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Results from the First Lao People’s Democratic Republic Coffee Competition

coffee cupping in laos

A coffee cupping in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Photo courtesy of the Coffee Quality Institute.

The inaugural Lao People’s Democratic Republic green coffee competition has concluded, giving international buyers a fresh view of quality potential from the Southeast Asian country.

The competition celebrated both the arabica and robusta species, while also awarding winners in the arabica category for washed, honey and natural processing, respectively.

Qualified judges from the United States and Switzerland blindly evaluated coffees following rigorous quality control and verification processes led by event organizer the nonprofit Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

“I was amazed and intrigued by the range of flavors presented within these coffees from Laos. Additionally, they consistently presented a level of quality I had not associated with this growing region,” Starbucks Supervisor in Global Quality Aaron Alvis said in an announcement of the competition results from CQI. “Aromas of baking cinnamon, wine, red fruit, cardamom and brown sugar accompanied flavor notes including florals, tobacco, honey, elegant grapefruit and vanilla. This was a truly special sensory experience.”

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The green coffee competition was part of a United States Department of Agriculture-funded project known as CLEAN that is being implemented by the nonprofit Winrock International with the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Lao Department of Agriculture (DOA). The four-year program is designed to promote the agricultural sector and market linkages, with particular emphasis on supporting ethnic farming communities in rural Laos.

The competition itself was organized by the international nonprofit Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), with additional support from L ‘Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The top five overall winners in the competition were produced by Jing Jhai Coffee Coop, Dao Coffee Factory and Bolaven Farms. The top-scoring coffee overall was a natural-process arabica that came from Jing Jhai Coffee Coop and scored 85.35. A robusta from Bolaven farms scored 84.31, according to the panel.

CQI suggested that people interested in acquiring coffees from the competition’s winning producers should reach out to Winrock’s Alex Dahan at [email protected].



Todd Arnette

The natural process Robustas would be an amazing Nitro Cold Brew. When served as brewed coffee at 58gr/l, 9 out of the 10 people in the room (guests, not competition judges) did not know they were drinking 100% Robusta coffee. Please consider trying Fine Grade Robusta as measured by the CQI Fine Robusta Standards and Protocol.

Jim Archer

Did you try Lao Coffee as it is traditionally roasted and ground and then served around the country – usually in a small glass with a layer of sweetened condensed milk on the bottom. When I am in Vientiane I have this for my morning breakfast coffee. It is delicious! You van buy it at Talaat Kua Din behind the Morning market. A 1kg bag of roasted and coarsely ground coffee is 50,000 Kip. As of February 2020. If it was available in Canada I would buy it. THis is the Lao People’s coffee.

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