Coffee Facts

All the tea err COFFEE in China!

by BO LI on Feb 16, 2023

All the tea err COFFEE in China!
Chinese Coffee Beans

 All the tea err COFFEE in China!

        Yes, you read that correctly. Coffee beans. In China! No, we aren’t mixing up our caffeinated beverages with this one! China is a considerable newcomer to the coffee-growing scene, but an earnest one for sure. China’s diverse land offers some choice areas for growing high-quality coffee plants for sure. Take, for example, Yunnan province. Famous for another caffeine treat- pu’erh tea, Yunnan is home to most of China’s coffee activity. Let’s discover more about this unique and splendid land of not just tea leaves but also coffee beans.

 The history of coffee in China

        The first coffee plants were introduced by French missionaries to the Yunnan province. Interestingly, French missionaries also introduced coffee plants to other areas of Southeast Asia including neighboring Vietnam. Despite the plants being introduced in the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1988 that coffee production would begin in earnest in China. 

        Coffee production was stimulated by companies like Nestle and others investing in its development. The domestic market has also seen an increase as white-collar workers and others in China are turning to coffee as their drink of choice. Hence the spur in coffee production alongside consumption in China over the past 20 years or so. As China sees a boom in tech hubs and the growth of the middle-class and big businesses, so too is it seeing a rise in the demand for coffee.

        But why Yunnan province? Let’s discover a little more about Yunnan to understand why Yunnan province and even some of the surrounding regions like Fujian and Hainan. As it so happens, tea plants and coffee plants, at least arabica coffee plants, need the same variables to thrive as best they can. 

        Both plants need high elevations, a tropical or semi-tropical climate, wet, rainy weather with plenty of cloud coverage, porous soil to let all that rainwater drain without drowning the plants, and biodiversity to help nurture and nourish the plants, too. 

        Yunnan has all of this which is why it is a keen region for tea and now increasingly, coffee. Yunnan’s growing regions include Baoshan, Menglian, Dehong, and of course the famous Pu’er. Who would have guessed Pu’er tea would share the spotlight with coffee? Interestingly, the robusta in China mainly comes from Fujian and Hainan while arabica makes its home in Yunnan province. The arabica in Yunnan is also grown alongside an interesting hybrid of caturra coffee with Timor coffee beans to make catimor which is resistant to leaf rust and a cool and interesting varietal for sure. 

 But what about the taste?

        The most important question of them all. Certainly, Yunnan’s exceptional geography would help to create stunning coffee beans. Yunnan beans do not disappoint. Just as pu’erh tea is known for its complex flavor palette, so too are these beans. Generally speaking, Yunnan beans are reputed to be sweet and possess some interesting and complex levels of acidity. These are certainly beans to try out and would be great in a cold brew or an espresso.

 For all the coffee beans in China

        With regions perfectly suited to cultivating coffee plants and a steadily growing market, China is poised to start producing coffee beans that may end up in a cafe or coffeehouse near you! Don’t take the slow boat to China to try these beans, if you are lucky enough to spot Yunnan beans, give them a brewing!

 Works Cited

  • “Coffee from China’s Tea-Growing Capital Prized for Its “Amazing Quality.”” South China Morning Post, 23 July 2022, Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.
  • Roaster, Horsham Coffee. “China Coffee.” Horsham Coffee Roaster, Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.
  • Wikipedia Contributors. “Coffee Production in China.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Feb. 2019,



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