Thailand 93 Army
With its distinctive flavors of mango, guava, and star fruit, this rich fruity coffee comes the lush mountain area of Chiang Rai, a province within the infamous Golden Triangle of northern Thailand.
Known mainly for its opium-growing past, this area is steeped in a rich history of transformation and resilience. It’s a place where farms that once grew opium to battle oppression and poverty can now thrive in high-value cash crops such as tea, pineapples, coconuts, bananas — and of course, coffee.
A grandfather’s honor
Thanks to farmers like Liz Shen at 93Army Coffee, who is committed to growing sustainable, high-quality coffee, this area is sowing the seeds of a new legacy.
The farm’s name pays homage to the members of the 93rd Division of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, also known as the “Lost Army.” Shen’s grandfather, Shen Jia’en, was a commander of this army, whose members refused to surrender to communist forces at the end of the Chinese Civil war.
Back in 1949, these brave souls traveled the arduous journey through the mountains of China’s Yunnan Province and crossed into Thailand. There, they spent more than two decades fighting communist rebels, later rewarded with land and Thai citizenship.
Many of these new farmers grew opium poppies to survive, which resulted in damaged land and a bad reputation for the area. With help from the United Nations, and various organizations, this area slowly started improving farming conditions and replacing opium farming with other high-value crops.
Today, Thailand is one of the most successful examples of opium replacement, and coffee now plays a key role in the Thai economy.
A commitment to quality and community
Before graduating college in Taiwan, Shen worked part time as a barista and learned everything she could about coffee – from beans to brewing. She returned to her hometown, driven by a desire to help other local farmers grow high-quality beans and turn a better profit.
She focuses her efforts on producing sustainable, fully traceable, clean coffee, and has transformed the land she inherited into a well-established farm that produces high-quality beans.
But her commitment doesn’t end at the farm. She also works directly with local farmers to help them better-understand the complexity of coffee farming and produce better crops. She’s also spearheading a Thai chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, which works to empower women in the global coffee industry.
With her deep understanding of coffee, her passion for helping other farmers, and commitment to quality, Shen is helping to ensure the world learns that high-quality coffee is growing in the plantations of northern Thailand.
Producer: Liz Shen
Taste Notes: Medium-bodied with tropical fruit notes like guava, mango, and starfruit.
Region: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Altitude: 1,200 – 1,600 MASL