ARABICA VAR. TYPICA VIETNAM
2004, during one of our (Hiep, Alex and our driver Tan) upcountry crop surveillance tours. In the hills outside the city of Da Lat we stopped to visit a coffee farm growing Arabica. Alongside the border of the farm there were some larger old trunk bushes, not being taken care. The farmer explained to us that these served as wind protection and to keep prying eyes away.
Since I did not understand the ongoing talks in Vietnamese, I started to study more carefully these bushes and to my surprise they were coffee trees and somehow looked like coffee trees I have seen in the Pluma region in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. This region is particularly famous for growing Arabica var. Typica and var. Bourbon and its mild coffees with sweet mellow body, fine structured acidity and overall unique flavor resembling the scent in an orange grove.
We asked the farmer about and he confirmed to us that indeed these were very old Typica and Bourbon trees, in fact, planted by the French around 1950. He then also showed us some trees within his small farm of the same variety, saying that soon he will eradicate them and replace with the much higher yielding Catimor varieties. After several cups of tea accompanied by his homemade herbal schnapps, we convinced him! He agreed to abstain from his plan and to work with us on a program to the contrary. To step by step, change the farm into a 100% Arabica Typica farm. On a simple paper we secured him our financial and agronomist support, and very important, the guaranteed offtake of the production at a mutually agreed price not linked to the coffee futures price.
Today, 17 years later, Hiep and me are very proud to say that this venture became a success story. This farmer became one of the only farmers in Vietnam cultivating Arabica var. Typica. And probably the only one maintaining a small area growing exclusively Arabica var. Bourbon. Year after year we merchandised his coffee, be it export or into the local market, at the price he asked us for, sometimes at a loss for us. I handed it out to some leading Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and the guests hardly believed that they were drinking coffee produced in Vietnam. Roasting and distributing these two unique coffees was one of the important reasons for Hiep and me to start the ALAMBÉ project. Personally, ALAMBÉ DA SAR is my favorite for breakfast and during the afternoon ALAMBÉ DA LAT is simply a great company to enjoy sip by sip.
Please join ALAMBÉ, make a new experience by enjoying these two truly wonderful coffees.