Introducing the Keoset Drying House

High quality coffee needs careful drying. That’s not always easy in the mountains of Northern Laos. Traditional drying beds made from bamboo are cheap to make but difficult to keep clean, and they need to be be rebuilt every year.

In collaboration with Keoset coffee producers, staff of the Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service (LURAS) have designed and tested a new design of drying house. The Kesoet drying house is made with a steel frame that improves hygiene and provides better control of temperature and moisture.

After testing and adjustments over the past 18 months, the Keoset drying house will be used by coffee farmers in 11 villages in three Districts during the forthcoming harvest season. The new drying houses have been produced locally in Xieng Khouang Province.

Each house costs approximately $500 and provides 16 square metres of drying area. They are easily dismantled for transportation and storage, and can also be used for drying other products.

Please watch the video for an introduction to the new dying house. Technical details can be downloaded by clicking this illustration.

Please contact the LURAS team in Xieng Khouang if you need more information.

Impact of frost

The best quality Arabica coffee is grown at higher altitudes, above 1,000 metres, but this makes the crop vulnerable to cold temperatures.  Coffee bushes are easily damaged or killed by frost, resulting in a loss of income for farmers.

Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme weather, and coffee farmers in the North of Laos have experienced frost twice in the past 5 years.  The amount of damage has been different from place to place, depending on where the crop is planted.  The experience in Keoset shows that coffee planted in natural forest is less vulnerable that coffee planted in the open.

This video in Lao language has more information from the farmers who were affected in December 2019.