Chatree Saeyang: A Beacon Among Thai Coffee Farmers - Newbery St.

Chatree Saeyang: A Beacon Among Thai Coffee Farmers

The name Chatree Saeyang is synonymous with specialty coffee in Thailand. My first encounter with this name was when I savored the award-winning coffee presented by The Specialty Coffee Association of Thailand (SCATH) in 2019. This coffee stood out with its intricate flavors and delightful complexity, prompting me to inquire more about the person behind it – Chatree.

Chatree is renowned as a pioneer in organic coffee farming and an expert in the traditional art of coffee processing. In 2021, I had the privilege of visiting his farm alongside a group of friends. The journey was an adventure, navigating through hills and narrow country roads, ascending towards the Khun Chang Kian Villages nestled in Chiang Mai. This quaint village thrives within its natural bounty.

Khun Chang Kian Villages, recognized as one of Thailand's earliest coffee plantation regions where coffee research began in 1968, holds a significant place in the history of Thai coffee. Chatree, a third-generation farmer, carries forward the legacy of his family.

Walking through the forested path to Chatree's coffee haven was a serene and rejuvenating experience. As I reached the farm, any doubts about the exceptional quality of his coffee were dispelled. The coffee trees coexist harmoniously with other flora, creating an enchanting forest-like ambiance. The stature of these coffee trees, tall and aged, sets this farm apart from others that host smaller plants.

Chatree philosophizes that coffee, like us, thrives best when provided shade and protection amidst a natural ecosystem. This nurtures their growth, yielding exquisite coffee cherry beans. Chatree's devotion to his craft is evident, particularly in his meticulous approach to coffee processing. He meticulously measures variables to ensure precise control over coffee quality, upholding consistency to offer the finest flavor profiles. Recognizing the importance of maintaining quality from a farmer's standpoint, he strives to counter the exploitation often faced due to limited knowledge about premium coffee. Through community classes, Chatree empowers fellow coffee farmers, shielding them from unscrupulous suppliers.

Chatree emerges as a pivotal figure in Khun Chang Kian Villages, exemplifying how the region's coffee holds immense promise.

Observing Chatree skillfully brew and present his coffee to guests is a privilege I cherish. This act encapsulates his ardor for coffee, passed down to the forthcoming generations. Beyond this, Chatree stands as one of the few farmers successfully exporting his coffee to Europe, elevating Thai coffee bean's global reputation and instilling pride in Thai farming.
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