Laos isn’t the first region to top coffee drinkers list, but that is fast changing in part to Bolaven Farms direct trade organic beans. This farm is one of the many success stories of the Crop Share Training program there. The work of the son of a Laotian immigrant to Canada, the program trains farmers and shares the profits with trainees who then invest in their own farms. To boot, the coffee is as tasty as any of the best from around the world. They also have instituted a trending coffee processing technique, honey-processed coffee.
From fruit to cup: The Bolaven Farms limited release Arabica that you received in the Coffee Crates this month, begin their life in the mountains of Northern Laos along the Mekong River. Shade grown, then picked, skins removed, and dried with partial pulp or mucilage still attached to the bean, which is referred to as the honey process. Why is this so interesting and consequential to us coffee lovers? There are several factors that contribute to the flavor profile of coffee, and one of those variables is processing method used. As Coffee Review says so well “variations in processing that are carefully and mindfully pursued can alter the sensory properties of coffee in amazing and exciting ways.”
The traditionally used method of processing coffee is “washed” or “wet” processed, wherein first the skins and fruit is removed through light fermentation, then washed to remove the remaining mucilage and finally dried, usually in the sun. While this method has produced consistency in the industry, the approach has a heavier environmental footprint than natural or honey processes because of the high quantity of water used. And from a drinker’s perspective, we believe coffee is much more exciting when there are vibrant variations in the notes that can be hit in each cup.
Back to the honey processed Bolaven Farm’s bean we featured in this month’s Coffee Crate, when we first cupped the sample from Torch Coffee Roasters in Raleigh, NC it was excited to find hints of butterscotch contrasted with grassy herbs. This coffee’s story begins on those tropical highlands in Laos, which experience a heavy rainy season, grown organically in the shade, then meticulously processed using the honey processing method, by a community of farmers that participate in the Crop-share Training Program that provides land, housing, training, coffee plants, tools and 36% of the total profits. And finally sent to Torch Coffee Roasters in Raleigh and delicately roasted to highlight the unique profile this bean has to offer. Enjoy!
Coffee Crate, what’s it all about?
We believe that coffee tastes better when there’s an empowering story of love and respect that connects us to the origin of the beans.
We are an online coffee subscription and gift service, providing carefully curated roasts from local North Carolina roasters, delivered every month to your door. We work with roasters who connect with the story of where their beans come from, and who uphold ethical standards of sustainability and labor. In this way, we curate the highest quality beans and carefully package them with creativity and love.
We continuously taste an assortment of beans from local roasters who take pride in their craft and strive to produce uniquely delicious coffees. We place an emphasis on working with roasters who work directly with the farms. Some of the growers are engaged in community empowerment, such as women owned cooperatives, local education and community health.
When selecting beans for Coffee Crate, our emphasis is on the virtuous delight of not only an ethically sourced product, but also one that activates the senses of our body and mind.
Together with a locally crafted goodie, we deliver delicious right to your door.