Hey there, fellow coffee enthusiasts and adventure junkies! Today, I’ve got a tale to tell that’ll take you on a wild journey to the mesmerizing Bolaven Plateau in mid-October 2023. Buckle up and get ready to be amazed because I recently embarked on a week-long escapade to document the mind-blowing work of a coffee cooperative called CPC (Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative) supported and financed by Alterfin, one of my very regular clients, where I have already been in mission in Cambodia and Uzbekistan. Trust me when I say, it was a trip like no other!\

From Siem Reap to Pakse

Now, let me start by confessing that I decided to take the road to go to Laos. Why? Well, flight connections were about as reliable as a broken coffee machine, and the prices were sky-high! So, I hopped in my trusty driver and set off on an epic road trip. Everything was going smooth until the last two hours from Steung Treng to the border. Let me tell you, that road was in such terrible condition that I felt like I was driving through a coffee bean obstacle course! It seems like Laos and Cambodia have zero interest in connecting, and boy, does it show! And don’t even get me started on crossing the border. It was like navigating a labyrinth of bureaucracy, corruption, and confusion. I swear, it felt like I was auditioning for a role in a reality show called “Border Patrol Madness.” But hey, I made it through, and luckily, I had the foresight to arrive in Pakse a day early the job. Phew!

Telling a story of hope and progress

Now, let’s dive into the juicy details of this coffee cooperative, shall we? The folks at CPC are on a mission to make the lives of local coffee farmers better. And let me tell you, they’re doing an incredible job! During my time there, I witnessed some jaw-dropping transformations that would make even the most seasoned barista do a double-take.

Coffee beans

One of the most remarkable changes was the construction of a brand spanking new paved road. Can you imagine the sheer joy this brings to the farmers? It’s like going from a bumpy roller coaster ride to a smooth espresso shot. This new road not only improves accessibility but also makes it a breeze to transport those precious coffee beans. Talk about a game-changer! I bet the farmers are doing a happy dance every time they drive on it.

Public school of Maisaysomboune, Paksong, supported and financed by CPC

But wait, there’s more! CPC didn’t stop at just building a road. Oh no, they went above and beyond. They also participated in the construction of a brand new school and a shiny new medical center as part of their project. Now, not only are the farmers reaping the benefits of improved coffee production opportunities, but their families are also enjoying better education and healthcare facilities. It’s a win-win situation, my friends!

During my time at the cooperative, I got to experience and photograph the daily life of these incredible people. And let me tell you, it was like stepping into a coffee-scented wonderland. I think I managed to capture some awe-inspiring images along the way. From the lush green coffee plantations stretching as far as the eye can see to the infectious smiles of the hardworking farmers, I hope my photographs tell a story of hope and progress.

Coffee Harvesting

It warms my caffeine-loving heart to see organizations like CPC making a real difference in the lives of those who need it most. By providing better infrastructure and essential services, they’re empowering these farmers to create a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones. It’s like adding an extra shot of espresso to their lives!

Coffee cherries in Nambeng, Laongam, Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Fair Trade

So, my fellow coffee aficionados, the next time you take a sip of that glorious morning cup of joe, take a moment to appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that go into producing that heavenly brew. Behind every sip, there are countless stories of people like the farmers in the Bolaven Plateau, who are pouring their hearts into creating a better life.

Here’s to the coffee cooperatives and the incredible work they do! May their coffee beans be forever roasted to perfection, and their impact be felt far and wide. Cheers!