|Taste||Red currant, clove and custard.|
Sin Net Chaung is a community in southern Shan State, Myanmar. Though not instinctively associated with specialty coffee, this region of Myanmar has received significant investment and attention over the last several years, from organizations such as the United States Agency of International Development (USAID), the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), and our importing partners, Atlas Coffee. In 2014, Atlas traveled to Myanmar with Winrock, a nonprofit organization receiving funding from USAID, as part of a broader Value Chains for Rural Development project. Fundamentally, the goal of this project has been to improve farmer productivity, market connectivity, and access to financial resources. In 2016, Atlas became the first North American importer to bring containers of specialty coffee from Myanmar to our market.
Currently, Atlas works with a dozen communities producing specialty coffee in southern Shan. In 2018, five community leaders started an organization called Shwe Thaung Thu (“Golden Farmer”), which has since grown to include one elected representative from each of the coffee-producing communities in the region. Shwe Thaung Thu meets twice per month to advance its goals of access to finance, technical support, and market connections for its members. In addition to these core areas of emphasis, Shwe Thaung Thu also hosts cuppings, trainings, and events for its core members (currently about 400 individuals, 60% women) and associate members, totaling over 3,000.
Though the vast majority of coffee produced in Myanmar is washed, dry-processed lots have most consistently caught discerning buyers’ attention, presenting clean, bright, consistent, yet very unique flavour profiles. In spring of 2019, our Green Buyer had the opportunity to meet with Soe Thinzar, the young and charismatic woman currently as Shwe Thaung Thu’s Sales and Quality Control Director. Following this meeting and a brief tasting of some of the group’s coffees, we eventually sampled 2019’s offerings at our roastery, selecting this dry-processed lot from Sin Net Chaung. With radiant tropical fruits, nuts, and spices, this clean and balanced cup leapt off the table, and we were impressed to later learn that Sin Net Chaung’s cleanliness transcends the coffee, the town going so far as to win a regional award for its tidiness. Though this is our first venture into specialty coffee from Myanmar, we hope for this to be the beginning of a long-term partnership. In the cup, we taste red currant, clove, and custard.