Coffee from Myanmar still is a surprising guest on coffee menus in Europe. For us at 32cup, the origin definitely was a discovery! We cupped through plenty of samples and selected 4 coffees for you that represent the origin quite well. This washed microlot from the Ngu Shwe Li estate keeps the company of a natural microlot from Moe Htet estate, and two regional selections.
Through national and international investment, the coffee sector in this Southeast Asian republic has seen rapid growth over recent years. As the country opened up gradually to the world, more coffee began to find its way out through export, international visitors and trade shows. Older large estates sit side to side with newer, specialty-focused small estates, making Myanmar a diverse origin to watch for the future!
Tradition and innovation at Ngu Shwe Li Estate
The second microlot in our selection is a washed SL34 selection from the Ngu Shwe Li estate in Pyin Oo Lwin. It is one of the older coffee estates, starting activities in 1979. Owner mister Kyaw Sein first cultivated coffee, macadamia nuts and fruits on 40 hectares. At first, they cultivated only the S795 variety, which was developed and appreciated for its coffee leaf rust resistance. To improve the cup quality of his production, Kyaw Sein purchased an additional 50 hectares and planted it with the SL34 variety. He processes and batches lots of these varieties separately.
Ngu Shwe Li has its own processing infrastructure on-site. The estate produces both natural and washed coffees. The washed lots all undergo processing between 15 and 20 hours after picking. Cherry selection takes place first: through flotation, they remove floaters. Next, machines depulp the coffee. A mucilage removal machine lowers the need for intensive washing after fermentation. With little mucilage still sticking to the parchment, the coffee ferments for a couple of hours in concrete tanks. Finally, with a quick wash, the parchment is clean and ready for drying on the raised bed system. This usually takes up to 10 days, depending on the weather.
Northern Myanmar has ideal conditions for producing specialty coffee. The coffee plantations lie at altitude ranges from 1100 to 1600 meters above sea level. Rainfall is properly distributed throughout the year, with a marked dry season in December and January. The harvest season runs from December to April in Pyin Oo Lwin. In Southern Shan around Ywangan, most of the harvest ends in March.