Our Partners

Our Partners

Learn about the rich history and flavour of Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Beyond Fair Trade.

meet our partners

Piko Saedoo

pika smileTitle: Founding Father – Piko is the head of the Akha community’s largest and most prominent family. In 1983, when his majesty King Bhumibol began the Royal Initiatives to encourage crop substitutions to eliminate opium cultivation and slash-and-burn horticulture, Piko and his family were the first to start cultivating coffee. As the village head, he encouraged his fellow villagers to follow the King’s directive and join him in the cultivation of coffee. After 20 years of cultivating and processing beans, Piko decided it was time to roast and directly offer the coffee as a single-estate Arabica.
Piko is a kind, hard-working man who is proud of the Akha heritage, the community and the Akha’s success as independent coffee producers. The Doi Chang community respects the dedication and leadership of Piko and honours him by featuring his image within the Doi Chaang Coffee logo.

Wicha Promyong

IMG_8590Title: Visionary and Co-founder – Wicha spent many years as a successful businessman in Thailand and travelled extensively overseas before joining the Doi Chaang community. He helped many Northern Thailand hill tribes in their struggle for equality and acceptance. Piko asked Wicha for guidance in selling Doi Chaang Coffee and Wicha encouraged the villagers to unite and form an independent company to represent all of the Doi Chang farmers.
Not only was he instrumental in Doi Chaang’s development, Wicha helped raise the standard of living and self-respect of the Akha people. He lived among the Doi Chang community as a well respected and trusted family member. He embraced the Akha way and dedicated his life to improving the wellbeing of the Akha people and establishing Doi Chaang Coffee as one of the best coffees in the world.
Wicha was determined to see the Akha People fully recognized for their dedication and accomplishments. It is with deep sadness to say he passed on January 23rd, 2014.

Kornkranok Bunmusik (Sandra)

J Doi # 1 012Title: Former General Manager – Sandra helped introduce Doi Chaang coffee to the coffee drinkers of Thailand and other Asian countries. She is a multilingual, Thai and North American educated and has extensive expertise in both the coffee business and international trade.
As the former General Manager for Doi Chaang Coffee Original Company, she was responsible for administration, marketing and sales in Thailand. Her dedication and belief in Doi Chaang as a single-estate coffee helped grow the high demand for Doi Chaang Coffee from restaurants, hotels and coffees shops all over Asia. It was Sandra’s initiative that brought the Thai and Canadian teams together to introduce Doi Chaang to the international market.

The history

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The story of Doi Chaang Coffee began with a small hill tribe in Northern Thailand that wanted change. After many years of instability in the village, along with many failed coffee crops, a man named Khun Wicha Promyong decided to invest his energy into helping the Akha hill tribe perfect the cultivation and processing of coffee. Over time, they became established as independent, successful coffee producers under the name of “Doi Chaang Original Coffee Co.”. The farmers were committed to maintaining sustainable agriculture and having minimal impact on the environment while building their own processing plants, drying facilities, and storage warehouses. This was a great development, but Wicha and the producer’s vision to expand the company still needed help.

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In 2007, with the hope of establishing Doi Chaang Coffee outside of Thailand, Doi Chaang Originals contacted a small group of Canadian coffee enthusiasts. The producers spoke of their history and their struggles, and an immediate bond was formed. They were to partner together with a common goal: to improve the lives and future generations of everyone in Doi Chang Village. The Canadian partners not only agreed to pay a premium to the Fair Trade price of the green beans, but offered a unique 50-50 business relationship, where the farmers would receive 50% of the profits made on the Canadian side.

 

In the last decade, Doi Chang Village has seen significant growth and maturity. As Doi Chaang Originals gained sustainability, our relationship transformed into a unique, strategic partnership; one where the Canadian side continues to grow the brand and tell the story of the Akha people in North America and the UK, and the Thai side continues to provide quality coffee throughout Asia and other markets across the world.
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The Academy

Using their own resources and initiative, the farmers of Doi Chang Village have established an academy to aid the farmers in their abilities as cultivators and processors of a world-class Arabica coffee. Located adjacent to the main processing facility, the theme of the academy is education, environment and the creation of wealth.

In order to maintain strict quality control, the farmers are being educated not only on how to process their beans in the new facilities but are also receiving education regarding plant selection, harvesting techniques and expense and money management.

The farmers are also being further educated on the benefits of cultivating their coffee under the canopy of shade trees. This allows coffee cultivation to expand without any negative impact on the environment. With clear-cut sections from past crop productions now being filled with a variety of fruit and nut trees, bushes and plants, coffee cultivation will expand within the natural setting and continue to receive the benefits of growing under the protection of a canopy of trees.

Along with increased productivity, the cultivation methods will continue to provide sustainable agriculture as the canopy allows for the cultivation of various crops which not only provide food, but are also sold to help to support and diversify the community’s economy. So far over 500 hundred farmers have been educated at the Doi Chaang Academy and the benefit is already reflected in improved productivity. Due to this success, Doi Chaang Coffee has constructed a more substantial facility, including accommodations for the student farmers who are now eager to attend after witnessing the increased productivity of their neighbours.

The facility has 57 pillars, representing the number of Akha families living in the Doi Chang region, making it the largest Akha house in the world.

As with all their other facilities, the academy is being built solely from the profits made from their coffee company. All the farmers from the Doi Chang area are invited to attend the academy free of charge. With the goal of providing education on all aspects of cultivation and processing, The Doi Chaang Academy of Coffee is investing in both its people and the future of Doi Chaang Coffee. The growers are rightfully proud of their success and strive to improve the superior quality of their coffee and meet ever-increasing demand for Doi Chaang Coffee.

 

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Developments

294In the last decade, our unique partnership has been able to transform the lives of many people in Doi Chang Village who were once ostracized, deprived and without hope of a brighter future for themselves and their children. Many of the youth who had left the village are now receiving higher levels of education and returning to Doi Chang to share in the prosperity of the coffee company.

 

Environmentally, the village has improved by leaps and bounds. Over 1,000,000 trees have been planted in the past decade under the initiative to re-populate the forest with vegetation and wildlife. These trees also provide natural shade for the coffee plants to grow in. By eliminating outsourced operations and creating paved, well-maintained roads to the village, Doi Chaang has drastically reduced their carbon footprint. New pulping facilities have been built to improve coffee production, with more emphasis on sustainable practices to minimize impact to the environment, specifically with water usage.
Perhaps the most important development that has come from our partnership is the realization of our initial goal: for the village to become 100% self-sustained. The villagers and generations to come can enjoy their hard-earned success that we, as a partnership, only could have dreamed of back in 2007.
Akha kids and Piko

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