For the past four years, Fresno-based Lanna Coffee Co. has been serving up a caffeine fix with a purpose — to support economic stability in the villages on northern Thailand where its beans are grown. But with a move to a 1940s warehouse space at 617 Broadway, on a block known mostly for its automotive shops, Lanna is contributing to development a little closer to home — the revitalization of downtown Fresno.
The location may have changed, but Lanna’s mission remains the same: to support farmers. By paying a fair price for their beans, Lanna allows farmers to raise themselves out of poverty. While 25 percent of Lanna’s profits go to ensuring people living in villages where the coffee is grown have access to clean water, healthcare and education.
The mission is also to make great coffee. In a year, Lanna turns roughly 40,000 pounds of green beans into 4 roasts — from light to dark, and even, gasp!, decaf — at the Fresno space and also a facility in San Diego. Lanna’s CEO Bryan Feil says the company hopes to double its annual production soon.
On March 5, Lanna will show off its new downtown space to the public during an open house and tasting event. If you can’t make the event, you can pick up bags of Lanna coffee at Fresno Ag Hardware, Enzo’s Table, Root on the Fulton Mall, and other locations around the Valley. Or try it by the cup at Mia Cuppa Cafe in the Tower District.
Here, Feil talks about Lanna’s history, witnessing first-hand the impact Lanna’s operations in Thailand, and if the company will ever open up its own coffee shop.