About China and its history of coffee cultivation
The People’s Republic of China, simply known as China (Chinese:中国, pinyin: zhōng guó) is located in East Asia. It is the world’s most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. China is one of the four earliest civilizations nations in the world with Yellow River and Yangtze River as its base and cradles.
Coffee was first cultivated in China in the late 1800s on a small scale, introduced by French missionaries in Yunnan. Production at scale didn’t take off for nearly 100 years, despite government initiatives back in the 1960s. It was in 1988, as part of another government-led project assisted by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, that coffee began to be commercially produced for export through companies such as Nestle. The focus on specialty is relatively recent, with the past decade seeing smaller coffee farms and producers improving their knowledge and skills e.g. processing techniques to produce better quality coffee.
Yunnan province – a mountainous and fertile land in the south west of China, is responsible for over 97% of China’s coffee production. Over half of this production is concentrated around Pu’er – a region famous for its centuries old tradition of tea. The people of Yunnan are a hugely diverse mix of different cultures and languages, with most of China’s officially recognised 56 different ethnic groups residing here. It’s not just diverse in terms of the variety of its people either, the region also boasts a vast array of flora and fauna (including elephants and tigers), snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, vast plateaus, subtropical jungles, beautiful lakes and majestic rivers (including the mighty Mekong).