If you are a St. Clare fan chances are you also love our specialty drink the Thai Iced Coffee. It is made with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, raw sugar and coffee sourced from the Northern Hills of Thailand. It’s a delicious sweet drink perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. Our owner Kevin relationally sources all of our coffees, however our Thai coffee in particular is very special to us as a company.
In February of last year Kevin and myself traveled to Chiang Mai, in the Northern half of Thailand. There we met up with two companies Lanna Coffee and Akha Ama, which were introduced to us by one of our partners, Not For Sale. Thailand has not been known for having great coffee in the past. Coffee was brought over in the 1950s to help get rid of opium being one of the primary crops for farmers because of it’s high profit. When coffee was brought to Thailand however, the farmers were not taught correct production for their terroir, thus making the coffee very low quality. Both Lanna Coffee and Akha Ama Coffee are two companies passionate about making a shift for Thailand to increase quality and produce specialty grade coffee. In hearing about both companies passion Kevin and I got excited about the possibility of discovering new potential partners.
The whole trip was a fairly last minute endevour, I had never been on a sourcing trip previous to this one. While Kevin on the other hand was quite experienced and so he took full reign and I semi neglected reading the emails concerning the trip. Then about two days before we leave, I get an email from Kevin, CC’d with a man named Mike Mann. Mike is the founder of an organization called International Tribal Development Program or ITDP, that helps build clean water systems in the Northern region of Thailand. The non profit then birthed the coffee company, Lanna Coffee which produces coffee in the same villages ITDP helped bring clean water.
What blew my mind though was that when I was 14 I had gone to help build water systems in Northern Thailand with the same organization (ITDP). At 14 working with ITDP opened up my eyes to a greater perspective than my own personal life of privilege back in the U.S.. Before my original Thailand trip I did not even know that people did not have access to clean water. Now almost 10 years later I got to go and help the same organization continue to find solutions to empower people in Northern Thailand! This connection for me made me even more excited and ready to pursue this relationship with Lanna Coffee.
Akha Ama is coffee company also located in Northern Thailand. It was founded by Lee Ayu, who is native to this region. Lee is producing the highest quality of coffee in Northern Thailand and works hard to teach surrounding farmers and villages correct production. He also owns two cafes in Chiangmai while continuing to travel back to his native village, Maejantai to help harvest the coffee alongside his family. We will be sourcing coffee from one of his family members come next year so look out for updates on this beautiful partnership!
I have attached an article about Lee below:
All of this to say we are very excited to continue growing with these people and companies. We wanted to share with all of you that without them, your delicious daily cup of coffee, would not be possible!
Thank you for your support,