A Little Lesson… Learning New Things on the Akha Ama Coffee Journey

Before going on the Akha Ama coffee journey, I thought it would be fun and that I was going to experience something very different. I already knew that coffee was grown on a plant and that you had to pick it off. But there was still so much I didn’t understand about the process of coffee and what I thought I knew about coffee was different then how it actually is, there is a lot more work to it.

Sorting and picking through to find the bad/unripe coffee cherries.
Putting coffee cherries inside of a machine so they can be processed.

Lee, the owner of the coffee shop Akha Ama in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is on a mission to help his village get fairness for their coffee, fair trade. I think that means when his family picks coffee and carries it on their back and head for a two-hour hike, he wants his village to get paid fairly and they should get what they deserve after all their hard work to grow and pick the coffee. To me, what Lee is doing is a great idea because I think with the Akha people being an ethnic minority group in Thailand (and not many people knowing about them and all) his mission will help other people will finally start to realize that no matter where your from or the life style you live, you’re still important and deserve to be paid for what you do.

Lee's mom spreads out the bags of coffee beans so they can dry in the warm sunlight.
Lee’s mom spreading out the coffee so it can dry in the sun.

While on the Akha Ama coffee journey over one weekend, it was hard for me to adjust to not having different varieties of food, just potatoes, chicken, rice and so many veggies. The food was great and delicious, it was just so different from anything else I had ever had, and from the Thai food we ate every day in the city.

Another thing I had to adjust to was sleeping on the floor with just a cushiony mat under me inside another stranger’s house because for all of my life, I have always slept in a place where I’m familiar with my surroundings and on a bed with a decent amount of cushion. Although, the cushioned mat was pretty comfortable, it was still a little weird and there are still many more things I had to adjust to that I never really knew existed, and that I didn’t realize other people lived like every day.

Two cute puppies from the village spent our whole weekend wrestling and playing.
Two of the adorable puppies that played around in the village. Really love this picture!

My favorite part about going to the Akha Ama journey was either all the tiny little puppies running around and playing or picking the red and yellow/orange coffee cherries from the plant. Even though picking the coffee cherries was fun, it was still tiring and was amazing because I felt like an Akha person while walking back to the village with a bag full of cherries balanced on my head. The Akha Ama Coffee Journey showed me how fortunate I am to live in a country where if I work for HOURS a day picking coffee cherries and then carry a heavy basket for a two-hour hike, I will get paid for it. I hope the Akha people get what they deserve, and that means a fair amount of money for the hard work they do to pick coffee and make it for others to buy.

Ana carefully picks the ripe coffee cherries and adds them to her basket.
Picking coffee cherries from the plant is not easy. First, you have to find the ones that look ripe, twist them, and pull, being careful to only pick ripe ones.
A delicious sampling of the dishes served for dinner on the coffee journey.
The food I ate in the village. Different and weird, but still very delicious!

My aunt wrote about the story as well here.

1 thought on “A Little Lesson… Learning New Things on the Akha Ama Coffee Journey”

  1. Thanks for sharing your amazing adventures! I first read your aunt’s blog and now i’m reading yours. I’ve read every entry! Thank you for being so honest with your posts. You have given me a lot of insight into Asia, and made me laugh!
    THANKS!! 🙂

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