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Doi Chang in Chiang Rai, Thailand, situated in the Golden Triangle at the borders of Myanmar and Laos, has undergone incredible transformation from its historical association with opium cultivation to becoming a thriving hub for high-quality Arabica coffee. Initiated by the King of Thailand in the 1970s, local farmers underwent a pivotal shift as the government redirected their focus to coffee cultivation and alternative crops, laying the foundation for a new era that has yielded significant success in the last couple of decades. Today, young adults aged 25-35 are increasingly drawn to coffee farming due to accessible land and the profitability of growing high-quality coffee.
Supon's journey took him far from Doi Chang as he pursued theological studies with hopes of uplifting his fellow villagers and family back home, many of whom were stateless refugees grappling with a lack of basic resources. His return in 2012 marked the beginning of a mission—one that intertwined his newfound love for the coffee cultivation process with a commitment to empower farmers and neighbouring villages around his home. Thus, Sirinya Coffee was born, a testament to Supon's dedication, championing positive change and impacting lives through cultivating coffee.
Sirinya produces a high-quality selection of micro-lots in collaboration with Beanspire, who supports the quality assessment and processing stage. Only the ripest cherries make it to processing, and every lot is cupped for quality before being sold. This lot is a natural coffee, where the coffee is quickly rinsed and floated before fermenting for one night. The cherries then dry on raised beds until 15% moisture content to preserve acidity and complexity. After that, the cherries dry at a slower rate in a moisture-controlled room, reaching between 10% and 12%. This delayed drying stage imparts sweetness and body to the coffee.
Beanspire Coffee, founded in 2013, exemplifies the success of using coffee as an agent of change and sustainability in Thailand. Collaborating with local farmers like Supon, Beanspire ensures that the finest green coffee beans maintain their identities in the global market. Farming practices in Chiang Rai prioritize sustainability, incorporating polyculture, organic practices, and cultivating local varieties alongside globally recognized ones. This commitment to quality positions Thai coffee high up in the global specialty coffee market, with a new generation of farmers embracing specialty coffee farming as a path to success.