General Queries about Nepal Coffee and Our Company
My father spends some time working as a tea technician in a tea plantation in India. He was a big fan of tea and he wanted to grow tea in Nepal. But the place where we live is found not a suitable land to grow tea but coffee. That’s how ‘the coffee thought’ arises and I have started a company called “South Asian Traders” on the 4th of December 1995 (Mangsir 18, 2052) as a carry forward of my father’s dream. This company was basically an international trading (export) company for tea and coffee. Later in 2010, there was a need for a separate company to handle coffee production and processing, so we have registered “Greenland Organic Farm Pvt. Ltd.” as the producer of the “HimalayanArabica® Coffee” brand.
HimalayanArabica® Nepal Coffee is of Arabica variety, most of which are Bourbon and Typica. Nepal does not grow Robusta Coffee. The coffee we grow in Nepal is above 1000 meters up to 1600 meters above sea level (altitude) with organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices by small-holding farmers. Selective hand picking of fully ripen cherries is done and pulped right after harvesting with hand pulper for wet processing of coffee. In a year we produce around 10 to 12 tons of washed processed green coffee beans. We also produce coffee by dry processing method in small quantities, say around 2 to 3 metric tons per year where cherries are harvested and dried in sun at the farm patios or raised beds sometimes.
There is not a straightforward answer to this question as every coffee is unique in their tastes and attributes. If we have to take a reference, we can refer slightly with African coffee. We found Nepal Coffee as floral and fruity undertones, smooth body, crisp sweetness, and untamed syrup aftertaste with mild acidity, a perfect component for excellent filter coffee, and for espresso blends.
Having said that, I think a good comparison of Nepal coffee (taking reference of our own Himalayan Arabica Brand) might be some of the specialty lots of Brazilian Coffee. Let’s take an example of Brazil Ipanema Aura Matina lots. I have had a chance to drink their coffee with the courtesy of my friend, Sumi in 2020.
In general, I would compare Nepal Coffee with good standard Ethiopian lots but with a slight higher price for Nepal coffee.
Our unique premium organic coffee grown in Lamjung district of Nepal at the foothills of Mt. Manaslu (8th highest mountain in the world at 8163 metres (26,781 ft) are precious and rare specialty coffees. They are mild and mellow by nature and contain just 1% – 1,5 % caffeein. There is no bitterness at all. The taste is very smooth and feels very pleasant in your stomach (“magenfreundlich”). Coffee connoisseurs from around the world already compare our coffee to the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Our 100 % pure Arabica coffees are NOT grown on large plantations, but in small coffee gardens with just 100 to 1.000 coffee trees in the shade of orange, lemon, papaya, banana, palm and other trees on slopes at an elevation between 1.100 and 1.600 meters above sea level. Only fully ripe coffee cherries are carefully handpicked over a period of four months between January and April and then wet processed with fresh and clean Himalayan spring water. We process environment-friendly using only buffalo and cow dung, local herbs and leaves like Neem as organic fertilizers. No pesticides, insecticides or other chemicals are being used. The parchment is being fermented and naturally sun-dried at the local pulping centers.
Beautiful Notes of Complex, Bright Tea like Floral Notes, and Sweet Caramel with a Hint of Jasmin.
Price of Nepali Coffee
Why is Nepali coffee expensive in comparison to similar coffee from other nations?
I would like to share with you a bit about the Nepalese coffee price structure and the reason why it seems expensive in a similar category. The price we are paying to the farmer/grower is US$ 0.85 per kg for fresh cherry without floating/sorting – Ratio = Freshcherry 4Kg: 1kg Parchment:400g green beans (AA grade). Now, you add local transportation of parchment from the village to our mill+hulling/grading+hand-sorting of green beans+packing and margin. I can understand that our price surprises our importer but realize that Nepalese farmers are getting one of the highest-paid for coffee plus we have no choice but to use 100% handwork. Local carriage/man transport coffee from the pulping center to the vehicle accessible road is sometimes 4 hours of a hill walk. Now imagine how things are working in Nepal. Here is an example of our Dutch buyer selling our green coffee
Being a Nepalese coffee farmer and having worked with 20+ producer countries, I realize that the cost of coffee is often not based on its quality, but on the difficulty in producing, processing, and transporting it.
It is 100 % Arabica coffee.
Bourbon – Caturra
What is the history of the variety in the region/country (how, from where and when were they introduced?)
Coffee plantation is still a new adventure in Nepal. In 1938 AD, a hermit Mr Hira Giri had brought some seeds of Coffee from Sindu Province of Myanmar (the then Burma) and had planted in Aapchaur of Gulmi District for the first time in Nepal. The crop remained unnoticed as a curiosity crop until 1970s. Then it spread from one farmer to another as a curiosity plant for about 4 decades.
Origin of Nepal Coffee
The coffee in Nepal has been spreading in over 40 districts of the hid hills of Nepal since the last few decades. Some of the major coffee-producing districts of Nepal are Kavre, Lalitpur, Gulmi, and Kaski. Most of the Nepalese coffees are graded as specialty Coffee for its distinct flavor aroma and body as it is grown in higher altitude, away from the main Coffee growing Capricorn and Cancer belt. Coffee produced in Nepal is Organic & Fair-trade and is scored as a Specialty Coffee in international specialty markets.
Which are the GIS (geographical coordinates) of country? And in the region from where our coffee is growing?
Geographical coordinates of country 27° 42′ 0″ N, 85° 19′ 0″ E
Geographical coordinates of our coffee-growing ranges from 28°09’43.6″N 84°21’25.4″E to 28.21°N 84.60°E
There are more than 30,000 farmers in the country. We are working with 12 coffee cooperative of 465 households representing 2325 farmers.
0.509 hactare per farmer and those from where we are growing coffee is 0.509 hactare per farmer
What is the average number of coffee plants per hectare in the country? And in the region from where our coffee grows?
1800 plants per hectare and in the region from where we grow coffee from is 1600 plants per hectare
What is the production per hectare in the country (Yield)? And from the region where we grow our coffee
6750 kg of fresh cherry per hectare. And in the region where we grown our coffee from is 6750 kg of fresh cherry per hectare.
Mean elevation: 2,565 m
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (highest peak in Asia and the highest point on earth above sea level)
Sandy and silty alluvial soil
What is the average temperature of country and in the region from where we grow our coffee? Any differences?
June is the hottest month with an average temperature of 23°C (73°F) and the coldest is January at 9°C (49°F)
And in the region from where we grow is buying coffee from is the same.
What about sun/shade? Describe the trees used for providing shadow to plants in the region where we grow coffee?
Mostly orange, lemon, papaya, banana, palm and other local citrus fruits and indigenous trees
Maze, millet and some local indigenous crops.
January to April
Farmers group, cooperatives and processing company. Farmers group and cooperative are tied up with processing/export company. The processing/exporting company has to pay an advance in four different lots starting from October (1st lot of payment) December (2nd lot), Feb and at the final delivery.
Harvest & Process
Selective Hand picking 100%
Coffee processing is done in old fashioned way which means selective hand picking of fully ripen cherries and pulped right after harvesting with mini hand pulper (wet processing)
Sundried in the net bed.
What is the storage method (is the grower doing the storage of the coffee or is coffee delivered to the cooperative or purchasing point)?
Farmers will store until full harvest is completed then Processer/purchasing point will collect parchment from farmers and manage storage
PP for parchment and Grain pro bags for green beans.
Any interesting specificity in terms of process in the area from where you grow coffee (versus the rest of the country or to add value to the coffee)?
Most of our farmers are located in very remote areas and they are still using hand/wooded pulping machine (non-electrical motorized)