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.

Everything you wanted to know about coffee… in Lao!

The Lao Coffee Notebook is now available! Produced by LURAS in cooperation with Comma Coffee, this unique notebook is packed with information about coffee production, processing roasting and brewing, including a map, statistics and a Lao-English wordlist, all of which has been beautifully illustrated by Tina at Helvetas. Here is a selection of the pages …

You can get your copy of the notebook for free from the LURAS-Keoset booth at International Coffee Day or at Comma Coffee. These files can also be used for educational purposes in your own organisation or project, but please credit LURAS & Comma.

Sharing Experience… Again!

The farmers in Keoset were fortunate that their coffee crop was harvested, processed and sold before the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that the lockdown has been lifted, it’s a good time to share experience.

In mid July 2020,  coffee farmers and buyers from across the North of Laos came together in Phonsavanh, Xieng Khouang Province, for a three-day meeting organised by the RECoSeL, a French-funded project that is supporting the “Reinforcement and Expansion of Coffee Sector in Laos”.

During the meeting, the farmers from Keoset – along with the team of advisors from LURAS – were able to share the technical manual they have produced and present their experience in organisation, management and contracting.  On the final day, the participants of the meeting visited the factory of Mueang Xieng Coffee , one of the companies that is buying from Keoset.

A small insect but a BIG problem!

CBB poster thumbnailCoffee Berry Borer (CBB) is a tiny pest that affects coffee plants throughout the world, including Laos.  Coffee cherries or beans that are damaged by this pest may be rejected by buyers, or farmers will get a lower price .  Fortunately, the pest can be controlled if farmers take the right action during and after harvest.

A new poster has been produced by the Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service (LURAS) to help farmers learn how to control CBB.  The poster is available for everybody involved in coffee production in the North of Laos: farmer groups, district agriculture staff, development projects and coffee companies. Copies are available from the LURAS offices in Phonsavanh and Vientiane. Alternatively, you can print and distribute yourself; just click on the picture to download the file.

New Coffee Production Guidelines

The coffee farmers of Keoset have recently produced three illustrated manuals in Lao language which they would like to share with other producers.
Thumbnail-Keoset-Guidelines-NurseryThumbnail-Keoset-Guidelines-GardensThumbnail-Keoset-Guidelines-Processing

Click the covers above or the titles below to download the files

1  Guidelines on Establishing a Coffee Nursery
2  Guidelines on Managing Coffee Gardens
3  Guidelines on Coffee Processing

Here is the Introduction to the new guidelines:

These guidelines are based on our experience as coffee farmers in Xieng Khuang Province. We have been growing forest coffee in the Keoset Cluster of villages for nearly 20 years.  During that time we have received advice and support from the government, projects and companies, but the most valuable knowledge and skills comes from our own practical activities, including planting, composting, pruning, processing, drying and selling our coffee.

We want to share our experience with other farmers, and have already welcomed hundreds of visitors to our coffee farms and processing centres. These guidelines provide a summary of the techniques we have been using, and we encourage you to select and adapt this information to suit your local conditions. We hope this information will be beneficial for many other coffee producers.

With best wishes from the farmers of Ban Pieng, Ban Phahin, Ban Phoung, Ban Tan Tai and Ban Tan Neua

Copies of the new guidelines are available from the LURAS project offices in Vientiane and Phonsavanh, and the Department of Technical Extension and Agro-Processing (DTEAP).