I drink coffee–a lot of espresso, that is–but I could not have told you what a coffee bean plant looked like for the life of me before visiting the Mae Klang Luang village in Northern Thailand. The Hmong people of this mountain village only farm the land to sustain their people and do not sell crops for profit, living exclusively off of the land. We toured the coffee fields planted on the rolling hills surrounding the village and were able to see and smell the fresh beans before they were roasted. After our tour we headed into the village for a fresh roasted cup of joe–the freshest cup of coffee I have ever had, I can say with certainty. And one of the strongest.
Our tour started with a two hour hike through Doi Ithanon National Park, about an hours drive outside of Chang Mai in Northern Thailand. After seeing many waterfalls and some very interesting (and treacherous) wooden bridges, the forest opened to rolling hills and planted fields.
Our Thai guides were great at showing us the different flora and fauna when possible. One of our guides was a Hmong village ambassador that stopped along the way to show interesting plants and how the people of his village use them.
After our tour of the fields, we came upon the small village–complete with its own ‘coffee shop’.
Our Hmong guide and the friends we made when traveling through Thailand.
It was great to see how such a small village thrives in the hills of Thailand and connects with outsiders through a love of coffee. Sitting in that tiny hut and sharing a cup of joe with people from all over the world was something I will took with back home and is one of my favorite memories of Thailand. One of my favorite ways to travel and explore the world is through the food culture of another country and it was wonderful to experience meet and explore the village of Mae Klang Luang. If you venture to Thailand, I highly suggest getting off the beaten path and exploring what the countryside has to offer.
Please let me know if you have questions about my time in Thailand or any of my travels and I’d be happy to help!