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Myanmar has only recently started making Specialty Coffee, but has quickly developed into a player with impressive results. The Hopong cooperative was able to organize coffee farmers from two villages in just one year. They jointly produced their first crop of “natural” coffee and they managed to export the coffee, thanks in part to Sara Morrocchi.
From opium to coffee
The Hopong farmers were tired secretly produce opium drug lords. On the one hand they were prosecuted by the authorities and on the other hand they had to sell badly processed coffee to coffee brokers and intermediaries.
They discovered through social media that neighboring communities were producing specialty coffee with the help of Winrock, an NGO. They made a live changing choise. They learned with great dedication and curiosity from these other communities how to improve the coffee quality. They now have better income. All this with hardly any external financing or training.
Since the start of this project, 3 more villages have started producing specialty naturals. This Side Up (our importer) has bought all the coffee from these villages. With the aim of giving the villages a better future without having to produce opium. The new exporter is Amayar, a company that aims to help women.
The coffee berries are picked in the morning by the Hopong community. After picking, the berries are brought to the drying station where the berries are checked and selected for ripeness. Fully ripe berries are placed on raised beds. They are slowly dried in the sun, which takes between 13 and 17 days. All coffee supplied is separated per day and deliveries by members are fully traceable.
The result is a complex filter coffee or a “funky” espresso.
We also think it is important for this coffee to show what the distribution of the purchase price is:
The premium paid to Indigo Mountain is used to train coffee farmers, to build roads and to set up coffee drying facilities.
The Hopong farmers together founded Indigo Mountain.