Surat Thani, a southern province in Thailand, is becoming increasingly recognized for its specialty coffee production. Pronounced "su-rat-ta-nee," this region is nestled between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, with altitudes ranging between 100-800 meters above sea level. An interesting fact about Surat Thani is that it is home to the largest province in Thailand, covering an area of 12,891 square kilometers.
The history of coffee cultivation in Surat Thani dates back to the early 20th century when coffee was introduced by Chinese immigrants. The region, known for its fertile soil and favorable climate, quickly embraced the new crop. In recent years, the Thai government has been actively promoting coffee cultivation in the area to help diversify the local economy and provide a sustainable income source for smallholder farmers.
In Surat Thani, most coffee farms are small, family-owned operations that rely on traditional farming methods. The coffee plants are often grown under the shade of taller trees, a practice that helps maintain biodiversity and protect the coffee from extreme weather conditions. This agroforestry system also provides additional income sources for the farmers through the cultivation of other crops, such as fruits and vegetables.While specific processing methods may vary among individual farms, the majority of coffee in Surat Thani is processed using the wet method. This involves depulping the coffee cherries, fermenting the beans in water for a specific period, and then washing them to remove any remaining residue. The beans are then sun-dried on raised beds or patios before being sorted and prepared for export.
Coffee from Surat Thani is known for its unique and complex flavor profile. While the specific flavors may vary depending on the farm and processing methods, some common tasting notes include floral, fruity, and nutty nuances accompanied by a bright acidity. The coffee often exhibits a medium body with a smooth mouthfeel and a sweet, lingering finish. These characteristics make Surat Thani coffee highly sought after by specialty coffee enthusiasts who appreciate a well-balanced and flavorful cup.
One notable coffee farm in Surat Thani is the Doi Chaang Coffee farm, which has gained recognition for its commitment to sustainable farming practices and high-quality coffee production. Doi Chaang Coffee works closely with local farmers to provide education and support in implementing environmentally-friendly farming methods. The farm also prioritizes fair and ethical trading practices, ensuring that the farmers receive a fair price for their coffee.Another noteworthy farm in the region is the Khao Sok Coffee farm, located near the stunning Khao Sok National Park. This farm focuses on producing organic, shade-grown coffee using traditional farming techniques. The farm's commitment to preserving the natural environment has contributed to the unique flavor profile of its coffee, making it a favorite among specialty coffee lovers.
As the specialty coffee industry continues to grow and evolve, Surat Thani's coffee production is sure to gain further recognition for its unique flavors and sustainable farming practices. So, the next time you're in search of a new and exciting coffee experience, be sure to give Surat Thani coffee a try.