Lao coffee

In the sixth century, coffee is a plant found in Kaffa, Ethiopia. A man named Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed that after eating the Cherries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. He went out and found that the goat was eating coffee cherries. Then he told the story to a Muslim hermit, who then took the fruit from the tree, and crack the seeds. The hermit roasted and boiled those seeds in hot water to drink, see that it rejuvenated him. Coffee has been then widespread, from the Arabs to Italy, Netherlands, Germany, France and Asia eventually. That is coffee starting point.

Coffee in Laos is cultivated almost exclusively on the Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province in the southern part of the country. The high of Bolaven plateau is 1300 meters above sea level, a lot of rainfall, cool temperatures and rich volcanic soil. Therefore it perfect conditions for growing world natural coffee. The Arabica coffee beans from Bolaven plateau are known for their medium body and a combination of mild citrus and floral tones.

Many ethnic minorities live in Bolaven plateau. Most of them grew rice in fall and raise animals for living. Due to the rich volcanic soil they also grew some vegetables around the house and hunt wild animal for living during summer.

In 1915 after Laos became a French colony and French found the Bolaven plateau it was perfect condition to grow a coffee. French started to plant the first coffee trees in Laos at Bolaven plateau. They brought both Arabica and Robusta plants from Saigon’s botanical gardens and planted in Thateng’s village in the northern part of Bolaven plateau close to Salavan province. Both Arabica and Robusta grew very well and also produced perfect cherries. After tasting Lao coffee French has fall in love with the taste. They have asked the villagers to grow more coffee and exported Lao coffee beans to their country.

Lao coffee has exported to France since 1930 and shut down due to the war. During Vietnam War in 1970 to 1975 most of coffee farms have converted to battle field and almost all coffee trees on the Bolaven plateau death due to bombing and fighting. Several years after the Vietnam War the Lao government and other countries around the world help Laos to clear up all cluster bombs in coffee farms. Coffee farmers and a lot of larger companies have returned to Bolaven plateau and the coffee business again recovered.

Currently, the Lao coffee harvest generates about 50-80,000 tons a year, 65% of Lao coffee is Robusta. Over the past 25 years, various development agencies and the Lao government have been working with the farmers to introduce hearty, high yielding Arabica plants to the Bolaven Plateau. At about double the price of Robusta, this effort has gradually improved farmers income.