History of Buon Ma Thuot coffee, how was it formed and developed? Let’s find out with Helena today.
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam quite early (since 1857). Through some French missionary priests.
The first is coffee ( coffee arabica ), experimentally grown in Catholic churches in some northern provinces. After that, it gradually developed into the South Central Highlands and the Southeast.
But so far, both in terms of size and reputation, nowhere in Vietnam has famous coffee at home and abroad. At the same time, it is associated with a place with many legends, such as Buon Ma Thuot coffee.
With the advantage of fertile basalt red soil, there are specific advantages in terms of natural conditions.
Buon Ma Thuot Plateau is not only a place where coffee trees grow well. It also creates high-quality coffee beans with a different taste than many other lands.
That difference determines the competitive advantage of Buon Ma Thuot coffee. And this place soon became “the focus” of the coffee industry in the Central Highlands in particular; Vietnam in general, especially for Robusta coffee.
However, besides the natural advantages. It is also necessary to review the historical factors of the Dak Lak coffee industry.
Because this is also a factor contributing to the reputation of Buon Ma Thuot coffee.
Right from the time of exploration to prepare to invade the Central Highlands. French explorers and missionaries soon realized that this land was strategically located in southern Indochina. But there are also precious resources that can be exploited to serve the country; first of all, land and forest.
In particular, this place has the type of soil that explorers such as Yersin, Bishop Cassaigne, Father Pierre Dourisboure… All were identified as the best soil in the world, suitable for opening industrial plantations.
Therefore, to monopolize the Central Highlands politically and economically. In 1893, the Ambassador of the Middle States Boulloche (boulloche) ordered that this land be placed “under special protection” of France. Aim to understand all security issues towards exploiting land resources to serve the country.
On November 2, 1901, the Governor-General of Indochina issued a Decree on “the right to protect and exploit the Central Highlands.” Paving the way for French capitalists to set up plantations. Immediately after that, 8 out of 12 applications for permission were approved by the Dak Lak missionary and submitted to the Chinese envoy for approval for the first time. They were mainly applying for exploitation in the eastern vicinity of Buon Ma Thuot town.
However, due to specific conditions (lack of means and labor). So in Buon Ma Thuot, there were no large plantations yet. It mainly set up tens of acres of farms to test industrial crops.
Which truffle and coffee tea (coffee arabica) are the first plants put into trial planting in Buon Ma Thuot. Before the time when the Governor-General of Indochina issued the Decree establishing the administrative unit of Dak Lak province, on November 22, 1904.
In 1912-1914, coffee and tea trees made their mark in Buon Ma Thuot. During this time, the French government established the two largest agricultural companies in Dak Lak. That is the Indochina Plateau Company (compagnie des hauts plateaux indochinois – chpi); and An Nam Agricultural Company (compagnie agricole d’asie – cada).
These two companies cover up to 30,000 hectares of land, spread over a large basalt land. Along both sides of National Highway 21 from Buon Ma Thuot to km34 on Nha Trang. With a total initial investment capital of 66,000,000 francs, the concentrated coffee growing area is 260 ha (chip: 135 ha, cada: 125 ha).
Although the amount of coffee collected is still minimal, it is brought to the country for processing and consumption. And get unexpected effects Buon Ma Thuot coffee trees grown on good soil, suitable climate. At an altitude of 400-500 meters gave excellent products beyond the expectations of French companies.
Roasters in France at that time appreciated the quality and natural flavor of the typical aromatic Buon Ma Thuot coffee. And physically stronger than ivory coast coffee, which is famous throughout Europe. Therefore, many French capitalists and bankers invested in planting plantations in Buon Ma Thuot.
On February 12, 1925, to continue legalizing land exploitation in the Central Highlands. The Governor-General of Indochina issued a Decree on the economic exploitation regime in the Central Highlands. The focus of this Decree is on the setting of concessions (essentially robbing the land of the natives); for the French capital to invest.
– Immediately after that, 26 more plantations were established in the Buon Ma Thuot area. With a total area expected to exploit up to 200,000 ha; consists of:
+ On National Highway 21, there is a plantation of auger at km47, with an area of 136 ha; Mercurial plantation (Mercurio) km21, area 222 ha; Vererken plantation km42, area 82 ha; Padovani plantation (Padovani) km15, area 160 ha; Plantation Herion (heroin) km35, area 35 ha; plantation Irish (again) km18, area 22 ha; Hagen plantation (Hagen) km16, area 89 ha; Plantation Sante (santé) km23, area 39 ha.
+ In the south of Buon Ma Thuot, there is a 10 ha Morit (more) plantation and Maggio (maillot) plantation, with an area of 20 ha.
+ In the direction of Mewan, there is a plantation of Apera (acpera), an area of 20 hectares; plantation Société Civile de BanMeThuot km7, area 278 ha; later there was the Société Du Domaine De Chu Sue plantation, km9, with an area of 283 hectares; Société agricole d’eatul plantation, km16 with an area of 240 ha.
+ In the direction of going astray, there is a Coroner (coroner) plantation with an area of 73 hectares; Broger plantation with an area of 28 ha; Jodon plantation (Gordon) 36 ha.
+ In the Buon Ho area, there is a plantation of Rene Rossi with 612 ha.
