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China and its history of coffee cultivation

The People’s Republic of 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 vast majority of arabica coffee production is based in Yunnan province, a mountainous and fertile land in the south west of China. Yunnan is a diverse region in every sense, with most of China’s recognised 56 ethnic groups residing here.

Over half of Yunnan’s coffee production is concentrated around Pu’er – a region famous for its centuries old tradition of tea. Other coffee producing regions within Yunnan are Baoshan and Dehong, with robusta coffee grown in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Hainan.

The focus on specialty is relatively recent, with the past decade seeing smaller coffee farms and producers increasing their knowledge and skills to produce higher quality, specialty grade coffee alongside commercial lots.


Yunnan Coffee Traders is a progenitor of the specialty coffee industry in Menglian County, Yunnan Province, where it operates farming, mill, research, and training facilities. 

Ou Yang Coffee is part of Chilliarch Coffee Plantation, based in Jiangcheng County, Pu’er City, Yunnan. Created by Mr David Ou Yang, the farm is committed to embracing diversity and uniting people and resources through coffee for a better world.

Our China Coffees