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Lao Mountain Coffee
We are temporarily out of stock on all our Lao Mountain Coffee. Keep checking back to see if we are able to get any in stock. _________________________________________________________
We are HUGE fans of Lao Mountain Coffee and are good friends of the owner, Steve Feldschneider. If you want to enjoy the finest in Lao coffee outside of Laos, we hope that soon you will be able to purchase LMC here at Laos Essential Artistry. We're still working with Steve on the best way to have LMC packaged and shipped so it tastes as fresh as when you drink it in Laos. If you think you would purchase the coffee let us know and with enough customer demand we will try to expedite our arrangements with Lao Mountain Coffee.
A little about Lao Mountain Coffee (LMC) and the history of Lao coffee. Most importantly, LMC is a small roasting company based in Vientiane, Laos, focused on providing the highest quality beans, uniquely blended and freshly roasted.
Coffee in Laos is cultivated almost exclusively on the Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province in the southern part of the country. The Plateau, with ample rainfall, cool temperatures and rich volcanic soil, reaches an elevation of over 1300 meters at 15 degrees latitude - perfect conditions for growing world-class coffee. The Arabica coffee beans from the plateau are known for their medium body and a combination of mild citrus and floral tones.
The coffee growing community in Laos includes about 20,000 farming families in 250 villages and several larger farming companies. Many ethnic minority groups are members of this community and most farming families depend on the income from the coffee harvest for survival.
French colonists planted the first coffee trees in Laos around 1915, but the experiment failed. Another attempt was made in 1917, when both Arabica and Robusta plants were selected from Saigon's botanical gardens and planted in Thateng, a village in the northern part of the plateau. Again the experiment failed from lack of care.
The French finally established a successful coffee harvest in Laos in the 1930's with annual production peaking at 5000 tons. Twenty years later most of the coffee trees on the plateau died from a combination of orange rust disease and frost. Production fell to less than 1500 tons, and the farmers began to replace most of their Arabica bushes with more disease tolerant Robusta trees. Coffee production recovered but then fell victim to the war and production again declined from 7000 tons to 3000 tons a year. With the end of the war and the relocation of many families to the fertile and productive plateau, the coffee business again recovered.
Currently, the Lao coffee harvest generates about 15-20,000 tons a year, 80% of which is Robusta. Over the past 20 years, various development agencies and the Lao government have been working with the farmers to introduce hearty, high yielding Arabica plants to the plateau. At about double the price of Robusta, this effort has gradually improved farmer incomes.
LMC works directly with farmers and farmer groups to assure that the beans they buy are processed according to specialty coffee standards - ripe, fresh cherries, disciplined processing and professional grading and sorting. They sample all of their beans before they buy them to assure quality and consistency, and for the best beans, they pay the highest prices in Laos. Their retail coffee is roasted to order to ensure freshness (look for the roast date on the package), maybe the most important part of making a good cup of coffee.
Specialty Roasting: LMC deals in smaller volumes than the big guys and roasts their coffee in smaller batches. This allows them to monitor quality and customize their roasts and blends using many different kinds of beans. Their varied inventory of beans also reflects the diversity of processing styles, altitude of the trees and type of coffee bean. They have a choice of among 20 different beans, from a wet process Arabica Typica grown at 1300m, to a natural process Arabica Catimore grown at 1000m.
LMC is the only roaster in Laos and one of the few in the world that offers a high elevation wet process Robusta alone and in blends. This coffee bean has a uniquely smooth and powerful body and sweetness.
Fair Trade/Oxfam: In their effort to work as closely with the coffee farmer as they can, they have developed a relationship with the Jhai Coffee Farmer Cooperative, a Fair Trade certified co-op on the Bolaven Plateau. The Jhai Coffee farmers are one of the few groups in Laos that make a pure Arabica Typica coffee. Because they are Fair Trade certified, LMC knows that the farmers receive all of the income generated by their coffee and LMC is proud to support them and the Fair Trade program.
Oxfam also has a project on the Bolaven Plateau and Lao Mountain Coffee is proud to support their efforts. The farmers that participate in the Oxfam project produce a specialty grade coffee, sell their coffee directly to the export market or local roasters and are building a sustainable, independent program that maximizes their income.
Here at Laos Essential Artistry we will be selling the four major blends that LMC produces:
Naga Blend: Their signature blend, considered one of the finest coffees in Asia, made with 100% arabica beans
White Parasol: A traditional washed arabica coffee, with elegant citrus and floral notes
Elephant Express: Their classic Italian style blend, a brilliant espresso, their most complex and compelling blend
Peaberry: A very special bean in very limited quantities - the best in Lao coffee
We think you will agree that the best in Lao coffee goes quite well with the finest in Lao textiles and handicrafts. As Peter Greenberg, Travel Contributor wrote for the Today Show when Matt Lauer visited Laos on April 30, 2008 as part of his “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” series, "Laos is a true magical mystery tour. Few Americans visit. Fewer understand it. However, more and more savvy travelers are slowly discovering this small country.”
And you will understand why after being able to savor this exquisite taste of Laos!