China’s Coffee Industry: My experience with Yunnan coffee from Urban Dwellers

China; Yunnan; Coffee

In 2004, I traveled to China for the first time. Two weeks in the summer started a love affair with a country that did not always receive the best publicity at that time. However, the first time opened a new world to me. One where I truly entered a new culture, its practices, and way of life. It also opened up the world of China’s tea. However, as a strong coffee drinker, I always wondered where China’s coffee was hiding.

I searched to no avail. As a tea producing nation, it made sense that coffee was also accessible, however, there was nothing to be found. It still might be the case when searching for the local coffee shop. I don’t really know as I haven’t been back to China since 2009. One thing is certain though, China’s coffee is breaking through on the world scene. In 2015, The Guardian produced an article laying out the “booming coffee culture” in China, and other articles dating back to 2012 and 2013 highlight the growing of coffee within Yunnan, one of China’s chief tea producing regions especially known for Pu’er tea.

This past week, I received a package of coffee from Urban Dwellers Coffee. Their goal is to work with local farmers in producing AMAZING coffee! Honestly, my past kept me skeptical about the quality of coffee the that I had received. Excited to brew it up yet hesitant with expectations, I pulled my Aeropress from the cabinet and opened the package.


The aromas were nutty and mild at first, but a second sniff brought fruity, citrusy notes, almost peach like. I knew it was going to be an excellent cup. With water boiled and the Aeropress fully prepped, I began the scientific precision for the perfect cup. What surprised me the most was the real diversity yet balanced flavor of the cup. I was not overwhelmed with citrus, and smoothness of the chocolatey flavors really made this coffee enjoyable. I was quickly reminded about the depth of the Pu’er teas I had enjoyed in China almost a decade ago.

Urban Dwellers found an excellent partner in the Yunnan region, and provided a perfectly roasted coffee. I will definitely be on the lookout for more coffees coming from China. I look forward to the growth of the industry in this country I love. Thank you Urban Dwellers, and a big thanks to their partners, Sina Green, who works directly with the farmers harvesting the coffee crop.

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