August 19, 2016

Japanese buyers put off by high prices of Myanmar coffee

Coffee berries.
Coffee berries.

AN appreciation in the value of coffee beans this year from Ywangan township, located in the Danu Self Administrative Region of Shan State, has put off Japanese buyers, according to the Mandalay Coffee Association (MCA).
A ton of Ywangan coffee beans fetched $3,300 in 2015. But this month, which marks the end of the 2016 coffee season, has seen the price of the bean shoot up to $4,000 because of its premium quality.
“We sold [our coffee beans] to Japan this time last year. But there’s no export to Japan this year because of an increase in the price of the coffee bean. Ywangan coffee is quite expensive. They [Japanese buyers] just came to inspect the coffee beans but didn’t make any purchases,” said U Min Hlaing, secretary of MCA.
Ywangan coffee is officially recognised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) after the beans scored 85/100 after being taste tested. The popularity of coffee, and subsequent consumer demand, has caused a trend in the appreciate of coffee on the world market.
“We sent samples of the beans to Japan last year. They’re already aware of the quality of our coffee bean. We have exported 18 tons of Ywangan coffee, together with coffee from Pyin Oo Lwin, to Japan costing $3,500 per tonne,” said U Win Aung Kyaw, chair of the Ywangan Coffee Association.
The coffee grown in Ywangan village is a of the Costa Rican coffee bean variety and was introduced as a substitution crop for opium in 1985. The township boasts 6,600 acres of coffee plantations across 125 villages, which has the capacity to produce over 700 tonnes of coffee beans annually


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