Recently, Arabica coffee produced from Ywar Ngan Township located in Shan State was recognized as the best coffee produced in Myanmar. The weather in Shan State is cooler with elevations of more than 4000 feet above sea level. With an average annual rainfall of 70 inch, good climate and rich soils, coffee growing has been successful in Ywar Ngan.
Coffee Expert Rick Peysar and the team from Winrock International visited Ywar Ngan in 2013 and started a value chain program in October 2014. The five-year $27 million project was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Winrock has trained about 3400 coffee farmers on a variety of agricultural best practices to ultimately yield higher quality beans. Methods range from plant management to composting techniques to efficient uses of coffee drying racks, helping farmers produce more quality Arabica coffee and to penetrate international market.
One of the most useful techniques they teach farmers is to pick the fruit at its proper level of ripeness and then employ a series of storage and processing methods to prevent the seed from rotting. Winrock and its partners also organized the first accredited coffee cupping competitions in Myanmar that involved professional judges grading various local brews.
Recent grading of Ywar Ngan coffee is revealed to have scored over 83 and considered the best coffee in Myanmar. Industry experts say the quality of Myanmar’s coffee might be able to keep up with top coffee producing countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.
The export price of special quality coffee fetches nearly $7000 per ton. There are about 30,000 acres of coffee plantation in Myanmar. They are found in Shan State, Pyin Oo Lwin area and Chin State. Currently Japanese and Korean dealers are purchasing Myanmar’s coffee.