An indigenous community is trying to improve Vietnam’s coffee reputation by growing better-quality, organic beans. There’s more to the world’s second-biggest producer than just instant coffee, they say.
Rolan Co Lieng walks slowly through a greenhouse checking the yellow and caramel-brown coffee beans that have been drying on net beds for months. She picks up a few and smells them. Soon, they will be ready to be milled, roasted and sold in Vietnam, Japan and Germany.
Lieng comes from a tradition of small-scale coffee farmers among the indigenous K’Ho community. They’ve been living at the foot of the Lang Biang mountain in Dalat for centuries. Her parents grew coffee plants, as did her grandparents, who received Arabica coffee seeds from French travelers in the early 1920s.
Lieng fell in love with coffee at a young age.
“When I grew up, every morning before going to church at 4am, my parents drank a Nescafé,” Lieng told DW. “The aroma really attracted me, it was sweet and creamy. When they left the house, I always smelled the cups and tried to taste the coffee with my fingers.”
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