Message From MD
The year was 1996. Phul Kumar Lama was working as a tour operator for a travel agency he started with friends. After completing a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from Shankar Dev Campus, he had recently entered the tourism business – a way for him to travel and to make money simultaneously. It was all well and good for Lama until one day a good client of his said, “Nepal is great; there is so much to experience. But you can’t find decent coffee here.” Lama differed, pointing towards a jar of Nescafe lying nearby. The client replied, “That’s not coffee.”
Coffee wasn’t entirely new to Nepal in 1996. It’s said that a monk named Hira Giri brought coffee from Sindu Province of Myanmar (the then Burma) to Aapchaur village in Gulmi in 1939. Commercial coffee farming was reportedly started in 1976, in the same district, by Pareshwore Kharel, with the then king Birendra Shah’s initiation. However, even till 1996, the only coffee that most Nepalis knew of and had tasted was Nescafe, access to which was also mostly limited to urban areas. There were no “cafes”; instant coffee was served in all hotels and restaurants.
On his next Nepal visit, the same client brought roasted coffee beans for Lama. Lama’s attraction to coffee was instant. He started reading about it, and soon realized that coffee was a way of life for many foreigners. So much so that the second most traded commodity in the world, after petrol, was coffee. But what interested Lama the most was that Nepal’s hills provided ideal conditions for growing coffee. Recalling the moment that changed his life, Lama says, “Coffee seemed like such an obvious answer. There was plenty demand for it and we could produce it. It could be our petroleum.”Although he saw the potential, Lama had to start from scratch. So he went to Japan to learn more about his new found obsession.
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