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Lao coffee — why you can’t miss it and what you should know

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You may not have heard of Lao coffee very often but Laos is an important global player when it comes to coffee production. The country has a reputation for producing some exceptionally good coffee. Especially people who prefer rich and strong coffee should try coffee from Laos. Many families are dependent on growing coffee and it’s therefore not surprising that Lao coffee has somehow become a cultural asset. Some locals consider the coffee the best in the world. This is of course a matter of taste but there’s no denying that the Southeast Asian country is an important coffee producer. Coffee is even a main export commodity of the country.

Interesting facts about Laotian coffee:

Types of coffee produced in Laos

In Laos predominantly the two coffee types Arabica and Robusta are cultivated. In case you don’t know: Arabica usually has a sweeter and softer taste, while Robusta’s taste is stronger and harder. Since the coffee in Laos is cultivated in high altitudes, the two types of coffee have a special Laotian aroma. Especially the Arabica beans in Laos impress with their mild citrus and floral tones but the Robusta is also very special. In contrast to most other countries, in Laos the coffee is grown at high altitudes, what  has an impact on the taste. In any case, it’s worth trying the coffee. There are many coffee lovers around the world who really appreciate Laotian coffee. We’re just a few of them.

Coffee growing regions in Laos

Most of the coffee in Laos is grown and harvested in the south. Strictly speaking, about 95% of Laotian coffee comes from the Bolaven Plateau. With a annual production rate of 20,000 tons of coffee a year, that are around 19,000 tons. Many farmers in the region make a living from growing coffee. It can’t be denied that the region offers the best conditions for cultivating coffee. Both the land resources and the suitable climate are ideal for growing Arabica and Robusta. One of the main locations of the coffee industry is the city of Paksong, who is well known for its coffee exports. If you’re in the south anyway, you should stop by. Among other things, the street market is interesting because it offers many different local goods.

cup of black coffee

History of coffee cultivation in Laos

Unlike many other things, coffee growing in Laos actually isn’t that traditional. Coffee has only played a role since 1915. At that time, French colonists brought coffee plants to Laos. They quickly realized that the country’s conditions are ideal for growing coffee. This is partly due to the fact that there are many fertile soils associated with past volcanic activities. Other important factors are the high altitude of 800 to 1350 meters and the climatic conditions. Over time, coffee cultivation in Laos became increasingly important economically. The government itself took many measures to promote coffee growing. With success. Laos has now become an important coffee exporter.

Coffee tourism in Laos

Laos is one of the few countries in the world where you can find an authentic coffee tourism. Given what the Bolaven Plateau region has to offer, it’s actually hardly surprising. Especially the local waterfalls are worth seeing. If you’re a passionate coffee lover and interested in Lao coffee, a coffee plantation tour might be interesting for you. The tours not only include an incredible landscape, but you also learn many interesting facts about cultivating coffee in Laos. If you don’t want to book a tour, please make sure that you take an expert guide with you. There are still landmines in the Bolaven Plateau. A risk you have to be aware of. By the way, you can easily find a roasting workshop in Paksong. If you want to know how to make coffee by yourself or buy Laos coffee beans, you should definitely go there.

Where to buy Lao coffee

There are several ways to buy coffee made in Laos. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.  Probably the best option, which of course requires a trip to Laos, is to buy the coffee on site. In the south of Laos you have the best selection of coffee beans and at a great price. If a trip to the Bolaven Plateau (or another region in Laos) is out of the question, you can order the coffee online. Maybe you’re even lucky and one of the supermarkets near you imports Laotian coffee. Since coffee is one of the most important export products of Laos, that’s not so unlikely. France, by the way,  is one of the main importers of Laotian coffee. So in French supermarkets the probability to find it, is quite high.

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