The richness of Doi Chaang coffee starts from a small village that is set in the mountainous region of the Chang Rai province of Northern Thailand. Doi Chaang is home to a hill tribe born of Akha heritage and it was after 1983 when their king mandated the eradication of opium crops in favour of viable alternative agriculture practices. The farmers were given the highest quality Arabica coffee plants as they fostered an expertise with the new produce. The climate, soil composition and geographical position were in the best combination conditions to produce world class coffee. Cultivating coffee under a canopy of various shade trees enhances the micro-climate of the area, creating a balanced ecosystem that mirrors that of a natural forest setting. The base and roots of the trees prevent the soil from eroding which aids in moisture retention, while the fallen leaves provide nutrients to replenish the soil. A natural habitat is created for numerous plants and animals. Through hard work, sheer determination and dedication, the Akha people have cultivated an outstanding quality of coffee that is already well established in Thailand.
The limited knowledge and resources of the villagers restricted on how the coffee was marketed and sold to its fullest potential to an international market. To sustain the practice of growing coffee, they were going to need outside assistance. Hence to obtain necessary revenues to diversify their agriculture, it was necessary to secure global exportation for their coffee beans. The selection of the right alliance was crucial as it would mean valuing the villager’s lifestyle, protecting the culture and managing complete independence for the farmers. Under the watch eye of tribal leader Piko Saedoo, and village mentor Wicha Promyong, John Darch was chosen due to its vast business experience in Canada. Therefore Doi Chaang Coffee Company was created and began its first step into the international market.
In recognition of the equal value of their contributions, the growers and the Canadian group established an equal partnership for the international distribution of Doi Chaang Coffee. The growers continue to focus on cultivation, processing and domestics sales, while the Canadian group provides financing, marketing, roasting and distribution for the international market. Today, the Doi Chaang Village and the surrounding area is home to 8,000 people within eight hundred families, all living and primarily working together to cultivate and produce a premium organic, single estate Arabica coffee.