Vietnam Coffee Farm Update

Old Quarter founders Amy and Yose head back to Vietnam, where their Fair Value Exchange began, to see how farmers Pat and Tam have been working on growing their coffee.
Old Quarter Vietnam Ethical Coffee Farm
Vietnam and Old Quarter? Our story goes way back. It was here, six years ago, that our founders Amy and Yose dreamt up a plan for a social enterprise that would redefine Australia's perception of Southeast Asian Coffee.
Amy and Yose connected with a small cooperative of K’Ho farming families who had experienced a lot of hardship in their goal of working towards producing great organic coffee in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

The cooperative, led by husband-and-wife team Pat and Tam, supplied the coffee beans for Old Quarter’s first-ever release – Vietnam K’Ho Espresso Roast. Since then, they’ve worked closely together to shine a light on Vietnam as a specialty coffee producer, with Old Quarter now pre-purchasing almost the entirety of Pat and Tam’s crop every year.

Since the pandemic brought travel to a grinding halt in 2020, Amy and Yose have been itching to get back to Vietnam to reconnect with the K’Ho farmers.

One of the pillars of Old Quarter’s Fair Value Exchange is nurturing personal relationships with the people who grow our Daily Happy, so they were buzzing to see the latest progress on Pat and Tam’s beautiful farm on the slopes of Lang Biang Mountain.

“These trips allow us to build closer relationships with the farmers,” Amy explains. “We focus on listening first. That way, we get to understand their plans for the future, their challenges and ultimately, what they need from us.”
Old Quarter Coffee Vietnam Farm Trip 2022
Investing in the future

Land values in Lang Biang are skyrocketing due to the area’s proximity to Da Lat, Vietnam’s “honeymoon capital”. While many coffee farmers in the region have now sold their land to developers, Pat and Tam are doubling down on their vision to grow world-class specialty coffee.

Pat and new team member Kiyo, a Japanese-born coffee expert and producer, are working to improve and scale up every step of their coffee producing process.

“On a farm level, they’re improving organic fertilisation techniques to improve tree health,” Yose says. “They’re also planting a lot of new varieties of Arabica and experimenting with specialty varietals such as Bourbon and Caturra.”

In an effort to future-proof their crop, they’ve planted two new Arabica varieties, THA1 and THA2, that are more resistant to devastating diseases such as coffee leaf rust.

“These trees, genetically, are helping to protect against the increasing challenges to production while producing a specialty level of coffee quality,” explains Yose.

Pat and Kiyo have been analysing and refining every step of their washed processing techniques and experimenting with new methods, such as honey processing and anaerobic fermentations, to continue raising the farm’s cup scores (a standardised measure of coffee quality).

In a tropical climate, enclosed drying sheds are vital to ensure the freshly picked berries become high-quality coffee beans. But, as farmers who rely on one annual harvest for their income, the cooperative’s biggest challenge is year-round cashflow to invest in equipment like drying sheds and other purchases to support their growth.

“They need to process more coffee to grow their business, but before they can do that they need the cash for the extra equipment and infrastructure to handle the larger volumes. It’s tricky,” explains Amy.

That’s where Amy and Yose were able to help, chipping in $6000 to support Pat and Tam in purchasing new drying greenhouses. “That’s part of our optimism exchange – it’s what Old Quarter is all about,” Amy says.
Old Quarter Coffee Vietnam Farming Partner
The Fair Value Exchange in action

Spending quality time with Pat, Tam, Kiyo and the other farmers was the real highlight of this trip. “It was so special to be back together,” Amy says. “We ate and drank together, had coffee together and visited the farm. It feels like coming home for us.”

One night, when Pat and Tam hosted a barbecue for their guests, Amy and Yose took the opportunity to ask, “How can we be a better customer to you?”

This important question opened up a beautiful conversation that underscored the reciprocal nature of the Fair Value partnership, which is built on mutually beneficial and respectful relationships.

“We both shared how much working together has meant to us over the last few years and how it’s helped our businesses grow,” Amy says.

“We told Pat and Tam, ‘You provided something that made our business flourish. We both rely on each other’. This relationship is why we do what we do.”

Not only was their conversation a special memory to bring home, it reaffirmed to Amy and Yose that their mission to provide Daily Happy to the communities they work with is making a real impact.
A taste of Lang Biang

It’s clear that Pat and Tam and the K’Ho farmers are well on their way to achieving their goal of making Lang Biang world-famous as a specialty coffee region.

For a taste of their incredible product, check out Vietnam K'Ho. Our new blend, Cloud Nine also showcases the Vietnam K'ho coffee as 50% of the blend. You can buy these online or pick up a bag of your Daily Happy at our Ballina café. Interested to learn more about how we source ethical coffee? Read up on our Green Bean Buying Principles.

Discover Sth East Asian Specialty Coffee

Shop our coffees

Search our store