At these plantations, more and more coffee trees have been planted by the French investors; on a larger scale than tea, rubber, fruit trees, and many other crops.
In addition, there is an Ede ethnic (a member of the An Nam Economic Council). Self-exploited 625 hectares of basalt land and successfully planted 125 hectares of coffee. (Diagram of plantations see appendix)
– By 1931, the total area of coffee in Dak Lak (mainly concentrated in the area of Ma Thuot); had reached 2,130 ha (only the cada plantation is 1,000 ha), ranking fourth in the country; in which 51% of the area is for coffee and tea, 33% for coffee, and the rest is for jackfruit coffee.
The planting and care of coffee in the plantations right from these years, bearing the mark of industrial farming and reaching the level of organization and management and intensive farming investment, is relatively high.
In the document “Geography of Dak Lak Province” written in 1930 and published in 1931, French author Mon Fleur described the activities of some plantations as follows:
A Nam Agricultural Company has an 8,000-acre concession. Exploited 1,800 acres, planted 1,000 acres of coffee, 800 acres of green tea. Located at kilometer 24 to kilometer 34 Annam street…
There are large machinery repair workshops, garages, warehouses, director’s houses; plantation owner, chief of staff, all spacious, safe; and have electricity. The accommodation of local workers is also well taken care of, concentrated in two large villages, Ea Knuek and Ea Yong.
Each village has a market, a dispensary, a place to supply water to ensure the health of workers… The plantations have good prospects; the coffee trees are planted and cared for well, 1.4 meters high. The original Indonesian green tea hills planted in January 1921 exceeded 2 meters.
Some of the documents described above show that coffee growing has been very focused by the legal world; and has the potential to become a significant crop in the land of Ma Thuot.
With the right natural conditions, being planted, and taking good care of, the quality of coffee is increasing day by day. Large particle size rich water quality are prevalent in France and some European countries.
In addition to the delicious characteristic natural flavor. During this period, Buon Ma Thuot coffee was also famous for a legendary coffee called “weasel coffee.” Due to the characteristics of ripe coffee, it is almost harvested. So a type of gray weasel known locally as Mija often eats the best coffee berries. Then the nucleus has been absorbed in the body’s substances. People take it back, wash it, dry it, peel it, and roast it, creating an unspoiled coffee that few people enjoy.
However, this period is due to rust disease that thrives on coffee and tea trees. Significantly reduces productivity. So the French plantation owners switched to growing Voi coffee (tea coffee is only about 1% of the area).
High yield, more delicious quality. That’s why Robusta coffee has been selected for decades. It has become the main coffee tree in the land of Buon Ma Thuot; because of its adaptability to natural conditions, its high quality, and economic efficiency.
By 1959 there were 49 coffee plantations in the Buon Ma Thuot area; (including Buon Ho, Phuoc An). With a total area of over 5,200 ha. Of which, chip plantation alone is 576 ha.
In addition to the old plantations managed by overseas French. There have also gradually appeared several coffee plantations exploited and owned by indigenous peoples and Kinh people.
By 1975, the total area of coffee in Dak Lak had increased to 8,600 hectares. For an annual output of over 11,000 tons, most are robusta coffee. In which, famous coffee plantations such as Indochina Plateau Company (chpi); andrei guy-be (andrei guibert); Vina cafe, Société Agricole d’ eatul, Société du domaine de chu sue; Guy-be three-to-li (guibert batolli); aux trois soeurs occupy up to 68% of the area.
Small plantations occupy 18% of the area; 75 individual farms account for 14% of the province’s coffee area. Although not much export, but through tourism. Buon Ma Thuot coffee beans have reached many countries worldwide, and many people admire their quality and delicious taste.
After the liberation of the South, Dak Lak province was soon interested in developing coffee production. On November 12, 1975, the Revolutionary People’s Committee of Dak Lak province issued a decision to expropriate the properties and land of the plantations.
At the same time, it mobilized 75 households to donate 1,196 hectares of coffee. On that basis, coffee farms such as Thang Loi, Ea Ho, 10-3, Duc Lap. The Provincial Agricultural State Company directly managed them. At the same time, a series of state-owned coffee farms under central management was also born in the area, along with the cooperation of several countries in Eastern Europe (former) such as Germany, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union (retired). Came to cooperate to exploit the coffee area with the advantage of its natural characteristics and inherent reputation.
Since 1986, thanks to the economic renewal policy of the Party and State. Dak Lak province advocates investment in new planting and extensive farming.
Since then, it began to form large concentrated coffee-growing areas in Buon Ma Thuot city. And the districts of Krong Pac, Cu M’gar, Ea her, Dak Mil, Krong Ana, Krong Buk, Krong Nang. These specialized farming areas account for 86% of the coffee area and 89% of the province’s coffee production.
With a long tradition and accumulated experience of more than 70 years of coffee farmers here. Buon Ma Thuot coffee has all the elements of sustainability.
And they are increasingly affirming its solid position in the commodity production of Dak Lak province; (The annual value of coffee products accounts for 35% of GDP and 85% of the province’s total export turnover). Robusta coffee products have become the symbol and pride of Dak Lak province in general. Buon Ma Thuot landmarks in particular; in the context of international economic integration.