Yunnan region, always known for its excellent tea, has now become home to another of the world's most popular drinks: coffee. Yunnan produces more than 95% of China's coffee, about 70% of which is for export and, when we speak of Chinese coffee, we mainly mean Yunnan coffee. The number of coffee drinkers in China is growing rapidly every day, especially amongst the younger generation, thus developing a growing popularity for coffee culture. Yunnan is the symbol of the development of Chinese coffee and the position of Chinese coffee internationally.
The origins of Yunnan Coffee
It is said that coffee plants were first introduced in Yunnan province in 1892 by a French missionary who brought seeds into the mountain valleys of Yunnan, more precisely to the village of Zhuku, Binchuan county, prefecture of Dali. The high altitude, mild climate and fertile soil offer an ideal environment for cultivating these challenging crops. Today there are different varieties that can be traced back to these first plants.
The variety of coffee grown in this region is mainly Arabica. These mountain areas, with their unique micro climate, are the perfect place to give birth to a coffee with a fruity fragrance, rich but not bitter, aromatic but not overwhelming.
Nowadays, the main coffee-growing areas within this region are Pu'er, Baoshan and Dehong.
Pu'er 普洱: If you are a tea lover, you will certainly have heard this name at least once, as this tea takes its name from the homonym city. However, in recent years Pu'er is not only the capital of Yunnan tea, but also of Yunnan coffee. Most of the crops are in this area and produce the best quality of coffee beans in all of Yunnan. This place confirms itself to be also an important distribution center.
Baoshan 保山: The main variety of Yunnan coffee is arabica, known locally as Yunnan Xiaoli Coffee, originated in Baoshan from the 1950. These special coffee beans are smaller than others of the same species elsewhere in the world and their flavor is smooth and a little bit sweet, with a medium level of bitterness.
Dehong prefecture 德宏: This area is well-known for its organic coffee plantations.
Where to find good Yunnan coffee in Kunming
In the Spring City we can see several cafes that refer to the modern coffee culture. Among the most frequented we can mention a few (click on the link for more informmation):
- Salvador's Coffee House (萨尔瓦多 咖啡 馆), located in the most frequented street of the foreign community residing in Kunming for over a decade, next to the Green Lake Park
- The French Café (兰 白 红), a French coffee shop near Wenlin Street
- Chicago Coffee (芝城 咖啡), a charming café and roaster
- Slice of Heaven (天堂 角), this place also serves excellent desserts
- Prague Café Coffee Hall (布拉格 咖啡 馆), with a very cozy atmosphere
Interested in learning more about Yunnan Coffee? Come to Yunnan to discover one the most colorful and unique places of China!