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Dispatches from Myanmar - Day 3

Below are dispatches from Tyler Zimmer's trip to Myanmar. We'll update the blog as Tyler writes. Stay tuned.

Day 3

It is our second day here in Pyin Oo Lin and we start out the day by heading to the Mandalay Coffee Group’s office and cupping lab. We checked out their mill and the systems they have in place. This is the 2nd year that the mill is in operation and it is as nice as any in the world. All the coffee here is wet processed and fermented 24 hours in concrete tanks. The coffee is then moved to the concrete patios where the coffee is turned and raked until it is dry. It is then moved to their storage facility where the coffee rests until the parchment is ready to be removed at the dry mill. They are still finishing their dry mill on property so their coffee is milled at a nearby facility.

After the more in-depth tour of the mill we have 2 rounds of tables to cup. There are 17 coffees from the Pyin Oo Lwin region that we are evaluating. For perspective, last there were very few coffees scored over 82 points in the entire country. In this morning’s cupping I scored 11 of the 17 over 82 points with the lowest score being 80 and the highest score 85. This is a dramatic improvement in quality from last year and this is still a very small sample size. Most of the top coffees last year came from the Ywangan area in Southern Shan state which we will see tomorrow and Thursday.

After cupping we visited two more estates beginning with the Lone Star Estate. The ways that some of the farms get their names is quite funny. In this instance the owner had a friend from Texas and next thing you know you get Lone Star Estate! This was another relatively large farm of about 100 acres, 85 of which is planted with coffee, one of the other crops is dragon fruit. Lone Star grows only the S795 variety which is a hybrid of Liberica and Kent (typica) at 1150 meters above sea level. This is one of the more popularly planted varieties planted in Myanmar. We did come across just a few yellow fruited plants, probably yellow catuai. We had tasted this coffee as a pourover on Monday at the MCG offices but it did not show quite as well on the cupping table, scoring 81.5 for me.

After Lone Star we headed to other side of Pyin Oo Lwin to Mr. Sai Wan’s farm, Green Land. One of the first things we see is Sai Wan’s nursery filled with SL 34, Sarchimor (a Costa Rica hybrid) and Panama Geisha! He also had macadamia and a type of shade tree called silver oak that was actually an evergreen. Most of the farm is planted with Sarchimor with a small amount dedicated to SL 34. He is planning on planting more SL 34 this year. A large portion of the coffee is washed and fermented 24 hours, though he has begun to do some small experimenting of naturals. Sai Wan had 3 coffees on this morning’s table and all 3 scored 83 points or higher. I scored his lots, 83, 84, and 85 respectively, the 85 lot being a naturally processed lot of sarchimor, great results for his first year of processing naturals!

Pyin Oo Lwin has been a great experience so far. Such big improvements are being made in a short period of time, though they still have a ways to go in overall quality. Tomorrow we head off to southern Shan, near Ywangan to visit the many small holders in the area.

More to come, #followthegoat

Coffee and rakes at the drying patios, Mandalay Coffee Group

Drying patio at Mandalay Coffee Group, Pyin Oo Lwin

Fermentation tanks, Mandalay Coffee Group, Pyin Oo Lwin

Naturals drying at Green Land Estate, Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar

Parchment is stored here until the coffee is ready to be dry milled

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