Ngu Shweli is the oldest coffee estate in the region, founded in 1997 when the owner, U Kyaw Sein decided to turn his hand to coffee after trying both peas and jade mining. 215 of the farms 235 acres are given over to coffee, with the rest being rocky land unsuitable for growing coffee. It is located in Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly Maymyo, a scenic hill town known for its botanical gardens and examples of colonial architecture. In 2004, it was honoured by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Shade on the farm is provided long term by the growth of Silver Oak and Macadamia trees, the latter being able to provide an alternative source of income too, and whilst those trees grow, Erythrina is used as a faster growing provider of coverage, accenting the estate with bright red flowers. He has his own nursery on the farm, useful as he does not stump the trees, preferring to replant with new seedlings. 80% of the farm is SL34, and 20% S795.
One of the first farms in the area to provide ripe cherries, the beans are picked and processed on the farm if they are honey or natural, or taken for processing at Mandalay Coffee Group (MCG)’s facility a short distance away if they are washed. Experiments are still going on with the naturals, this year being dried initially on plastic sheeting before being transferred to bamboo ‘trays’.