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 roasting 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 micro finance loans to small holder 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.