Chiang Mai’s love affair with coffee may be new, but it is strong, passionate and promising to endure. Our mountains produce high grade coffee which rivals some of the best in the world and our plethora of coffee shops are gathering places where beans, conversations and ideas are brewed. There are many cities across the globe — Seattle, Melbourne, Vienna — where coffee is deeply embedded into the city’s DNA and there are many countries around the world — Brazil, Ethiopia, Jamaica — which are renowned for the production of excellent coffee. Yet Chiang Mai joins a small group of cities — Adis Ababa, Sao Paolo, Bogota — which enjoy both a vibrant coffee culture as well as being within a stone’s throw of the cool mountains on which it is all grown.
Our coffee story is also unique. “In each cup there is a story. It is a story of drug addiction, of poverty, of deforestation, of a King who worked hard and came up with a vision to help his people and of challenges almost unimaginable. It is also a story of faith, of passion, of prosperity, of education, of overcoming disadvantages, of international cooperation, and of hope,” said Nareumon Taksaudom, President of Chiang Mai Coffee City and MD of Hillkoff, whose father pioneered the market for Chiang Mai coffee back in the sixties.
“We have farmers who are becoming roasters and roasters who are opening coffee shops. A consumer can visit a coffee plantation, meet a farmer and take some coffee to trade, creating their own brand. There are many roles for many people to play. This is good news up and down the chain.” It appears that Chiang Mai’s coffee culture, forged through the fire of time, experience, passion and hard work, is paying the gift forward to future generations.
Editor Pim Kemasingki lounges back on her daybed and has a lovely chitchat with Nareumon to find out what the future holds for Northern Thai coffee.