Around 150 years ago, Karen Tribe villagers from Burma crossed into Thailand and started the village of Som Poi. They have been at the current location for about 70 years, now, with most of the villagers still originally from Burma. Before moving to the current location, many people were getting sick and dying from a disease in their area of Thailand which is what prompted the move into the area of Som Poi they are at today.
There are 575 Villagers with 37 members in the I.T.D.P. Co- op. They are all from the same tribe, which is Karen. Som Poi is in the Chiang Mai Province of Northern Thailand in the Chom Thong sub district.
The name, Som Poi comes from a type of citrus fruit that grows in the area. Coffee has been grown in Som Poi for about 50 years. Richard Mann Senior helped plant the first trees there.
Richard Mann with the King of Thailand Circa 1960's. Showing him coffee trees.
Some Q & A about the coffee
What makes this coffee unique?
- SOP is one of our longest standing members, and is the strongest group in our co-op. We have been buying coffee from these farmers for 25 years. SOP was one of the first villages to send coffee overseas.
Where does the coffee get milled? Is it individual or community?
- It is pulped and dried at our on site facility in Som Poi then it is also processed in Chiang Mai at the ITDP Warehouse.
What is the terrior of the mountain?
- Altitude is about 1,100 to 1,200 meters. Rain forest, with space cleared for planting other crops such as beans, rice, corn, cabbage in the area.
What are the unique traits to the soil?
- Red clay
Just 1 variety of coffee? Colors of cherries?
- Mostly Catimor: red and yellow