Puer Coffee Planting and Production

Significance of Pu’er Coffee

 Yunnan coffee is the “golden belt” of the world’s finest coffee beans. Almost half of Yunnan’s total coffee production comes from Pu’er. After more than 20 years of painstaking development, Pu’er has been called the “coffee capital” of China. China may be the only country in the world that both consumes and grows coffee. And Pu’er coffee is a real Chinese taste.

Yunnan’s geographical location is within the scope of the world’s “gold planting belt” for coffee, and its natural conditions are very suitable for coffee cultivation. Yunnan coffee growing area is located in the subtropical plateau region, which is the “golden belt” of the world’s first-class coffee beans. The fertile terraces with an altitude of 800 to 1300 meters between 22 degrees north and south latitudes and the red soil conditions with a pH of 5 to 6.5 provide a unique growing environment for arabica coffee beans.

The arabica coffee grains produced here are well-balanced, mellow, and highly aromatic. They are famous at home and abroad for being strong but not bitter, fragrant and not strong, strong and mellow and with a natural fruity flavor. In 1993, at the 42nd Brussels Eureka Expo, Yunnan Arabica Coffee stood out from tens of thousands of coffees selected from more than 100 countries and regions around the world and won the Eurek.

Pu’er Coffee Planting and Production

The Beginning of Coffee Planting and Production

Yunnan is the first place in China where coffee was planted, with a history of more than 100 years. Around 1900, tian deneng, a French missionary, came to Zhukula, a village of the yi people in Binchuan(宾川), near Dali(大理), Yunnan province(云南省).

It is said that the ancestor of this coffee seedling can be traced back to the coffee seedling that the Dutch coffee merchant gave to the French King Louis XIV in 1715. This coffee seedling planted by French missionaries more than 100 years ago to meet the needs of daily drinking has become the origin of coffee planting in Yunnan.

In the 1940s, Liang Jinshan, a patriotic overseas Chinese, successfully introduced coffee from Myanmar to his hometown of Baoshan(保山), Yunnan(云南). In the 1950s, with the support of Liang Jinshan, the scientific and technical personnel of the institute of tropical and subtropical cash crops of Yunnan academy of agricultural sciences improved and cultivated high-yielding arabica coffee in Baoshan(保山), Yunnan(云南), which contributed to the first upsurge of coffee cultivation in yunnan.

During this period, most of Yunnan coffee was exported to the Soviet Union, and the coffee varieties were mainly Bourbon and Tepica coffees of Arabica coffee. Later, Sino-Soviet relations broke down, and the tide of large-scale coffee planting in Yunnan also ended. Those coffee gardens that once reached several thousand hectares were shelved or replanted with other crops, and only a few coffee plants were still swaying along the roadsides and farm yards of the Yunnan-Burma Highway.

The Second Boom of Coffee Planting and Production in Yunnan 

After nearly 30 years of silence, Yunnan has ushered in the second boom in coffee planting, which started with Nestle’s development of Yunnan’s coffee project. In the late 1980s, Nestlé began supporting the development of the coffee industry in Yunnan, developing coffee projects in Simao (that is, Pu’er普洱) and Jinghong (that is, Xishuangbanna西双版纳).

At that time, the annual output of Yunnan coffee beans was about 500 tons, and Pu’er City had not yet started to grow coffee. After 10 years of development, with the technical support of Nestlé in the late 1990s, coffee production in Yunnan increased by almost three times compared to the 1980s.

Coffee Planting and Production Today

Later, Nestlé China moved its focus to Pu’er and established a coffee procurement station to provide strong technical and market support for the local coffee plantation industry. Pu’er coffee has truly embarked on the road to industrialization. Currently, nearly half of the total coffee production in Yunnan comes from Pu’er. After more than 20 years of concentrated development, Pu’er has become China’s “coffee capital”.

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Edited by Ziwei Chen/陈紫薇