Coffee industry sees rapid growth in Pu’er, SW China’s Yunnan

 People’s Daily Online   08:27, June 18, 2024

Southwest China’s Yunnan Province is the largest coffee producing area in the country, accounting for 98 percent of the national total production of coffee.

In Pu’er city, large-scale coffee cultivation has a history of nearly 40 years.

Jin Tao is a local in Paliang village, Mengma township, Menglian Dai, Lahu and Wa Autonomous County, Pu’er city. In the 2023-2024 harvest season, his coffee cooperative harvested over 6,000 tonnes of coffee beans, with an average increase of 40 percent in yield per mu (1 mu equals 677 square meters).

“Yunnan, with its favorable climate and moderate rainfall, is an ideal region for growing coffee,” said Xia Bing, head of an expert team for the modernization of Yunnan’s coffee industry.

A coffee farmer airs coffee cherries in Pu’er, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Nov. 16, 2022. (Xinhua/Jiang Wenyao)

Twenty years ago, Jin started to plant coffee trees on several hundred mu of mountainous land. “During that time, coffee cultivation relied on luck. The production was low, so was the quality. Due to a lack of coffee tree management knowledge, I would cut down trees that didn’t yield fruits,” Jin said.

“Nowadays, we take care of the coffee trees like we take care of our children,” said Jin.

The cooperative has implemented various measures to enhance coffee production and quality. These measures include deep plowing and seeking expert advice to assess the soil components. They have also reduced the number of trees planted on per mu of land, pruned existing trees, and introduced the intercropping of coffee trees with fruit trees. These efforts aim to optimize diffused light and shading, ultimately improving the overall coffee production process.

Following ecological restoration efforts, Jin’s coffee cooperative has observed a decline in the prevalence of diseases and pests, along with improvements in both coffee production and quality.

Menglian currently boasts of 50,000 mu of coffee planting bases that yield high-quality coffee with enhanced productivity.

Menglian county has already introduced over 20 new coffee varieties that are planted on 9,800 mu of land.

Zhao Mei, manager of a tea and coffee estate in Fuyan township, Menglian, was surprised to find that the price of high-quality coffee beans was more than double that of ordinary coffee beans.

After trial and error, Zhao eventually created a coffee product that tastes like wine. “By developing innovative processing techniques, we are able to produce unique and exceptional coffee products,” said Zhao.

In 2023, Pu’er increased its deep processing capacity by 25,000 tonnes, raising the deep processing rate of coffee from 8 percent in 2021 to 33.4 percent.

In recent years, Yunnan has been actively promoting the growth of high-quality coffee plantations, hosting festivals, exhibitions, forums, and other events to establish a platform that connects Chinese coffee with the global market. In the 2023-2024 harvest season, the market price of Yunnan coffee exceeded the purchase price offered by international traders, demonstrating an increasing recognition in the market.

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