This has been an incredible journey to Thailand. Incredible in many different ways. The opportunity to build deeper, stronger relationships with coffee co-op managers was one that was at the forefront on this trip. When I first meet a partner from across the world it is a neat, fun and interesting experience. The second time, familiarity sets in and you can come to expect some things, but now being the third time I have gotten to shake Ned’s hand (his americanized name: otherwise known as "Jack Sparrow") as a friend and partner, not just an outsider that is visiting. The connection has grown and has become something really special.
Ned (Jack Sparrow) and Myself
This trip Ned invited us into his village, into his home and allowed four of us to spend the night in his own room/house. It was a special experience to be hosted and taken care of by his family. We basically took Ned and his wife's room and they found other accommodations. A real blessing to have this provided! He gave up his own room for us to stay in. A local pig was also provided for dinner/breakfast (and lunch!) It was an intense experience as I have never been quite that close to the life and death of my meal. There were definitely parts of the pig that I found to be more tasty than others… for example the shoulder/belly versus the heart/intestines. I will let you imagine how the pig was used for all three meals.
Ned was able to build this house (on the left) for his family due to his employment as a Coffee Co-Op Manager.
Ned working to level out the coffee pulp.
We encouraged Ned and his work, we shared many meals and we were by his side as fellow villagers brought the day’s harvest (the first picking of the season) to the mill (the place where the coffee begins it first process - depulping). Even as we were eating meals, enjoying one another’s company, the villagers continually kept bringing cherries throughout the night and Ned would work with them and talk with them; which showed me just how much of an incredible work ethic that he has. He truly existed to serve the villagers and to keep quality high by teaching farmers along the way what ripe cherries are to be brought and which ones to keep on until they fully mature.
Ned with other villagers/farmers in his village.
It has reminded me this trip that what we are doing is not easy, it is not simple but it is incredibly worth it. The pride that is taken when payday has come for the 2017/2018 crop is exciting for not only the coffee farmers but for us! We know that this coffee will go through many hands, drive many miles and float on a ship across the world, all to end up in our humble Fresno warehouse to be loved on by Cory (lanna coffee co's roaster) and the team and end up in your morning brew. It is not easy but it is worth it, exciting and provides us the hope and inspiration to keep seeing lives changed through this simple product.
Coffee drying bed in Som Poi Village.
The gift of a meal.
-Bryan Feil, CEO
Lanna Coffee Co.