 millimeters up - small size smaller than 6.1 millimeters Roasted and Ground Coffee: are roasted and ground beans that are aromatic, have a unique and harmonious taste with a caffeine content of no more than 1.5% of the weight.

(5) Production Process 5.1 Cultivation (1) Coffee variety used: Major Arabica varieties-Caturra, Catimor and Catuai (2) Coffee seeds are cultured in prepared plots. (3) Seedlings are nurtured from 7 months to 1 year. (4) Strong seedlings which are free from disease and pests are selected. (5) The coffee is planted in designated plots at altitudes of 1,100-1,700 meters above sea level and under the shade of trees.

5.2 Production Process Care (1) Weed regularly, especially for young plants 1-3 years of age. (2) Apply fertilizers for the leaves and cherries and enhance soil periodically as needed. (3) Trim regularly.

Harvesting and Production of Parchment (1) Harvesting fresh cherries: Hand pick only ripe and strong cherries between November – February of every year.


(2) Washing and sorting strong cherries: Wash and sort the cherries in water. Ripe and strong cherries will sink to the bottom of the tank while lame cherries will float on the surface to be removed and used as fertilizer. (3) Pulping: Remove the pulp with a pulping machine within 24 hours after the harvest (4) Fermenting: The pulped parchment is fermented in clean water for 48 hours. (5) Soaking: Water is used to wash the fermented parchment before it is soaked in clean water for another 20-24 hours. (6) Drying: Before drying, the parchment needs to be washed and drained, making it as dry as possible. Then, it is spread out on a clean patio to dry. (7) Storing: Dry parchment can now be stored.

Packing and Storing of Parchment Parchment of no more than 8% humidity are stored in hemp sacs and put in a clean dry ventilated place. The storage house is situated at a high altitude.

Production of Green Beans Dried parchment is milled to remove its skin and sorted according to diameter. The quality green bean obtained will be grayish green or bluish green and have a moisture content of 10-12%. Green beans sorted by diameter come in three sizes: - big size: larger than 6.95 millimeters - medium size: between 6.1- 6.95 millimeters - small size: smaller than 6.1 millimeters

Production of Roasted and Ground Coffee Experienced roast masters roast green beans for about 20 minutes in a quality roaster, producing the Doi Chaang quality roast.


Packaging Doi Chaang Coffee is packaged in valved bags, which allow ventilation from inside the bags and prevent outside air from going in. The label bears the words “กาแฟดอยช้าง and/or Doi Chaang Coffee” (6) Relation between the Product and the Geographical Location Geography Overall, the area consists of high mountains at slope gradients of more than 35%. There are narrow strips of flat land rising along mountain ridges and valleys. The slope gradients here are between 8-35% and there is approximately a 500 meters difference in area altitude level. The soil is fine sandy loam or loam resultant from the degeneration of stones and minerals combined with particle pile ups carried down from higher areas to lower lying spaces. The soil is high in organic matter and provides good drainage. It has a pH of around 6.0 – 6.5. Doi Chaang is the water source for many brooks and streams including the Huay Krai stream which provides water year round. In addition, there are large and small natural wells scattered throughout and providing water year round. Natural and human factors play important roles in the production of Doi Chaang Coffee. Doi Chaang is a high mountain rising to an altitude of 1,100-1,700 meters from sea level and is suited for the cultivation of Arabica coffee. The carefully selected coffee strains, the strict maintenance and the meticulous harvesting combined with the high standard production processes are attributes to the production of Doi Chaang Coffee. History Previously, the farmers on Doi Chaang were growing poppy and engaging in slash and burn agriculture. In 1969, His Majesty the King initiated a project to have the hill tribe people on Doi Chaang give up poppy cultivation and the government implemented a program to seriously reduce the number of poppy fields. In 1983, the Department of Public Welfare, through the Hill Tribe Development and Welfare Center, introduced the planting of cold climate crops to the farmers in place of the poppy they were previously growing. Crops such as macademia nuts, plums, peaches, pears as well as premium strain Arabica coffee which had undergone testing and research by relevant offices, were introduced. It has now been over 20 years and time has proved that Doi Chaang is capable of producting one of the world’s best coffees.


(7) Scope of Geographical Area The production area for Doi Chaang Coffee is within Doi Chaang and Ban Mai Pattana villages in Tambon Wawee, Mae Sruai District, Chiang Rai Province. The production area is situated at an altitude of between 1,100 – 1,700 meters above sea level as detailed on the map.

