FROM THIS POORLY MANAGED 52 HA
MONOCULTURE COFFEE PLANTATION…
THE COFFEE YOU ARE DRINKING IS REGENERATING FOREST AND BIODIVERSITY IN LAOS
Through a new partnership with the coffee company Slow, Coor has embarked on a journey, where Slow has acquired a 52 hectares coffee plantation in Laos to supply Coor with coffee.
The exciting part is that Slow will convert this plantation from a conventionally grown monoculture with a few sporadic small trees into a thriving and diverse agroforest with up to 450 trees per hectare. The long term result of you drinking Slow coffee is a reversal of the loss of nature in this coffee plantation.
… TO SOMETHING LIKE MR. JON’S THRIVING COFFEE FOREST
April 2023 update:
LAO NEW YEAR
In Laos, April is the time for renewal and new beginnings:
Pi Mai Lao, or Lao New Year, is the most important holiday of the year. The mid-April celebration marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the wet season.
During the three-day festival, people engage in various cultural activities, including "bathing the Buddha" statues and parades. The water pouring ritual symbolises washing away bad luck and misfortunes and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. Another important aspect of Lao New Year is the traditional dance performances, often accompanied by live music and colourful costumes.
The festival is also a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional Lao cuisine. Popular dishes include "khai paen", a type of crispy seaweed, and "laap", a spicy minced meat salad.
On the Phouluang farm, some of the workers visited their provinces and spent time with their families. And those who opted to stay celebrated the Lao New Year on the farm. They welcomed the new year with beer, good food and music.
Overall, Lao New Year is a vibrant and joyful festival that reflects the rich cultural heritage of Laos. It is an excellent time to experience this beautiful country's unique traditions and customs and celebrate new beginnings!
December 2022 update:
From September to November, a total of 148.856 kg of coffee cherries have been harvested on the Phouluang Farm!
The team on the farm has joined forces with approximately 100 seasonal workers from nearby villages in order to pick all the coffee cherries by hand. Red plump cherries are picked carefully to ensure that only fully ripe cherries will be processed - this guarantees a high quality of the coffee beans.
To maintain the freshness and quality of the beans, a day's harvest immediately gets transferred to its next stop on its journey:
After a day of picking, the farm workers take the crops to the wet mill facility to remove the coffee cherries' pulp (the “fruit flesh”).
The next step is drying the beans. Proper drying is crucial to avoid discolouration and bleaching. This takes 7-14 days. Especially in the first days, the coffee beans get turned and mixed frequently to ensure a thorough and even drying process.
Watch out for more Phouluang Farm updates to follow the coffee cherries’ journey from crop to cup!
January 2023 update:
The coffee harvest season wraps up, but the farm is still buzzing with activity!
On the Phouluang Farm, the harvest season has recently come to a close with an impressive total of 148.856 kg of coffee cherries which are processed into 25.380 kg of parchment. After picking and drying, the coffee parchment is now processed in the dry mill: There, the beans are hulled to remove the final layer of the beans revealing the green coffee beans that will subsequently be packed and made ready for shipment to Europe.
It has been a few busy months, but the work doesn't stop there! After the harvest season, the farm workers prepare the coffee plants for blooming. By weeding and pruning the plants, they ensure that the plants are healthy and in good shape.
The blooming of white flowers marks the beginning of a year-long journey. This is a crucial time for the plants since this will determine the potential productivity for the year.
Aside from the farm management, we are also preparing for the next tree planting. We aim to start the planting earlier this year in time for the rainy season.
More exciting news is coming, and we can't wait to give you an update!
August 2022 update:
The rainy season has begun in Laos, which is the perfect time for tree planting on the Phouluang farm.
At the beginning of the summer, we started by planting trees representing 14 different species. Our target is to plant 10,000 seedlings before the first week of August.
Unique endangered varieties in this region are among the native tree species being planted. The fruit-bearing trees chosen for the project include jackfruit, papaya, pomelo, avocado, and rambutan.
The embedded seedlings are supported by stakes and protected by bamboo guards, but ultimately, their survival will depend on the weather. Typically, 5-10% of the young trees will not mature.
The farm workers will continue to manage the seedlings. Over the next month, they will manually remove weeds around the trees to ensure their growth.
Growing forests helps increase the area's biodiversity and improves the soil quality on the farm. Trees also help protect coffee plants from extreme weather conditions.
The farm workers are also planting young coffee plants that will replace dead plants and replenish some areas with fewer plants. By mid-September, they will have planted around 50,000 coffee plants!
Stay tuned for more farm updates!
May 2022 update:
SCHOOL TUTORING SETUP
Since the pandemic, the kids of the coffee farmers have not been able to attend school regularly. We then established a local farm school tutoring setup at the Phouluang Farm to help them acquire the education they deserve. Finally, in the last few weeks, the kids happily returned to their school desks. And we’re excited to see that they are enjoying their learning time with their friends.
Education is an essential part of our social impact efforts, so it is a huge success to provide teaching support and school materials to the farm. Together with Slow, we were able to bring these simple joys to the children. We hope this will provide a springboard for the kids to dive right into regular school after summer.
In our seven-year regenerative coffee journey, we are looking forward to bringing better working conditions to the farmworkers and providing a better quality of life to their families. This school tutoring setup is one of the steps to a better future for their families.
Watch out for more updates on this regenerative project!
February 2022 update:
UPGRADING PLANTATION BUILDINGS AND INSTALLING OF SIGNAGE
The Slow team in Laos is currently working on renovating the on-site housing so that the new farm staff can move in during the spring season.
Slow has acquired the plantation and is hiring staff to manage it on all levels, including planting the many trees.
This means that a radically different level of transparency is possible in that Slow can ensure that farm work is happening according to fair working standards. In the coffee industry, there can be up to 15 intermediaries in the value chain, making it very difficult to know how farmer conditions are.
All Slow's plantation workers are getting paid fairly and have good working conditions like sick leave, insurance, paid nursery for kids etc.
Additionally, the Slow Laos Team successfully installed the signage for the Coor farm, which is now officially named Phouluang Coffee Farm.
Stay tuned, and learn more as the work on the plantation progresses!
An agroforest is a planted or natural forest with agriculture embedded. A coffee agroforest is one in which coffee plants are grown.
By planting trees and bushes alongside existing coffee plants, the planted forest will, over time, closely mimic a natural forest that will attract and host a variety of insects and wildlife. This environment is far more generative than the existing coffee monocultures and excellent for producing quality coffee, as it resembles the original conditions under which coffee naturally grew.
In the 52-hectare plantation that Slow is converting to an agroforest for Coor, we will plant up to 450 trees per hectare, of 20 different varietals, mainly native, ten of which will be fruit trees, serving to attract birds and insects further.
In 10 years, Slow aims to get this farm certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, the highest possible certification for biodiversity and preservation.
“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority of everyone, everywhere.“
UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, December 2020
Slow is in the business of nature-positive coffee. The term refers to halting and reversing the loss of nature by 2030, a Global Goal for Nature laid out by prominent scientists and leaders like Johan Rockström, Paul Polman and Peter Bakker.
In practice, it means that Slow works towards:
> Capturing more carbon in our coffee forests than is emitted in the rest of our production. This carbon capture occurs naturally in agroforests without buying carbon credits or offsets.
> Bringing back more biodiversity in our coffee forests by growing and preserving native plants and trees that work to attract and host insects and wildlife.
> Ensuring that local ecosystems are cleaner and healthier through natural processing and no harmful practices.
> Helping more people out of poverty by paying them a living income that is sustainable, fair and equitable. We also support and work closely with local towns to ensure thriving communities.