Thailand Grows Its Own (Coffee That Is)


Ms Red Elvis got a call from a farmer in Chiang Rai desperate to unload this year’s crop of coffee. A little back story first, to put things in perspective, so as not to get in a taxi and head for the nearest bus station for the VIP bus north. Not yet at least…

First I need a double espresso, with a shot of espresso on top of it. There, now I feel almost life like.

It’s déjà vu all over again, last year the same call from the same farmer on the same mountain.

“100 Baht,” she tells him. “That’s a bit harsh dear, don’t you think?”

He groaned, complaining in a very nice, face saving Thai way, and said ‘too low.’ But, maybe we’re getting somewhere, the mountain road looking less treacherous.  I chewed on some hard coffee candy, thinking to myself, it’s not much of a mountain at all, more like a big hill.

Lady Red is stern faced, unyielding, “…and I don’t want to drive up the mountain for nothing,” she tells him. She sounds a bit too much like the killer from No Country for Old Men, insisting that the coffee is brought to her and placed at her feet. I bite down harder on the candy. I’m a coffee junky and I need my fix. She says it in such a nice way, so no faces are lost in a never ending sea of faces.


Last year he had a shed full of parchment coffee, which should last a year. That was in 2011, and I’m hoping it’s not the same coffee two years down the road. I remember its always heady business dealing commodities in Thailand. A few years back rubber was 150 a kilo now it’s about 85. Coffee? Maybe there’s light at the end of the tunnel, maybe the addict will get his fix.


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