Source: Vientiane Times
Two Americans who are passionate about quality coffee are promoting plantations of the crop in partnership with farmers in Huaphan province, the former revolutionary stronghold.
In 2014, after meeting up in Vientiane, Americans Steve Patton and Tyler Gant soon realised they had a lot in common.
They both are certified Arabica Q-Graders who are passionate about quality coffee, both love adventure and experiencing new things, and both were looking for business investment opportunities in Laos.
With these shared interests, it was an easy decision to join together to establish Yuni Coffee Co., Ltd. — a company which focuses on sourcing, processing, and selling specialty-grade coffee from Northern Laos, particularly coffees grown in impoverished areas for the purpose of bettering the livelihoods of coffee farmers.
The two friends hold a strong belief that there is tremendous potential for high-quality coffee in the northern provinces of Laos, and on this basis, founded Yuni Coffee Co.
With a bit of research, Patton and Gant learned that government and non-government agencies alike have encouraged coffee planting in Huaphan province for many years.
However, up until 2015, and the arrival of Yuni Coffee Co., there were no suitable processing facilities, and most importantly, no serious buyers nor market for the coffee being grown. As a result, discouraged villagers in many areas of Huaphan began cutting down their coffee trees to replace them with other crops.
Despite this, in 2014, Yuni Coffee Co. was able to sample the coffee that remained to test for quality and conduct research on the viability of coffee cultivation in various areas of Huaphan. The result: in 2015 Yuni Coffee Co. decided to make Huaphan their primary location for producing specialty-grade Lao coffee to share with the world. For the first time ever many coffee farmers in Huaphan are experiencing hope. Hope for a brighter future, one where they are able to produce and sell coffee as a source of sustainable income to provide for their families.
In 2016, Yuni Coffee Co. began their work in earnest in the province by setting up the province’s first major coffee production facility in Nala village, Xam Tai district. To the farmers in the area, this was a major encouragement to continue coffee cultivation in the cool mountain areas surrounding Xam Tai.
Today, coffee nurseries are being established and Yuni Coffee Co. has joined with local farmers to begin planting more coffee, all the while providing ongoing training for the farmers on how to care for their trees throughout the year and how to carefully handpick the coffee cherries at the peak of their ripeness to obtain the best quality.
Patton and Gant continue to live with their families in Huaphan province, daily working alongside farmers and local staff to strengthen the coffee supply chain in the area.
Producing specialty coffee takes a lot of hard work and attention to detail, but it’s work that the international market rewards by purchasing the coffee at higher prices than the standard commodity market can offer.
Yuni Coffee Co. believes it is this kind of dedication and attention to detail that will help bring about real change for farmers. The company is excited to play a part in bettering the livelihoods of these small plot coffee farmers and their families.
If you plan to travel to Xamneua, don’t miss the Yuni Coffee Co. Cafe where you can taste the delicious coffee produced through the work of Yuni Coffee Co. in partnership with local farmers.
The coffee shop is currently in Thatmeuang village but the company plans to move it to the city centre next month in Phanxay village, Vieng Xieng district, next to the Xayphasouk Hotel and the Nouaykeo monument, the symbol of the province.
Roasted coffee can also be ordered via the Yuni Coffee Co. website with delivery services to Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Find the website for Yuni Coffee Co. at www.yunicoffeeco.com, and follow their work and developments and special offers on Instagram @yunicoffeeco. For inquiries, contact Yuni Coffee Co. at firstname.lastname@example.org.