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Farm Name | Shwe Ywar Ngan

Region | Southern Shan State

Process | Black Honey

Variety | Red catuai

Altitude | 1300-1660m

Working closely with Ywar Ngan’s Danu Hill Tribe high in Southern Shan State, Shwe Ywar Ngan produces some of Myanmar’s finest Arabica coffee. The area’s fertile red and yellow soil (in addition to its renown blue lake), coupled with ideal elevation and consistent rainfall help make Ywar Ngan a particularly accommodating environment for growing coffee. The Danu Hill Tribe are long-time residents of the Ywar Ngan township which is primarily split between the Danu and Pa-o tribes. Hundreds of farmers work on small plots between one and five acres each, tending to the same land that their ancestors did before them. Since pesticides are forbidden in this township, its residents produce in an organic style though it is not yet formally organic certified.

Shwe Ywar Ngan was created by U Win Aung Kyaw, who has been growing coffee since 1975. The ‘Godfather’ of the industry, he has been influential in setting up Shan as a coffee producing area. In 1998 he bought land for a farm and started to process his own coffee. With the help of 3 coffee experts from FAO and government microfinance loans to smallholder producers, in 2001 the seeds were sown that would one day make this the biggest coffee producing area in the country. In 2003, Shwe Ywar Ngan distributed 200,000 seedlings to farmers to assist this drive. The vast majority of these were red catuai, this variety was identified as the most suitable for the region by the FAO. Coffee is grown under a variety of fruit and perennial shade trees.


This is our first Black Honey processed coffee.  You might have tried a honey processed coffee in our October Discovery from Costa Rica, whereby coffee is dried with the outer skin removed but with some of the fruit pulp (mucilage) still adhering to the beans. This coffee is classified as black honey, meaning all of the mucilage is left on the beans, as opposed to yellow or red where a lower percentage of mucilage remains on the beans. Read more about the differences between the honey processes in our latest blog.

I enjoy a honey processed coffee because it adds sweetness, a rich mouthfeel and an almost honey like quality to the cup all of which is achieved by the processing method applied at the farm. i.e. leaving a certain amount of mucilage (cherry flesh) on the seed during the drying phase. This month’s discovery coffee showcases these characteristics. I hope you enjoy the March discovery as much I did roasting it and drinking it.



We decided to do things a little differently this month. Although the implications of the recent news in the region are yet to fully unfold, we want to continue supporting the young and entrepreneurial coffee farmers who are continuing to produce exceptional speciality coffee. This month Chimney Fire Coffee will be making a donation to ActionAid to support their Coronavirus response in Myanmar and to those affected by the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia and was a British Colony until 1948. It was an independent state until 1962, when the military took over with a coup. In 2011, however, political reform began, and agricultural growth was incentivized by the government. On 1 February 2020 the people of Myanmar watched a military coup, declaring a year-long state of emergency.

Coronavirus crisis

Before the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Myanmar, the economic consequences had already arrived. Disruption to supply chains from China led to mass factory closures and saw thousands of factory workers lose their jobs, without means to compensation.

Healthcare infrastructure in Myanmar, especially in remote, rural areas, is weak; it is estimated the country has just 200 ventilators, which are concentrated in urban centres. Thousands are living in overcrowded sites for internally displaced people.

ActionAid and their local partners are working to stop the spread of the virus through awareness, prevention and protection measures, especially in potential hotspots such as urban areas and camps.

They are also distributing PPE including gloves and masks, and providing food aid or unconditional cash transfers to vulnerable households.

Rohingya refugee crisis

Since violence erupted in Myamar's Rakhine State in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar, crossing the border into Bangladesh where they're living in makeshift camps.

ActionAid is on the ground in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with a full-scale humanitarian response that has reached at least 60,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar with emergency food, clean drinking water and hygiene kits including sanitary products, soap and clean underwear.

Read more about the ActionAid’s work in Myanmar, and how you can help

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