Region: Thet Kan Village, Pyin Oo Lwin District, Mandalay Region
Producer Type: Private, Green Land Estate
Altitude: 1150 masl
Genetic Varieties: Costa Rica, SL-34, Catimor (Others currently being planted: Gesha, Bourbon, Yellow/Red Catuai, Mundo Novo)
Processing: Washed, Natural
Drying Methods: Patios and Raised Beds
Notes: Milk chocolate and walnut notes; complex, tangy acidity; sweet, creamy body
Coffee was first introduced to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 1885 by British colonists. Commercial production didn’t take off at first, and when the British left the coffee business went into a kind of enforced hibernation. The bulk of the coffee grown here during that time made its way across borders to China, Laos and Thailand via “unofficial” transactions.
For the next fifty years or so, the coffee trade inched along on a fairly limited scale. Over the last several years, however, several organizations have begun to put more focus on the coffee trade as the Myanmar economy has opened up.
U Sai Wan Maing is the owner of Green Land Coffee Estate in Pyin Oo Lwin. He purchased 750 acres from the Burmese government in 1998, in 1999 started growing coffee, and has continually grown and improved his estate since. U Sai Wan built a wet mill and with water is in short supply and expensive, they rebalance the ph-levels of the waste water and irrigate the coffee fields with it.
In 2011 he replaced Costa Rica varietals with SL-23, in 2017 he planted Gesha, and in 2018 has planted bourbon, red catuai, yellow catuai, and mundo novo varietals. He grows his coffee under the shade of silver oak trees and has an extensive coffee nursery. Currently 450 of the 750 acres are planted.
Further, U Sai Wan has been one of the key players in the development of the smallholder coffees in the region. He also managed the export of the first containers of specialty Myanmar coffee ever shipped to the United States.