If you’re in Dalat (Đà Lạt), then you probably know the two things that make it famous: wine and coffee. I was keen on taking a tour of both types of plantations, but finding the right option without taking a guided tour was hard to come by.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in One More Cafe, skimming the menu that I noticed their coffee came from K’Ho Coffee. The K’Ho are an ethnic minority in the highlands surrounding Dalat. This particular plantation employs the local people, and strives for a sustainable and organic approach to their arabica coffee. I shot them a quick message and headed over with my 2 friends. The small plantation is about a 20 minute drive out of Dalat and is best approached by motorbike.
At the end of a narrow, hilly road was a little wooden house with the logo. In fact, we missed it entirely, but thankfully one of the locals spotted us and pointed us in the right direction.
As soon as we parked out bikes, we were greeted by Dijek, who just started working there a day earlier! He immediately brought us through the house out to the back which revealed a long slope into a valley with plantations and greenhouses covering the landscape. Dijek was great. He brought us through the plants and under branches to find coffee beans at all different stages of growth. He explained their commitment to organic growth – such as using peanut grass to fix nitrogen into the soil and planting larger trees to provide natural shade. We sampled some of the beans and fruits right off the trees – although I’m not sure why. And he was happy to answer any questions we had. We then sat down in a little wooden shack and enjoyed coffee than had just been roasted on site earlier that day. We sampled their arabica made from green and yellow beans, and a new coffee tea they were testing.
Over our drinks, Dijek went into more detail about the plantation’s plans for the community. They are attempting to partner with other K’Ho farmers and convince them to grow coffee in the same way, while eliminating the middle man – in order to improve their income. He saw it as a very important duty to help raise up the entire community through these actions. He also mentioned the cooperative’s expanding business, such as creating a homestay on the farm and exporting to new countries like Indonesia. I think we sat and talked to him for over an hour about their plans and the history of this farm.
Overall it was a great experience. There wasn’t any of that touristy stuff going on. We weren’t whisked off a bus to see some plants then asked to buy coffee. We talked to the actual employees, sampled fresh coffee, and then learned about the goals of the plantation. It was one of the most authentic tours I’ve had in Vietnam – not like Ha Long bay.
I highly recommend going here if you care about coffee! But send them a message on Facebook or their website first because they can only handle a small number of visitors at a time.