VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Lao Mountain Coffee’s peaberry blend has won first place in the Continental Awards for Asia coffee competition.
Peaberry, the award-winning coffee, is a naturally occurring coffee and constitutes only 5-10 per cent of the global coffee market.
The World Coffee Challenge Competition took place in Ourense, Spain, from September 29-30, gathering coffee growers from more than 34 countries with the aim of promoting high quality coffee.
Lao Mountain Coffee represented Laos in the competition and entered its coffee sourced from beans grown on the Bolaven Plateau in Pakxong district, Champassak province. Pakxong is known as one of the best areas to grow some of the world’s best tasting coffee.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, coffee is Laos’ third largest agricultural export and is sold to 26 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.
The government is promoting coffee production in 11 provinces of Laos, to supply the growing need for high-quality products in the local and foreign markets.
As of 2018, coffee was grown on 95,400 hectares and the total yield was recorded at 154,135 tonnes, compared to 77,540 tonnes in 2015, with most of the crop grown on the Bolaven Plateau.
Most of the coffee produced in Laos is made from the Arabica and Robusta varieties. Lao coffee exports (unit tonnes of green beans) rose from 28,320 tonnes in 2017 to 31,495 tonnes in 2018.
Last year, 56 per cent of Lao coffee (green bean) exports to international markets went to Vietnam, 13 per cent to Japan, 12 per cent to Thailand, 3 per cent to Cambodia, 2 per cent to Germany, 1.5 per cent to China, 0.9 per cent to the US, and 11 percent to other countries.
In the domestic market, Lao coffee products such as three-in-one and coffee beans are sold to coffee shops such as Amazon, Dao Heuang, Sinouk and Joma.
The first coffee plantation on the Boloven plateau was set up around 1920 by French settlers alongside roads built by the colonial administration.
Coffee rapidly became the main crop in the area, especially after the construction of a research centre near Pakxong in 1930.