Nestled in the picturesque mountains of northern Thailand, you'll find the unique coffee-growing region of Doi Tung, locally pronounced as "Doi Tung," situated at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 meters above sea level. Boasting a rich history and unique farming and processing methods, the coffee produced in this region is truly one-of-a-kind. One interesting fact about this region is that it is part of the Golden Triangle, an area known for its historical opium production, which has since been transformed into a thriving coffee cultivation region.
Coffee cultivation in Doi Tung began in the late 1980s, as part of an initiative led by the Thai Royal Family to replace opium production with sustainable agricultural practices. The Mae Fah Luang Foundation, established by the late Princess Srinagarindra, spearheaded the efforts to introduce coffee farming to the region, providing necessary resources and education for local farmers to transition from opium cultivation to coffee growing. Today, Doi Tung coffee is highly regarded for its quality and unique flavor profile, a testament to the success of the region's transformation.
While specific farming and processing methods may vary among individual farmers in Doi Tung, a few common practices contribute to the distinct character of the region's coffee. Most coffee farms in the area are small, family-owned operations that focus on sustainable and organic farming practices. The high altitude and fertile soil of the region create ideal conditions for growing Arabica coffee, which is the primary variety cultivated in Doi Tung.In terms of processing, the majority of coffee farms in Thailand, including those in Doi Tung, employ the washed process. This method involves removing the coffee cherry's pulp and mucilage before drying the beans, resulting in a clean and bright cup profile. However, some farmers in the region also experiment with other processing methods, such as honey and natural processing, which can yield unique flavors and nuances in the final cup.
Doi Tung coffee is renowned for its complex and vibrant flavor profile. Coffees from this region typically exhibit bright acidity, medium body, and a well-rounded mouthfeel. Common tasting notes include floral and citrusy tones, such as jasmine and bergamot, as well as fruity flavors like green apple and red berries. The washed process often imparts a clean and crisp finish, making Doi Tung coffee truly delightful to the palate.
As the coffee industry in Doi Tung continues to grow and evolve, it is not uncommon to find new and innovative flavors and processing methods emerging from this region. The dedication and passion of local farmers, combined with the unique terroir and history of Doi Tung, make this Thai coffee region one to watch in the specialty coffee world.