Processing: Semi washed and dried on patios
Altitude: 1500 meters above sea level
Region: Lam Dong Province, Central Highlands
Owners: Dung K'No Smallholder farmers
Tasting notes: Sweet, browned butter, milk chocolate, toasted nuts
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SPECIALTY COFFEE GROWN IN SMALL QUANTITY
The main variety of Arabica grown in the region is Catimor. It was originally chosen for its adaptation to local climate and altitude. The small portion of Arabica grown in Vietnam hails almost entirely from the Lam Dong province, while 95-97% of the country production is Robusta.
The Dung K'No commune has good potential for quality production. Yet farmers have often had poor crops due to ageing coffee trees, for example, an issue that these farmers have learnt to address without having to spend money they do not have. One solution consists in grafting new shoots onto on old stump. Grafting onto strong, established rootstock helps the plants to achieve resistance to diseases.
Cherries are hand-picked between November and January. Once picked, they are taken to the nearest collection point, where each bag undergoes stringent quality control. Lots are defined by day of collection and by farm.
At the end of each day, bags are taken to the wet mill and cherries are unloaded into a flotation tank to eliminate ‘floaters’ (spoilt beans). Beans are immediately put through an eco-friendly de-pulper known for its reduced water consumption. After, the coffee is run through a demucilager, before being delivered to raised beds for sun-drying. Depending on the weather, drying can last from 4 to 10 days.
Coffee in Vietnam is mostly grown in the Central Highlands, and so Dung K’No, home to the K’No people, really is at the heart of the country’s coffee-growing area. The K’No people are one of many ethnic minorities in Vietnam and they speak their own local language.
Dung K’No is a commune of around 500 households, for whom the main source of income is agriculture. Most farmers work on very small plots (less than 2 hectares- less than the size of two football pitches)
Producers in this region started growing coffee around 20 years ago, but coffee was introduced to Vietnam in the 1800s and was grown on many French-owned colonial plantations.Nonetheless, due to a variety of political and economic factors, Vietnam was slow to achieve any real relevance as a coffee-producing nation. This had all changed by 1990, by which point Vietnam had reached its current place as the second-highest producing coffee country in the world (after Brazil) – a result of heavy investment in coffee production. The country’s story of rapid growth, however, left little room for high-quality coffee, and arabica still accounts for very little of the overall coffee production in Vietnam.
Every care is taken in Lam Dong so that coffee is grown and processed to achieve the best results. After processing, all coffee is cupped, with only the best beans making it into speciality lots.