Green Land Coffee
Green Land’s vast plantation defines modern day Myanmar coffee production. In 2003 Green Land earned the FAO’s prestigious Outstanding Coffee Growing Certificate. The plantation not only harvests some of the region’s finest high-mountain Arabica coffee, but also assists numerous local small lot farmers with getting their beans to market as well. This year a Green Land coffee achieved first place with an impressive 87 points at the Myanmar National Cupping overseen by SCAA and CQI board members.
THE COFFEE AND THE PLANT
Located at 1100m (3300ft), the sprawling plantation features Costa Rican T8667 and Kenya-derived SL-34 varieties grown under the shade of silver oak trees. T8667 is a Catimor varietal that originated in Portugal as a cross between Timor coffee and Caturra coffee. The varietal found its way to Costa Rica before arriving in Myanmar. Catimor is known for good leaf rust resistance, high yields, large fruits and good cupping. The SL-34 cultivar is a French Mission selection that was developed by Scott Laboratories (SL) in Kenya in the mid-1900s. It too is known for durability, large bean size, and good cup quality. The silver oaks not only filter light, serve as windbreaks and help maintain soil moisture, but their leaf litter also provides key micronutrients. This explains why the Green Land plantation is so lush and visibly healthy.
Because the coffee tree is a living being, it has a natural response mechanism to reproduce during times of stress, which for coffee is a lack of water. During Myanmar’s dry season typically from October to May, plants that have reached 2 – 3 years old begin producing a natural hormone in an attempt to preserve its genes. When the rains come in early - mid summer, the plants respond by flowering strongly, covering the plant in white blossoms with a strong scent reminiscent of jasmine. The flowers ultimately yield fruit that will be ready to harvest within nine months.
GREAT COFFEE DEPENDS ON SMOOTH PROCESS
Teams of experienced Burmese coffee pickers descend into lush, dense sections of the estate to carefully hand pick cherries for processing. Only ripe red cherries are chosen. Those cherries not deemed ready will be plucked from their place another time. The freshly picked berries are carefully bagged during harvesting then transported back to the plantation’s central processing area. This is the moment that the coveted beans are separated from their outer skins and juicy mucilage. Upon depulping, the beans are immediately transported to the farm’s fermentation tanks for a lazy 24 soak.
In the fermentation tanks nature takes its course and removes the sugars present in the cherry’s mucilage. The beans take a 24 hour break before they are washed a second time. The washing process strives to remove all the sticky flesh from the coffee seed before it is dried. This significantly reduces the risk of something going wrong during drying. From here the beans will sun bathe on spacious concrete drying beds. On the drying beds Green Land beans are frequently raked throughout the day to ensure even drying which not only impedes mold formation, but also contributes to consistent flavor in the harvest.
Once dried to an ideal moisture content between 10 – 13%, the quality control team sifts through the beans in search ones that may not make the grade. From here the beans will be bagged then await the milling process where their parchment will be removed.