(QTO) - Good news came to Pun coffee Co., Ltd (Pun coffee for short) in the early days of May 2021 when its Arabica coffee product was named at the highest position at the contest " Vietnamese coffee specialty 2021”. This year is the third year, under the direction of Dak Lak Provincial People's Committee, Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Association organized the contest "Vietnamese specialty coffee 2021" and for the first time, Quang Tri has offered its coffee product to the contest. Behind the success of Pun coffee is the efforts of a whole team on the road to build Quang Tri specialty coffee to reach the world market.
Finished product of Pun coffee - Photo: NVCC
From farm to cup of coffee
Mrs. Luong Ngoc Tram, 39 years old, Pun coffee CEO, used to work in the strategy department of TTC Group, Ho Chi Minh City. In 2019, she met her husband, Mr. Phan Hong Phong, a son of Huong Phung and Huong Hoa and got married since then. . Mrs. Tram said, although she is from Quang Nam, her paternal grandmother is from Vinh Linh, so she often returns to Quang Tri and gets familiar with this place. Like an accidental arrangement of fate, marrying with a Quang Tri man, she gave up her long-term job in Ho Chi Minh City, followed her husband to Huong Hoa and gradually adapted to this land, especially she got acquainted with a new profession, growing and processing coffee. Tram's husband's family has a tradition of more than 25 years of growing and processing coffee on the land of Huong Hoa.
However, when approaching this new profession, she found that the imprint of Khe Sanh - Quang Tri coffee in the Vietnamese coffee market and especially for consumers is very faint. With the determination to build a trade brand for Khe Sanh coffee, in 2019, Mrs. Tram and her husband established Pun coffee Co., Ltd. “The goal when we established the company is to produce coffee specialty in the direction of “Farm to cup”, changing the concept of using coffee by users with the motto “coffee is juice”. “Farm to cup” is understood as an end-to-end quality management model, connecting resources to ensure the quality of fresh ingredients “from the farm to the cup of coffee”. Currently, the trend of domestic or international consumers when drinking coffee, all want to know where the coffee comes from, who grows it, and how safe it is, so to build specialty coffee with high quality ingredients, clear origin, and meeting standards requires a lot of effort, "said Mrs. Tram.
That's the idea, but when starting to build, the couple faced many difficulties. The local raw material coffee area is degraded, caused by 10 consecutive years of falling coffee prices, so growers neglected, did not take care, coffee quality was very poor compared to other coffee regions. One of the reasons why the quality of raw coffee was not high because coffee growers harvested at the wrong time (when the coffee beens were still green or overripe), mixed with many impurities, dried coffee on a damp floor, machinery was still outdated so it was not able to filter out poor quality pbeens … Newly-established enterprise faced with difficulties in labor, investment in equipment and machinery to serve the production of large orders such as coffee color sorters, lab system to analyze coffee samples at each production stage to control coffee quality.
With a strategy towards high-quality products, she and her husband had started with mobilizing people to pick 100% ripe and red coffee, buying twice the market price as raw materials for processing. In particular, she often spent time going to many places to study how to make coffee to gain experience for herself. She sought to approach local coffee growers, visited each garden to encourage and guide people on how to take care of coffee in order to gradually change their traditional coffee growing habits as well as proposed not to spray chemicals, committed to buy products to ensure them to produce. Having built trust with coffee growers and obtained a source of quality products, Pun coffee Company invested in a membrane drying system, a fresh fruit separators system, and a grinding machine for clean coffee production. In order to have standard specialty coffee products, Mrs. Tram said: "The process of processing specialty coffee is very laborious, the coffee beans after being brought to the factory must be washed and removed the beans floating on the water surface, the black, dry and overriped ones, , then cool them before putting them to dry on the net, in careful consideration at the right outdoor temperature. Because if they were dried at too hot temperature, the coffee would dry quickly, should not dry overnight to avoid moisture due to dew, in addition, there must be supporting equipment such as sugar meter, moisture meter, temperature meter to check the quality of coffee to meet the standards of the rice part, after the grinding process, it is again screened to sort out errors according to SCAA standards. All require meticulous, careful care from the smallest production stage to the whole processing of finished products.
Victory of faith and passion
Sharing about the results that Pun coffee achieved at the "Vietnamese specialty coffee 2021" contest, Luong Ngoc Tram was still excited. She said, the contest "Vietnamese specialty coffee 2021" was organized according to the model of prestigious specialty coffee competitions in the world, the evaluation of coffee quality follows the standards and processes and procedures issued by the Association of Specialty Coffee and the World Coffee Quality Institute, and have been applied by the world specialty coffee community. Contest samples were coded after the stages of green kernel testing, roasting, tasting. And finally, the scores were assembled, and the contest codes were put together to find the original unit.
The chance that Pun coffee entered the contest for the first time was also very coincidental. Tram and her husband were fortunate to connect with expert Le Trung Hung - Chief Representative of Inter-Kom SpA Company in Ho Chi Minh City, expert Nguyen Tan Vinh - Director of Kpan Company, two people who are especially enthusiastic in building Vietnamese specialty coffee. The experts held a seminar on Khe Sanh and Huong Phung coffee, and arranged a 7-day training session on high-quality coffee processing for coffee farmers at Pun coffee Company. Based on her existing knowledge, Mrs. Tram boldly registered 2 samples to participate in the contest: Natural processed Arabica coffee and Honey processed coffee. She shared, from the very beginning, Pun coffee insisted that it did not make coffee for each business, but wanted to build Quang Tri specialty coffee community in Huong Phung. Therefore, Mrs. Tram's husband and 3 others have established the Quang Tri Specialty Coffee Group, bringing Natural processed Arabica coffee products to the competition.
The interesting thing about this year's competition was that the new participants all won high prizes, changing the view of professional coffee roasters about the concept of good coffee from which region. Pun coffee's specialty coffee product was awarded the first place at the contest, opening the opportunity for Quang Tri specialty coffee to reach out to a large market.
“All equipment for processing specialty coffee of Pun coffee, Quang Tri coffee group headed by Mr. Le Trung Hung called for contribution. The victory of Quang Tri specialty coffee at the contest is a victory of faith, passion and gratitude to those who not only support us with material conditions to make specialty quality coffee but also create a trust in a qualified coffee area towards world specialty standards. At the same time, once again it’s affirmed that Quang Tri coffee is very special and in order to realize this special thing, it is necessary to be careful and meticulous in every detail of production, even the smallest stage," said Phong.
In the future development strategy, Pun coffee focuses on digital transformation in planning and building a new coffee raw material area in Khe Sanh , Quang Tri to serve long-term specialty coffee processing materials. In 2021, Pun coffee is promoting the final stages to export Quang Tri roasted coffee to the US market. “Our goal is to proceed to do business according to Fair trade certification standards on coffee to ensure the interests of the people who are working with Pun coffee to feel secure in production, including Van Kieu ethnic minority. At the same time, Pun coffee will build a Quang Tri specialty coffee experience point located on the west branch of Ho Chi Minh Road, and cooperate with travel agencies to build a coffee tour program to promote Quang Tri coffee." Director of Pun coffee Luong Ngoc Tram affirmed.
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