The Taste of Laos: Higher prices for specialty coffee
Lao Specialty Coffee price reaches $37.6/kg in recent auction
Following the Lao People Democratic Republic’s first ever coffee auction, ‘Taste of Laos’ in early August, coffee farmers and producers now have more confidence in demanding higher prices for their high-quality beans.
For instance, coffee from the Bolaven Plateau in Pakxong was in high demand by international processors. Gesha coffee won the highest bid with $37.6 per kg (starting at $17.82 per kg), while the Arabica coffee from the North was auctioned at $9.9 per kg.
Espresso Academy Thailand is one of the buyers who won the bids for two categories of Lao Arabica coffee: one from Yuni Coffee, and Robusta coffee from Sackda Farm.
Natt Muangsiri, Managing Director at Espresso Academy Thailand, says: “Our interest in Lao coffee keeps growing because the quality keeps improving and the consistency of the product is reliable. The unique terroir that makes great quality coffee in many regions in Lao PDR, along with the development of the specialty coffee community, indeed gives the country’s coffee a bright future in the specialty coffee market.”
Specialty coffee is what attracts coffee enthusiasts around the world – and in the Lao PDR it boasts a promising potential. The coffee already gained international reputation with the Lao PDR Green Coffee Competition 2022 with 80 points and above.
Nambeng Coffee Group was the one that scored almost 85 points with their naturally processed green beans during the competition – and they also participated in the auction.
The Group comprises 16 families growing coffee on 106 hectares of farmland. Sangthong Phaiphomkong, farmer and member of Nambeng Group told ITC: “As we only founded Nambeng in 2020, our understanding of the culture and process of specialty coffee is quite new. Participating in this year’s auction has been very useful. I have learned how to prepare and send coffee samples. And I could build great connections along the way.”
Price per demand
Global demand is increasing and prices are higher. However, Lao coffee farmers are struggling to meet such demand. The sector faces challenges including reaching buyers in high-potential markets, improving quality management, increasing productivity, and strengthening the sector's organization. In addition, farmers and businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting global economic crisis.
Through the online auction, international coffee buyers purchased coffee they might otherwise not have access to, and potentially form long-term relationships with Lao PDR’s producers and exporters. Overall, there were 44 buyers from across the globe who showed interest, including from Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, United Kingdom, and even from Lao PDR itself.
About the project
The European Union-funded project – ARISE Plus Lao PDR implemented by the International Trade Centre has been leading the auction. An online auction website was created to promote the event.