Thailand Coffee Co-Op

Coffee that is changing lives in Thailand


Background: Our roots in coffee go back to 1961, when Richard Mann began introducing Caturra and Catuai coffee hybrid seedlings to rural villages in the Thai highlands. With his program being widely successful, the United Nations recruited Richard to head an opium eradication project that ultimately battled opium production by providing a viable replacement – coffee. For nearly 2 decades, Richard worked with coffee as a tool to end years of oppression that resulted from the opium trade. During this time, Richard’s son Mike, would spend a lot of time with his father in villages, soaking up experiences that most can only dream of. Eventually, Mike would use this knowledge and experience to continue his father’s work by founding ITDP.   

Established in 1990, ITDP created a project that would become the first fair trade certified coffee co op in Thailand. The objective was to take coffee farming to the next level by producing a coffee that could reach international standards, and in turn provide more money and opportunity for the farmer. ITDP began helping farmers produce a coffee that would not just be good enough to get by, but a coffee that could compete with the top producers. We provide proper training, improved varieties that can thrive in these regions, and processing equipment in order to meet these standards.

Farms: Our 400+ farms in 40 villages are 100 percent farmer owned and located throughout four major provinces in northern Thailand: Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, and Mae Hong Son.

Northern Thailand

Coffee Profiles

Mae Hong Son Region

This region lies along the Myanmar-Thailand border and makes up much of what is known as the “Thai Highlands”, which still have many areas covered in the natural rain forest. Our farms in this region are located up to 1,600 meters above sea level, and produce an even amount of rainfall throughout the year- making it a perfect environment for producing quality coffee.

Cupping notes: Very well balanced with notable body. Medium to mild acidity, with a lingering earthy spiciness in the finish.

Chiang Mai Region

Chiang Mai is the second largest province in Thailand, behind Bangkok. The city itself is in a valley, but the surrounding highlands provide an optimal environment for coffee production. Most of our farms in this area are located at about 1,400 meters above sea level.  

Cupping notes: Earthy with hints of vanilla, almond, and lemon. Balanced with a medium body, medium acidity, and a clean finish.

Chiang Rai Region

Chiang Rai is the northernmost province in Thailand, and home to the infamous “Golden Triangle”, which connects Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Once one of the most utilized areas of drug smuggling in the world,  Chiang Rai is now the highest producing area of arabica coffee in Thailand. Its mountainous regions can get as high as 2,000 meters, with a very moderate climate throughout the year.  

Cupping notes: Bright notes with a slight candied/caramel aroma. Sweet, but subtle fruit tones of orange, apricot, and peach. Full bodied with a crisp finish.

Lampang Region

Much like Chiang Mai, Lampang city is in a valley, but surrounded by complex mountain ranges. This area is fairly new to coffee growing, but it’s environmental conditions prove to be very favorable. Most of the mountain ranges are still covered in a dense forest canopy, which shades the coffee trees and provides the soil with rich organic matter.

Cupping notes: Milk chocolate aroma, with nutty notes of almond and hazelnut. Bright, refreshing, and a round mouth feel. Medium body with a layer of sweetness and a long lasting finish.


Marketing: Our coffee is sold and roasted through our Chiang Mai-based outlet Lanna Café and its USA branch Lanna Coffee. In addition, our co-op sells green beans to local and international markets such as Starbucks.

All proceeds from coffee sales sponsor a wide variety of holistic and sustainable community development projects. Over 400 farming families are assured above current fair trade prices, which keeps them from growing opium, other illegal drugs, and having family members deceived into the sex trafficking industry.

If you are interested in buying roasted coffee, or to understand more about ITDP’s work with Thai Highland Arabica coffee, visit Lanna Coffee in the United States or Lanna Café in Thailand

If your company is interested in buying Thai Tribal 100% Arabica green beans please contact us.





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