Farmers from Xieng Khouang Province are celebrating after their coffee beans achieved an excellent result in a national competition. At the award ceremony for the “Taste of Laos” green coffee competition, held in Vientiane last week, the producers from Tan Tai village won first prize for the best washed arabica beans. The cupping score given by an international panel from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) was 84.29, confirming that beans from the Keoset cluster of villages easily meets the standards for Specialty Coffee.
The award was presented by the Director General of the Lao Department of Agriculture, Mr Bounchanh Kombounyasith, in the presence of Ambassadors from the EU and USA, the President of the Lao Coffee Association, and a number of other VIPs.
The beans from Tan Tai were submitted to the competition by Comma Coffee, an independent coffee roaster and chain of cafes that has been cooperating with the LURAS project for the past 4 years to improve the quality of coffee in the Keoset Community. This partnership between producers, the private sector and a development project has been a key factor in bringing high quality coffee to the market. Together, the partners have worked to improve processing techniques and the grading of beans, and used the services of experts known as Q-graders to assess the results.
As part of this year’s competition, which involved companies and farmer groups from across Laos, the Q-graders from CQI provided ‘favor notes’ to describe each sample they tested. They reported that the taste of coffee from Tan Tai is like ‘dried plum, caramel, roasted nuts, chocolate, honey like, citrusy, creamy, and sweet & juicy’.
Lao consumers can now drink and purchase the prize-winning coffee at Comma outlets in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. A benefit-sharing scheme means that part of the profits goes back to community development activities in the villages where the coffee is produced.