Myin Dwin is a great example of coffee’s capacity to support positive change in a community. Myin Dwin is one of the smaller groups in terms of acreage, but their productivity is exceptionally high for Myanmar. This Danu community is about 24 miles south of Ywa Ngan, and they grow tea, oranges and avocadoes in addition to coffee.
Up until 1970, the part of Shan State in which this village is located was famous for producing heroin poppies. The families here decided they wanted to get out of that business, even though it was a source of easy cash, and one of the few viable businesses in this remote area. They switched to coffee at that time, and have never gone back to poppies. After Myin Dwin lead the way, other communities in the area moved from poppy production to coffee, which is why neighboring villages refer to Myin Dwin as “the mother of coffee,” and to their own varietal as “Myin Dwin Varietal.”
The village’s name means “Horse Well,” and there is a local legend of a magical horse that sprang from the town’s well. In 2015, a coffee farmer from Myin Dwin named U Than Soe won the 1st prize at the 1st International Myanmar cupping competition. The village received coffee plantation management training from Winrock in 2015. Myin Dwin started to produce specialty coffee as an organized group in 2016-2017 and the growers here have been very successful in making their coffees one of those which consistently scores near the top of the range.
Money from specialty coffee production in Myin Dwin has been used to buy bikes to make children’s trips to the area high school less time consuming, and has helped send older kids to college. They have also placed particular emphasis on creating great opportunities for women in coffee production. The community makes sure that women have access to coffee education, and that coffee profits are distributed equitably within households. Coffee profits have also built a community well and a medical clinic. The folks here talked a lot about the way their coffee project has created an atmosphere of collaboration and brought the community closer together.
In December 2018 when we visited, we were able to bring roasted coffee from Myin Dwin, and it was the first time the producers had tasted their own coffee, much to their delight. In 2018 they used profits from coffee to improve roads and infrastructure in the village and for drying-bed preparation. The size of the core members jumped from 11 in the first year to 27 and now has 55 core members dedicated to specialty coffee production.
In 2018/2019 Atlas provided Myin Dwin coffee for US Coffee Champs roaster competitions, and Mr. U Min Ko Naing, leader of the Myin Dwin Specialty Coffee Working Group replied with: of U Min Ko Naing:
“As soon as we heard about our coffee was used for US roasting competition, we were very excited since it was a kind of promotion of our coffee. We, farmers, become more motivated to produce specialty coffee and work collectively. We hope more and more buyers will visit our village to buy coffee. This is the third year of growing specialty coffee and some nearby villages sometimes come to our visit to learn about growing specialty coffee. I would like to tell the roasters that we are very happy for the news and we promise that we will try to get the quality better and better every year.”
- GPS: 20.92841, 96.57763
- Elevation (masl): 1,361
- Ethnic Group: Danu
- Coffee-producing families: 150
- Coffee variety: Catuai, Costa Rica
- Average coffee yield: 2400 (kg fresh cherries/acre)
- Estimated 2019 Production:11MT/ 180 bags
- Screen Size: 15+