Learning About Coffee in China’s Yunnan Province

China hosts the first-ever Pu’er Specialty Coffee Expo, bringing together over 300 producers from China’s Yunnan Province.


Photos courtesy of Strategic Coffee Concepts

When you think of specialty coffee, China might not be a country that comes to mind. However, in the past two decades, coffee production and quality have increased dramatically in the traditionally tea-growing country. China produces more coffee than Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Kenya; it’s mostly grown in the Yunnan Province, located in the southern part of the country and bordering Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. And for the first time, the city of Pu’er is hosting a specialty-coffee expo to bring producers and buyers together to discuss the current and future state of coffee in China.

China is one of the leading producers of coffee you may not know about—China produces more coffee than many leading specialty-coffee producers.

“Basically this forum will be the first truly specialty-coffee-driven event in China and represents a landmark advance in China’s coffee sector as government, private, and commercial organizations come together to spotlight China’s coffee production,” shares Tom Mitchell, president of Strategic Coffee Concepts, which is helping to put on the event. “The event is designed around providing direct education and interaction with coffee producers and the global coffee community. It also includes a roaster/café track for the emerging Chinese specialty-coffee roaster and café segment. It is both a celebration of China’s emergence on the global marketplace and an opportunity for the China coffee sector to hear from global experts.”

The Pu’er Specialty Coffee Expo will bring together producers, buyers, and roasters to talk about the current and future state of coffee in China.

China, which will host the 2017 World Roasting Championship later this month, has expanded its coffee production exponentially over the last two decades. Farms primarily grow the rust-resistant hybrid Catimor, and most coffee is washed, with a growing interest in honey and naturally processed coffees. The coffees are said to taste much like Brazilian or Honduran coffees (two countries that also produce excellent Catimor varietals), and are described as “mild” tasting. Producers in China have worked closely with research organizations such as the Coffee Quality Institute, and this conference, which will span three days, will highlight the work being done in the country.

China’s coffee production has increased drastically over the last two decades, and the expo will highlight issues facing coffee growing in China in the years to come.

Over the three days, attendees will learn about global coffee trends, cup coffees, and present information and workshops relevant to both producers and buyers. Speakers from China and all over the world will be brought in, and the conference will give space for attendees to explore the current and future state of coffee in China. Right now, Germany and other countries around Europe are the leading buyers of coffee grown in China, but the specialty markets of the United States are not far behind. The conference aims to bring attention to the work being done in China and recognize the country as a leading specialty-coffee producer.

The Pu’er Specialty Coffee Expo takes place January 29-31, 2018. You can register for the event, and view a list of confirmed speakers, here.

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Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.