Produced in Hopong, Shan State of eastern Myanmar (ဟိုပုန်းမြို့)
Butterscotch, strawberry, oatmeal cookie and honeycomb
Myanmar has only recently started to create speciality coffees, but is doing so with impressive speed and results.
Having only been growing coffee since 2017, the farmers in Hopong are a perfect example of this breakthrough.
Entering the market with a bang, they nailed speciality grade naturals in their first attempt, and thanks to our friends at This Side Up, we’re now able to showcase their craft to the Odd Kin fam.
An exceptionally clean coffee, Indigo Mountain’s full bodied creamy mouthfeel and complex flavour profile is an all round triumph.
Roasted to unlock the best characteristics of Myanmar coffees’ taste profile, these beans offer sugary butterscotch and honeycomb notes with clear and untainted sweet red berry overtones.
Coffee in Myanmar tends to be grown with natural processing methods.
The Hopong farmers handpick their cherries in the early hours, before delivering them to drying stations where they get screened to roughly 95% ripeness.
Using a sun dried natural process, the cherries are placed on raised beds where they are slow dried from 13 to 17 days.
Safe to say if this is your first time buying Myanmar coffee, you’re in for a treat.
🇲🇲 Origin background:
Located in eastern Myanmar, the Shan State covers 155,800 km2 of land which is made up of hilly plateaus, valleys and the mountainous Shan Hills zone, where elevations reach 2,673 MASL.
This area of Myanmar is home to a collective of farmers from the Hopong region, who produce speciality Myanmar coffee beans at altitudes of 1,100 - 1,600 MASL.
Combined with a temperate and sunny climate, the region’s topography provides the ideal growing conditions for fruit, vegetable and coffee farming, but it is also an area that has been mired in conflict.
Rife with poppy cultivation, the Shan State is reported to be the source of just under 90%* of Myanmar’s opium and heroin production.
The situation for farmers in rural areas of Myanmar is complex.
Faced with rising living costs, exploitative credit systems and the threat of violence, high-value commercial crops like opium provide stable prices which are crucial to the livelihood of smallholders.
Many of the farmers in Hopong were caught between producing poorly processed coffee to brokers and middlemen, and reluctantly growing opium for armed insurgent groups while fearing prosecution from local authorities.
Motivated to transition away from poppy production, they sought new opportunities through licit crops.
After learning through social media of other farms receiving NGO aid in the production of high quality materials, the Hopong farmers took a huge leap of faith and embraced speciality coffee production, a move which led them to break into international trade and become truly independent.
2017 was the year that the farmers exported a small pilot batch of their Myanmar coffee beans to our import partner This Side Up.
By 2020, word had spread to six neighbouring villages, sparking hope for the wider former opium producing communities in the region.
More about This Side Up:
This Side Up is a coffee sourcing company that facilitates fair value trade by connecting smallholder growers from different origins to roasters like us.
In Myanmar, they have played a key part in promoting speciality Burmese coffee as a means to counter opium production.
Among their many achievements, in 2019 they switched exporters to help empower women in Myanmar's coffee sector.
The speciality coffee landscape in Myanmar is transforming, and we're stoked to be able to show our support.