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REUTERS MARKET NEWS | Tue Aug 23, 2016 | 12:00am EDT
Myanmar coffee to hit Whole Foods as economic opening continues
By Luc Cohen | NEW YORK
Two shipments of coffee beans from Myanmar arrived in the United States this month, the first commercial-scale imports in over 15 years and the fruits of a U.S. government development program for farmers in the once-isolated southeast Asian economy.
The two containers, totaling 600 60-kg bags, imported by Seattle-based Atlas Coffee Importers are a fraction of the 24.8 million bags of coffee consumed annually in the United States. But the shipments could herald a welcome diversification from traditional supply areas that are being hit by climate change.
Myanmar exported only modest amounts of coffee in the 1990s and a shipment of 17 60-kg bags in 2015 was the first delivery since 2000, U.S. government data shows. Burmese immigrant Melvin Tan, who founded Austin, Texas-based Irrawaddy Coffee Roasters in 2015, said he imported 10 bags from Myanmar that year. "I'm down to 1-1/2 bags. I would say ... I'm going to more than triple it this year from last year," Tan told Reuters.
2016 Second Ever Myanmar Coffee Association Cupping Competition
After Record-Breaking Competition, Myanmar Coffees Coming to Atlanta
Nick Brown | March 25, 2016
A promising sign for the developing specialty coffee sector in Myanmar, coffees at the second ever Myanmar Coffee Association cupping competition generally outscored last year’s marks, with higher-scoring individual winners and a much higher percentage of total coffees reaching specialty grade.
Placed on the Specialty Coffee Association of America scale, 56 of 60 total samples gathered for the competition met the 80-point threshold, while the winning coffee —a fully washed SL34 lot from Green Land Coffee estate of Pyin Oo Lwin — came in at 87 points. The top dry natural coffee, and second-highest-scoring coffee overall, from the Ma Mi Nyo smallholder community of Shan State, earned 86.75.
At last year’s inaugural competition — organized by numerous organizations working to improve Myanmar arabica quality, to bring it to market and to support the country’s farmers — the top scoring coffee, by comparison, earned an 84.25, while 21 of the 58 coffees scored met the 80-point mark.
This event was part of the USAID-funded Value Chains for Rural Development project implemented by the nonprofit Winrock International and organized by the Myanmar Coffee Association and the Coffee Quality Institute.
Three international judges and two local observers assessed the coffee. The international team was composed of SCAA Board Member Andrew Hetzel, Momentum Coffee founder and SCAA Roasters Guild Executive Council President Allen Leibowitz, and Sustainable Harvest Relationship Manager Dane Loraas.
The competition included estate-grown coffees as well as those from small farms, with the field representing 30 fully washed coffees and 30 naturals. According to CQI, coffees featured in the Myanmar project — including the top-scoring coffees — will be cupped at next month’s SCAA Event in Atlanta, which takes place April 14-17.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.
Coffee roasting is both art and chemistry.
We put extra efforts into crafting our finest Myanmar (Burmese) coffee beans, a result of many trials and tribulations. Extravagant flavor and enticing aroma create balanced tranquility and energy as you enjoy your fantastic cup of coffee. Myanmar Arabica coffee are produced in the uplands of Northern Myanmar. High altitude Arabica coffee is grown in Shan State and Mandalay Division, to mention a few places. Slopes and shades of the mountainous regions in Myanmar are ideal for producing high quality Arabica coffee. Your taste buds would experience the finest coffee that Burma has to offer.