The Doi Chaang coffee brand is the central success story in the commercialization of arabica coffee production in the Doi Chang district of Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand.
Coffee plants were originally introduce to the region under royal patronage as a replacement crop for opium. In the years that followed, coffee production languished without a real market and a lack of industry knowledge. The founders of Doi Chaang Coffee solved these problems, establishing both an export market and a successful chain of Doi Chaang branded cafes throughout Thailand .
While Doi Chaang Coffee Estate remains the dominant buyer and processor of local beans, they have inspired a number of boutique coffee brands in the district.
Doi Chaang Coffee Estate Tours
Doi Chaang Coffee Estate generally offers tours Monday to Friday (excluding Friday Afternoons). This schedule aligns both with the availability of English-speaking staff to escort you around the facility. These are also the best times to see actual coffee roasting and other production activity.
If you are visiting Doi Chaang Coffee Estate independently, you can enquire at the cafe regarding availability of tours.
For private clients of Olsen Tours, we can arrange weekend tours for groups of five or more people and generally help with scheduling of tours to coincide with production activity,
Doi Chaang Cafe
The main cafe is located right at the entrance of Doi Chaang Coffee Estate. While perhaps not as charming as the boutique cafes dotted throughout the district, this is a flagship store of the Doi Chaang cafe chain.
They definitely serve coffee, and located just as you approach Doi Chang village it is convenient for a quick stop with ample parking, reliable wi-fi and clean restrooms.
In addition to fresh coffees, frappes, smoothies, and cheesecakes, the cafe has roasted beans for sale. If you enjoy the taste of the fresh coffee they are selling, bags of classic and dark roasted beans are available for sale, as well as specialty products such as peaberry and beans with specialty processing.
This cafe is also a great place to see new and experimental products under development.
One product currently under development at Doi Chaang Coffee Estate is a line of beans soaked in wine and matured in oak barrels on site.
The wine is sourced from Khao Yai National Park in the Isaan region of Thailand. The maturation process takes three months, and variations in the ingredients and process result in several products with their own tasting notes. Make your selection and watch as the staff drip-filter this specialty coffee.
Academy of Coffee
Start your tour with a visit to the on-site museum, complete with video presentation and photos showing the transformation of the local economy due to the introduction of coffee plantations.
See a lifetime’s supply of dried and sorted coffee beans ready for export, distribution around Thailand, or roasting on site.
The wet mill is the first step in the process after the coffee fruit (known as cherries) is delivered from the plantations by truck.
The mill is used to wash the fruit and extract any impurities introduced during harvest or in transit.
You will notice a conveyor across the road to the right. This conveyor is dumping the outer shells of the coffee fruit for compost. The composted byproduct is used as organic fertilzer and mulch in the coffee plantations, but is popular for all agriculture and home gardening throughout the district of Doi Chang.
The industrial roaster is located a short walk behind the main car park. You will smell a strongly intoxicating smell in the air when roasting is in progress!
Coffee Bean Drying
From the roasting facility, you can see the many drying racks a short way down the mountain-side.
If you are feeling energetic, follow your guide down the hill to get a closer look at the drying beans of the way to the sorting facility.
Coffee Bean Sorting
All of the shelled and dried beans are sorted by hand. This enable rigorous quality control, but also provides a chance to separate peaberries.
The vast majority of coffee beans develop as a pair within a single coffee fruit (cherry). This leads to coffee beans having a distinctive shape – looking like half a split seed, but in fact being a fully fertile seed.
Peaberry is the name given to the variation where only 1 bean forms inside the cherry. These seeds look like a full, rounded bean.
Peaberry Beans retail for around three times the price of regular coffee beans, so hand sorting is economically viable despite the intense amount of work required.
Lisu & Akha Coffee Village
Doi Chaang Coffee Estate
Leehu Coffee Farm
Temple Park & Doi Chang Viewpoint
Doi Chang Private Tours
For more information, refer to the Doi Chaang Coffee Estate website.