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I do enjoy dropping into Starby's for a coffee and a quick read of the Bangkok Post. I'm sure many of you have shared the same disappointment drinking coffee anywhere in Thailand other than Starbucks and I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has found anywhere as good or even better.

Anyhoo, a friend of mine is moving to China and is interested in importing organic products because many Chinese people no longer trust products that are grown in China. While doing my rounds I stumbled on a place that grows organic coffee beans. Expecting the usual bitter tasting cup of mud that most places usually serve, I was shocked at what good quality it was. Once I started discussing business with the owner, surprise, surprise, he has already sold to Starbucks. I'm certainly no coffee expert, but I have no problems recommending this product to my friend for export to China.

My wife is interested in promoting organic coffee within Thailand, so I'd interested to hear from anyone who can provide information on the following:

1. Organic coffee growers

2. Organic restaurants and cafes

Thanks in advance wai.gif

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The coffee market is small and a closely kept secret in Thailand. As frustrating as it may seem, most are reluctant to tell you where their coffee comes from and most café workers are uneducated on the subject and are kept in the dark like mushrooms because their bosses fear someone will copying them. The best advice I can give you is visit at www.philscoffeecompany.com Good luck with that.

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i hate to sound like a broken record..

yes i do know the people very well and i do work with them.. only because their quality had piqued my interest early on..

do some research on doi chaang coffee.. they are frigging awesome and i swear by them anytime.

if you want to know more.. look up youtube 'beyond fair trade doi chaang' there should be 3 short videos on it.. part 1,2,3...

i was doing coffee research for a some companies last year... and when i found out about them.. i was blown away... as a coffee fanatic... i swear by it too...

again.. i am working with them because i am passionate about the product... i am not promoting or working for them..

cheers and enjoy your cuppa

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I used to visit a café that served Doi Chaang but I found it to be very bitter. Perhaps it was a dark roast. The organic one I tried was a medium roast. I will need to compare prices of the various growers.

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Can someone explain to me how organic tastes better.

Serious question,not to take away from the thread say coffee for instance.

I just drink the 3 in 1's at breakfast so interested to know.

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hi farmerjo!

well organic simply means.. made by all natural means...

be it natural fertilizers or methods...

the believe (and probably science) is.. this produces natural products... without man made chemicals or synthetics..

in my experience these tend to taste richer and fresher...sometimes non natural methods are used in packaging.. or sealing.. filling with preservation gasses.. example... carbon monoxide used in prepacked meats in most supermarkets etc. etc.

we assume it's just air.. but sometimes they use gasses to prevent meats from turning brown and therefore customers don't want to buy them because it looks bad.

for me though... organic is smiply a way of life for many.. and many of the farmers i have been in touch with in the mountains.. find this 'organic' trend... or.. fad to a certain extent funny.. because.. they have been doing 'organic' for as long as they can remember!

industrial farming is usually where non organic means come into play in a bid for cost savings... altho as technology and science progress... we find more often than not.. there are organic and natural processes that are business viable..

so... yeah.. of course we have things like USDA organic etc. etc.. where each nation will set it's list of requirements as to what constitutes being 'organic'..

i personally prefer buying organic where possible.. and believe that quality is more important than quantity.. but it's a personal lifestyle option for me. to each his own.

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I used to visit a café that served Doi Chaang but I found it to be very bitter. Perhaps it was a dark roast. The organic one I tried was a medium roast. I will need to compare prices of the various growers.

most of doi chaang beans are medium roasted... unlike the big brand names that tend to use heavy/slight over roasting...

the simple reason is..

1. mostly focus on iced coffee with milk.. so it doesn't matter if the coffee is slightly burnt..

2. some people do actually enjoy the'burnt flavour'.. i personally call it charcoal coffee..

3. Giants of the coffee world source coffee beans from all over the world to meet their demand... this means...

difficult to have blend consistencies

different sizes and moisture content of each roasting batch... so they over roast to avoid risking under roasting the larger or more moist beans...

another possible reason is.. poor barista skills... pulling a coffee shot on a poorly setup machine or grinder.. can easily result in under extraction (weak/flavourless) to over extraction(sour,burnt,charcoally) etc...

the barista is just as important as the coffee bean used... unfortunately most cafes these days.. especially the big ones.. they use mostly semi-fully automatic machines.. which are calibrated occassionally by specialsts...

as a coffee fanatic.. this drives me mad..because sometimes.. the cafe pulls an amazing shot.. and i really appreciate the cup... and other days.. i get poor extraction coffee.. and just make do with it..

again... on the topic of being organic.. there is a very beautiful way of decaffinating coffee beans with natural spring water.. which doi chaang uses... again i may seem to always be promoting the brand.. and as i mentioned before.. i am working with them because of my great passion and appreciation of their methods and product... also my business unit is outside thailand.. so this is not a marketing pitch.. just sharing my immense love for coffee and trying to get you guys to experience it done right...

where my office is.. i usually make do with... Costas... or Au Bon Pain (not always good tho..).. starbucks is the last place on my list.. unless a client requests a meeting there.. or.. i have a non coffee drink... they are awesome for everything non coffee... frappes,milk drinks.. excellent... actually i call starbucks.. selling coffee flavoured milk drinks.. haha.. love the brand.. just not the coffee..

cheers

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The problem with the term "organic", is that it means different things to different people. And within most organic growing standards and certification programs there are no specifications for soil minerals content and balance. Soil minerals availability and balance are important for nutrient density and for much of the color, flavor and nutritional quality of flower, seed, food and drink crops. So you can have a product that fits most models of "organic", but have wide variations in quality, nutrition and taste.