(8) Proof of Origin (1) Doi Chaang Coffee is produced in the areas of Doi Chaang and Ban Mai Pattana villages in Tambon Wawee, Mae Sruai District, Chiang Rai Province. (2) The production process must be controlled and monitored through the registration of member who produce and process coffee and the use of accompanying documents, making the product traceable to its origin.

(9) Conditions for Registration under Section 15 (1) There shall be the establishment of a monitoring and control system throughout the production process, at the producers’ level and at the provincial level. (2) There shall be a registration of planters/producers of Doi Chaang Coffee and sellers wishing to use the Doi Chaang Coffee geographical indication. (3) The registration applicants shall produce a direction manual to be observed by planters/producers of the Doi Chaang Coffee geographical indication.


Map Depicting the Geographical Area for Doi Chaang Coffee

The cultivation area for Doi Chaang Coffee is in Doi Chaang Village, Tambon Wawee, Mae Sruai District, Chiang Rai Province, in the northern part of Thailand.


Finale : The Secret
of Coffee Cultivators



Ardel: Though we have cultivated coffee for a long time but people in Doi Chaang and I just started drinking coffee very recently. My first cup of coffee came from the first batch of the beans that we tried to roast them at home for the first time. We roasted about one kilogram of them in a frying pan and the place was then full of smoke and smell. Some people even thought that the house caught fire. Finally, the fragrance emerged. It was so fragrant that people started asking where such a good smell came from. After the roasting was finished, we pounded the roasted beans in a mortar until the beans turned into fine powder. Then we added hot water and took a sip. As I was very naive to the taste of coffee, it was so bitter for me. We had never thought that we would be able to make it; never thought that people would buy the bitter water of such a kind. We just wanted to test how good our product was. Today, almost all people in Doi Chaang drink coffee. Some people drink it at home while some others may swing by to take a sip in the office. They can do so because the coffee belongs to everybody, not only me or Brother Wicha or any other specific person.


Brother Wicha: Frankly, coffee is not my favorite kind of plant. I personally prefer grape. Before this, I was not interested in coffee at all, and did not have any knowledge about it either. Today, I have studied very extensively until I know a lot about it and I can use this knowledge to help people in the entire village to generate an income of hundreds or thousands of million Baht. I have been able to make them feel that coffee is their lives. As Ardel already told you, people up here had cultivated coffee for 20 years but they never drank fresh coffee. The only kind of coffee they ever tasted was just the canned coffee named ‘Birdy’. These young people always bought Birdy or M-150 for taking a sip while they were driving a vehicle for a long journey. Doi Chaang Coffee that we drank for the very first time was the one we roasted in a frying pan and pounded in a mortar. The taste of chilly was still there. We tasted the coffee in the kitchen and a strange expression appeared on the face of everybody after taking a sip. Today, some of the villagers drink 10 cups of coffee in a day in order to recognize the products we have created. Young people in Doi Chaang today are the persons who can determine whether a specific sample of coffee is good or not. For me, I may not be so fascinated by coffee as much as I am for whiskey or beer. However, from the time when I started to engage myself in Doi Chaang Coffee business until today, I have to drink 23 cups of coffee in the morning; and at lunch time, I have to please myself with a cup of espresso at the end of the meal. I started to sip it more delicately and with a greater level of appreciation. Also, we have plenty of coffee here so I can drink it for free.


About the Editor
Ong-art Ritpreecha is the real name of a man whose place of origin is in the South of Thailand, the location where Robusta coffee is cultivated. He is a little bit over 40 years old and has engaged in the circle of writing and publication for 30 years. It started from the time when he was a student at Suan Kulab High School. Along this career path, he has worked in various capacities such as a reporter, a columnist, an editorial staff, and an editor. He has taken all these roles alternately until today, the day when Chiang Rai province - the location where Doi Chaang Coffee is originated - has become his permanent domicile and so for his family. At present, he writes a column about films and songs in “Northern Citizen”, a local weekly magazine. He serves as a columnist for PENTHOUSE Magazine (Thai version) writing about movies and translating some articles from a foreign language. He also writes a music column in HIP Magazine of Chiang Mai province. He takes a rotation with other three columnists in writing a column named “Un Nueang Chak Naang” (A Critic on Movies) in the “Entertain” Magazine. He occasionally sends stories and articles to some other magazines as well. He only does this when there is something he wants to write about, or when his friends ask him to do so. He used to have a pocketbook published once before for the first time in his life - “Chao Sua Lanna” (Famous Businesspersons of the North) launched in October 2006. “Doi Chaang Coffee” is his second pocketbook but the first one that’s published in both Thai and English.

A story through pictures: From the beans to a cup of coffee

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