Bolaven Plateau

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Tad Fan

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, March 8, 2010

We are just back from 4 days in the Bolaven Plateau,an old dried up volcano. The Plateau is at about 1200m above sealevel,which gives it aperfect climate (28 daytime, 18 nighttime). The area is very fertile because of the lava dirt and the climate is perfect to! Coffee has been introduced to the Bolaven Plateau by the French,about 70 years ago and growing coffee has become the main activity on the Plateau. Funnily enough, Lao people don't really drink coffee! The ethnic groupof the Bolaven Plateau are called the Laven (Bolaven meaning the Laven's land) and speak their own dialect. Nevertheless they all speak Lao. We arrived on the Plateau by minivan (no more public buses for us!!!!) and admired a few of the beautiful waterfalls they have on the way.Luckily we could swim in one of them...the kids were getting frustrated seeing that much water and not being able to jump in!!! After a few ethnic villages (some having the funny tradition toalready maketheir coffins and store them for the whole family under the house!!) we arrived atTadFan,the highest waterfallin south east asia. We stopped in the village of Paksong to have a nice cup of local coffee at our guide's uncle's coffee shop and the guy turned out to be the famous Mr.Coffe,a Dutch guysomepeoplewemet in Luang Prabang had recommended! We spent half an hour with him and booked a coffee tour for the day after tomorrow. Our Guesthouse had a view on the waterfalland we fell asleepto the sound of water crashingfromsome 150m. The next morning,afterhomewirk, we went on a walk to the was very steep down in the jungle and after about 15minutes of going down we arrive at a beautiful mini waterfall in the middle of the jungle. The kids could get wet....That littlewaterfallwas at the topof the bigone...pretty scary to know that about 50meters further there was a 150m drop...The way back upwas terrible...Michael and I complained the whole time but the girls stillhad energy to run aroung once we got back to the top...don'tknow where they get it from!!! In the afternoon we had the bad idea to walk the 3km to another was horribly hotbut once again....who complained the most????
Following day was our coffee tour day...we were all very curious. We had told the girls that they would be allowed to drink their own cup of coffee, which had the effect of exciting them even more than the coffee itself. Mr.Coffee ( picked us up from the guesthouse at 9:00 and,first ofall,made us a 100% organic local arabica cup of coffee. The guy was a coffee lover even beforel eaving Holland 8 years ago, buying green beans and roasting them himself in his kitchen! After travelling aroung in China and Asia for several years he stopped in Laos, met his wife. She was already a coffee farmer and had her own plantation. SoMr. Coffee started making hisown little roastings. Allcoffee framers of the Bolaven Plateau sell their green beans to DAO Coffee,the one and only coffee exporter of Laos. The Lao coffee goesmostlt to Thailand. We made a tour of the plantation,starting with the smallest coffee plants and ending with the roasting. He took us through all the stages of coffee processing up to the green dried beans. The beans are sold green and the different countries roast them in their own countries to the local taste. On the Bolaven Plateau they producemainly Arabica and Robusta. Mr.Coffee gave us green beans and showed us how to get the "peel" of the old fashioned way (same as for the rice) and once that was done we were ready to roast ourown beansin the wok! It was so much fun,smelled so good and it was amazing to see the beans turn from green to shiny brown once roasted enough. Once the beans are shiny (the essential oils coming out) the coffee is ready.Careful not to burn them!With artisanal roasting the interesting thing is the different degrees of roasting in one "load"! Industrialroasting has one level and all beans are roasted the same,which gives a more neutral taste. We ofcourse gotto ground someofour coffee and taste it....just perfect! After that wegotto try afunny specialty..KopiLuwak...akind of cat (weasel) eats the coffee fruit (the bean being the seed) and digests everything but the seed. The defecated beans are collected, cleaned and is supposed to be one of the best coffees in the world...we tasted it...very interesting.The girls calledit the Katzenschiesse Kaffee!!!! Allin all,it was just a pewrfect day,with someone whoknew somuch about the locals and couldexplain inwith a european point of view. We all loved that day! Tomorrow we are oftoChampassak,back in the plain,in the heat!
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Irene on

Ouuuui! Poppy cat coffee!!! ;-)

Ama on

Très interessant, l'histoire du café
.Par hasard nous avons vu à là télé il n'y a pas longtemps une docu sur le café et ils ont montré aussi les caca beans.
On se demandait, quelle goût ca pouvait avoir et vousl' avez bu! Quelle rigolade!!
Vous étions avec un guide en visitant les waterfalls, ou il y avait le trou en bas?
Vous saviez ca avant de partir??Ca me fait peur d'entendre ce genre de trucs
Enfin. Il neige ici depuis toute le journée. Génial!
Bizzzz Mams

schellenberg on

Hihi,le coup du cafe de crottes de chat je pensaisbien que ca vous plairait!Il neige a Argeliers?????Pas de panique maman, on a tout sous controle,enfin presque!! On vous appelleun de ces jours de nouveau! Bises!

Et toiIrene,ca va? Amanda a aime le Skilager? Bises!!

Norma on

Quelle aventure ! Et dire qu'ici il y a la bise depuis trois jours et fait -6 !!!!
Profitez un max, mangez un truc bon pour moi et faites un gros bisou aux petites nanas de notre part ! Kiss des 4 Cochcoch

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