Organic may mean that natural materials and methods are used, and that no hard synthetic chemistry or environmentally contaminating materials and methods are used, but it does not usually mean that you can count on optimally healthy soil and plants. So you're going to get a different cuppa joe or tomato, or bowl of rice, no matter how you prepare it, depending on the soil quality and management, organic or not.

http://www.soilminerals.com/AgricolaI.htm

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

I don't agree with writing off "organic" as a marketing scam. The term and practices can be misused in that way, but there is a much larger effort on the part of those who know and believe in the best management practices of the organic model, which is not to use growing methods and materials that have harmful effects to personal and community health, and a long-lasting negative effect on the ecosystems that make up our environment.

A taste test has nothing to do with judging whether a food product is organically grown or not, because most organic growing standards mistakenly address primarily what not to do, like not using hard synthetic chemisty that kills off beneficial organisms or chemistry that persists in the environment. But the standards rarely include important issues of soil building beyond organic matter content. Soil OM content of at least 5% was part of earlier standards for organic growing, but that has been overlooked in recent years. If you included that measure in your growing then you may find a big difference in taste of food, if you included soil testing and mineral availability and balancing, the taste test would be something I would bet on, that I could tell the difference.

Most of the people who would be attracted to this organic forum will know and understand the positive aspects of organic growing and what it means not only for food quality, but for best management of the land. And they will not be discouraged by the 'marketing scams' and misunderstandings of what organically grown means.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I second the Doi Chaang recommendation. I prefer the AA and the Peaberry when compared to the normal premium but by Thai standards it is expensive. In Bangkok you can find it at Villa in Ploen Chit center. Don't judge coffee when it is made in a cafe. There are far too many variables. Water temperature and water quality play a very important role in the brewing. Remember a brewed cup of coffee is 99% water.

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Well Dumb, ( your word not mine ), I see you have fallen victim to the new medical B.S. called

" ORGANIC" ! Think about it just a moment as to what the msdics said & what developed: Coffee bad,

alcohol bad, bacon- horrible !, milk good, peanut butter great, and now ? so they confligured

" ORGANIC " which, so far, has allowed farmers much more profit in avoiding labor/costly fertilizers

herbicdies to produce miniature/spotted/ugly caricatures of real foods and coffee beans resembling

rabbit turds ! I am now fearful some jack ass will develop ORGANIC sex !

But I digress and realize I am addressing someone who, willingly, now, spends 3 bucks for a 20 cent cup of coffee, ( also unreal coffee with pictures floating on top )). Starbucks send you birthday

and Xmas greetings ?

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Me thinks organic is a philosophy - just like my vegetarianism - try to optimize not using chemical laced products for your health, the Earth, and the economy (chemical companies and bribes not included). It's hard to be 100% perfect though. We need to try to support organic farms, coffee and tea plantations so that they can be economically viable - and more affordable. So far I've got a good start on my garden; the squash, lettuce, are killer with more to come. My neighbor's organic banana whiskey seals the deal! Meanwhile, Doi Chang gets my vote; really enjoy having it around!

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

It's the one without all the pesticides and poisons that help give you cancer.

I think most people enjoy organic food because it's how nature meant things to grow and they don't need to worry whether it's been sprayed, injected or modified artificially.

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

It's the one without all the pesticides and poisons that help give you cancer.

I think most people enjoy organic food because it's how nature meant things to grow and they don't need to worry whether it's been sprayed, injected or modified artificially.

So you like the taste of cow shit?

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

It's the one without all the pesticides and poisons that help give you cancer.

I think most people enjoy organic food because it's how nature meant things to grow and they don't need to worry whether it's been sprayed, injected or modified artificially.

I am calling kee kwai on this one. Stop being a sucker.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

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I almost stopped reading when OP said he enjoys starbucks coffee but that's about it (no offence, taste is personal but as a coffee lover, I NEVER EVER order it at starbucks, if I happen to end up there I'll have a coco).

