Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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welcoming and familiar that it almost made us feel like we were enjoying our espressos in San Francisco or Los Angeles. Tay is in charge of the roasting operations at Brave Roasters, and he started his roasting career two years ago while living in Chiang Mai. There, he taught himself how to roast by sampling and comparing the characteristics of roasted coffees from shops throughout the United States and the U.K. Focusing primarily on locally sourced beans, Tay has crafted his main espresso blend from the beans of two farms in Chiang Mai, resulting in a full-bodied, syrupy espresso with notes of dark chocolate and sweet berries. ROOTS COFFEE ROASTERS On our final day of exploring Bangkok's coffee scene, we ended up at a small roastery tucked subtly among the shops and restaurants halfway down Soi Ekamai. Opened as an expansion project of Roast, a restaurant-style café nearly three years old, Roots Coffee Roasters debuted last April to provide the rapidly growing café with more space to focus on the development of its roasting, as well as to provide customers with a more informative environment in which to enjoy their coffee. The cofounders of Roots are Varatt "Tae" Vichit-Vadakan and Korn Sangoankeaw, and they focus on crafting delicious coffees while also creating a space where they can engage their customers in education about the seedto-cup chain through onsite workshops offered throughout the week. With these classes they hope to empower their customers with the knowledge and understanding necessary to brew high-quality coffee themselves. During our visit, we were impressed by the light crispness of our pourovers and the rich depth of our espressos, as well as with the attention to detail with which they were brewed, demonstrating not only meticulous precision, but a respect for the intricacies that are innate in a well-brewed cup of coffee. Arabica varieties. Harvesting is a learning process, and farmers are still gaining experience. They're further challenged by the low number of processing facilities. Still, the coffee market continues to grow rapidly, with some farms selling enormous volumes of coffee compared to recent years. The Akha Ama Farm, for example, sold more than 32 tons of coffee in 2013, when its owners were lucky to sell two only a few years ago. The collective support for the growth of coffee-farming operations in Thailand is illustrated by the enthusiasm of the roasters and brewers to maintain open and communicative relationships with the farmers themselves. In order to help the coffee industry in Thailand continue to grow, it is essential that we encourage the exchange of knowledge and ideas. THE FARMERS While all the shops we visited in Bangkok had their own unique characteristics and styles, nearly everyone we met emphasized the importance of one particular person: the farmer. While the love for specialty coffee is spreading rapidly around Thailand, there is still much that needs to be done to support the growth and prosperity of native coffee farmers. Coffee is still a very new crop in Thailand, with most farms producing www.baristamagazine.com 33

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