Coffee Origin Spotlight: China

Coffee Production Size

116,820 tonnes

Coffee Production Global Ranking


Key Regions


Harvest Period

December to February

Most Common Cultivars

P3, P4

Most Common Processing

Washed & Natural


China is among the world’s most ancient nations, dating back to the Shang dynasty in 1600 BCE. Its modern history begins with the transformation of the country in 1949 from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China under the Chinese Communist Party. This transformation and the ensuing decades of struggle and development led to the modern era of a mixed socalist market economy. This, in turn, has led it to become one of the world’s youngest but fastest growing coffee origins.

History of Coffee in China

Coffee was introduced to China through French missionaries who travelled to the Yunnan province in the late 1800s. Coffee production was extremely limited and only stayed present by being sold in small local markets. It wasn’t until 1988 when the government of China, working with the UN Development Programme and the World Bank, started a project to help develop coffee production on a wider scale.

The first real production occurred in 1994 with a small group of producers. Since then, more and more producers have been given seeds and learned how to cultivate and process coffee. In 2009 China began experiencing massive increases in production and since then each year has seen double digit growth. The mid-2010s saw the first exports of quality lots which could even be compared to the best coffee coming from Central and South America.

Kiss the Hippo & China

Last year was our first time showcasing the incredible work of Chinese producers and we were incredibly excited to do it again. The global Covid crisis slowed the harvest down almost to a standstill, but after months of delays we have finally received our lot.

What has always attracted us to coffee from China is being able to experience so intensely a nation learning how to produce and develop quality coffee. This year we’ve been blown away by the gains in processing, including fermentations that create an incredible cup. We look forward to witnessing this development further, and envisage Chinese coffee becoming a mainstay of our menu.


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