Exploring Chinese Specialty Coffee: Yunnan highlights

China has a developing coffee culture both in terms of its coffee shop industry, but also its coffee farming. Back in 2016 Perfect Daily Grind reported how China was increasing its coffee production (particularly in the Yunnan, Fujian, and Hainan Island), with much of the specialty coffee being producted in Yunnan province. It highlighted how: “The extremely mountainous Pu’er Province – known globally for its fermented teas – is quickly blooming into the coffee-producing capital of China.” An additional article from Perfect Daily Grind in 2016 focused on the efforts of the 2014 China Barista champion Jeremy Zhang to champion specialty coffee in China.

More recently Time Magazine examined how growing coffee is becoming more popular in regions of China historically associated with growing tea. The article highlighted that: “the temperate climate of Pu’er is also perfect for growing arabica coffee. Yunnan accounts for 95% of China’s coffee harvest, with half coming from the mist-shrouded landscape around Pu’er. As China’s fast-living millennials move away from traditional tea in favor of the invigorating jolt of coffee, Pu’er’s farmers are catering to the demand. Today, China is the 13th biggest coffee producer in the world — rising from zero output three decades ago to 110,000 tons annually today.”

The growth of coffee culture in China has been an interest of mine for some time and recently I have had an article published along with my co-author Dr Carlos Ferreira, in the journal Business Horizons, which charts the different stages of coffee culture in China. It also  considers key developments in the coffee and coffee shop industry in the Chinese market (and its future).

To celebrate this being published I really wanted to try some Chinese specialty coffee, so I turned to my Twitter network to see if anyone knew of any UK based coffee roasters who had some. Brian Williams (author of the book ‘The Philosophy of Coffee‘) put me in touch with Dave Jameson, who very kindly arranged for me to be sent some of the Grumpy Mule Yunnan Fuyan Co-operative coffee. With a bit of searching I also managed to find some through Cricklewood Coffee roasters. We’ve been enjoying tasting these and sharing with colleagues and friends.

We will continue to follow developments in the coffee and coffee shops industries in China with great interest, and look forward to hopefully trying some more Chinese specialty coffee in the future.

This entry was posted in Cafe Culture, China, Coffee, coffee culture, Coffee Growing, Coffee industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Exploring Chinese Specialty Coffee: Yunnan highlights

  1. The Chinese speciality coffee scene is still in its early stages and growing rapidly. I first discovered it when I went to Shanghai in 2016. I didn’t even know there was Arabica coffee grown in China until I saw it in the first coffee shop I went into. Since then I’ve sought it out on my two visits to China and even found a couple of coffee shops that only serve Chinese-grown coffee.

    The quality is improving all the time, although I suspect, like Vietnam and Thailand, the vast majority of the coffee will be destined for growing home market.



  2. Thanks for the comment. Do you remember what the coffee shops were called that only sold Chinese-grown coffee. If it is likely to be destined for the home grown market – seems like a good excuse for a trip to China.


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