From Crop to Cup – An Excursion to Lanna Coffee

Join this Lifelong Learning Payap excursion to learn how coffee beans are grown and become a cup of your favorite brew

From Crop to Cup – An Excursion to Lanna Coffee


Find out how your coffee goes from being a “cherry” growing on a tree to a cup of your favorite brew. We begin this excursion by visiting the Integrated Tribal Development Foundation warehouse and drying shed in Mae Jo where we will observe the process of pulping, drying, hulling, and grading the coffee beans. We then move to San Phi Sua where Lanna Coffee has its roaster and coffee shop. Transportation and a cup of coffee of your choice are included!

A Bit of a Backstory on Lanna Coffee

Our roots in coffee go back to 1961, when Richard Mann began introducing Caturra and Catuai coffee hybrid seedlings to rural villages in the Thai highlands. With his program being widely successful, the United Nations recruited Richard to head an opium eradication project that ultimately battled opium production by providing a viable replacement – coffee. For nearly 2 decades, Richard worked with coffee as a tool to end years of oppression that resulted from the opium trade. During this time, Richard’s son Mike spent a lot of time with his father in villages, learning about their way of life and the problems they faced. Eventually, Mike decided to use this knowledge and experience to continue his father’s work by founding the Integrated Tribal Development Foundation (IDTF).

Established in 1990, ITDF is an organization committed to improving the lives of poor hill tribe communities “in many aspects of life, including clean water, sanitation, agriculture, education, health, and cash crops.” It created a project that would become the first fair trade certified coffee co op in Thailand. The objective was to take coffee farming to the next level by producing a coffee that could reach international standards, and in turn provide more money and opportunity for poor ethnic farmers. IDTF provides proper training, improved coffee varieties that can thrive in the hills of northern Thailand, and processing equipment in order to meet these standards.

Today, over 400 coffee farms in Northern Thailand are 100% farmer owned. ITDF purchases single-source, pesticide-free coffee beans directly from these farmers and markets them as Lanna Coffee. The main market is in the US. To bring the story full circle, the manager of Lanna Coffee’s warehouse and coffee processing operation (and our guide for this excursion) is Mike Mann’s son, Richard, named after his grandfather who first introduced coffee seedlings into the highlands of northern Thailand over 60 years ago.


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From Crop to Cup - An excursion to Lanna Coffee with Lifelong Learning Payap that will answer the question, how is coffee made?

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