But then a lot of useful and true info came out. I'll try to summarize and add some. Most big brands indeed mix beans from various origins together and make a blend. This ensures the taste will never truely be the same. So for consistent quality you'd need to source from 1 single place. Even then the beans and thus the taste can be very different one year to another. Temperature, amounts of rainfall very, and so do the beans. Then the next step is roasting the beans. There are various levels as been pointed out, if you were to mix beans before roasting this is a recipy for dissaster. I honestly didn't even thing that would ever happen. I think the beans are roasted before being mixed. Either way, roasting coffee beans is an art. Anybody could do it in a wok at home, just like anybody can paint a painting. It depends on the bean, and which roasting level you prefer. As been said, beans used for a good ice coffee usually have a different roast profile than the ones used for espresso (which is the basis off all, anything else is just an addon to an espresso, if done right). So this roasting is like art, there is a very brief window in which beans are correctly roasted. A bit too short and you can't use them, a bit too long and you have burned them. Then the last step as has been mentioned is where it mostly goes wrong in Thailand. The barista... Thailand is full of fancy coffee cafes with shiny machines that are the price of a second hand car. But hardly any education goes into the staff. They often miss the pallet to judge the extraction and the training and passion to develop one. The grinder needs to be adjusted perfectly to the machine you use. Then in the machine you need EXACTLY the right amount of grinded coffee. 1 gram more or less and its going to be over or under extracted. The different flavours in the beans are released at different stages, and under under or over extraction is going to give either tastess, weak flat results or burned acidic/bitter results.

Best coffee is made from freshly roasted beans, anything over 2 weeks will significantly lack flavour and body as natural oils have eveporated etc etc. This is, next to the coffee being a blend, and the staff missing decent training, the main reason all big brand names go wrong. Starbucks is simply too big to get beans from roaster to you cup of coffee within those 2 weeks. And no freezing beans, packing them in a vacuum bag with release valve does not make them last longer. It's better than keeping them in the open air, but there is nothing you can do about the coffee getting older and less tasty.

So you need good beans, that have been roasted by a skilled roaster, a skilled and educated barista who understand he/she will need to constantly make small changes to machine settings to adept to the new batch of beans, or the age of them. He/she has to work in a place that makes sure coffee comes in in small batches and are always fresh. This is hard, so to avoid that, some places opt to buy fresh beans and roast them themselves. This ideally is your best option whether you want to order a coffee there or take the beans home. Provided the roaster knows what he is doing. I've found that usually, people who know what they are doing, are truly passioned and I am sure you can work something out to buy some beans off them. Then of course there is cleaning and maintanance of the machines, this needs to be done pretty much on a daily basis... but again most people here miss the essential knowledge to do so correctly. Then there is the quality and PH level of the water, the temperature the machine has been set to, the pressure the machine uses, the brand and taste of the milk if you want a cappu or latte, the cup in which you serve it and a never ending streak of smaller things that effect the end product.

My advise, try many different places, if you think the coffee is somewhat okay, have a chat with the staff if you can see if they are passionate about the coffee or just doing their job. Once you found somebody who is really in to coffee, give them your feedback and help them to enhance their skills and knowledge.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I generally despise corporations, but Starbucks give me what I want:

1. A modern, air conditioned environment that makes me comfortable

2. A Bangkok Post or Nation newspaper to read while I drink my coffee

3. English speaking staff who's faces do not go blank, nod their head and lie to me when I ask if they can make my coffee extra hot. I'm from the UK where a hot coffee is often used more as a way to thaw out than anything else. I doesn't matter how good coffee is if I have to drink it at 'lukewarm'.

I don't really care what the coffee tastes like in Starbucks either - I go there for the overall experience. You gentlemen are well aware that we can all make a much better coffee at home than any coffee shop ever could, but I chose not to as that would remove one of my favorite weekend pastimes from my life.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

It's the one without all the pesticides and poisons that help give you cancer.

I think most people enjoy organic food because it's how nature meant things to grow and they don't need to worry whether it's been sprayed, injected or modified artificially.

I am calling kee kwai on this one. Stop being a sucker.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

That's a great article! Thanks. It's true that there is so much misinformation and deception around the subject. But the author doesn't, and most growers don't, consider or understand the aspect of soil mineral and biological balance and the difference it makes in plant health, nutrient density, yields, and reducing need for pesticides of any kind. Commercial mono-cropping, conventional or so called organic, will always be problematic in one way or another. Grow your own, grow biointensive, or you will never know what you are consuming.

I like that the author points out that you don't have to take sides. And that makes me wonder what some of you are doing on the organic sub-forum. Not enough negativity already on the rest of ThaiVisa?

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"Organic" is a marketing scam which enables high prices to be charged which gullible people will pay.

Try a small experiment !

Cook (separately) three carrots one of which is "organic".............

Serve the carrots separately and challenge your "organic" loving friend to identify the Organic carrot .

It's the one without all the pesticides and poisons that help give you cancer.

I think most people enjoy organic food because it's how nature meant things to grow and they don't need to worry whether it's been sprayed, injected or modified artificially.

I am calling kee kwai on this one. Stop being a sucker.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

Thank you for the excellent link.

For all the rabid opponents of GM and blind "organic is better" followers. You are being poisoned by naturally occurring toxic compounds, perhaps even more than by consuming commercially produced fruits and vegetables.

Outside of Thailand that is, the pesticide use here is undefensible.

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http://noisplace.com/

This lady runs a coffee shop in Chiang Mai using organically grown beans from her family farm in Doi Saket.

She also supplies the coffee beans to most of the shops inside Chiang Mai university (even through they have their own coffee farm).

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