The first annual Pu’er Specialty Coffee Expo took place Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 in Pu’er City, in the Yunnan District of Eastern China. With a population of 2.6 million people, and surrounded by 300,000 coffee farmers with an annual production of 58,600 tons of coffee, Pu’er City is widely considered the coffee capital of China.
The Expo was hosted by the Yunnan Coffee Exchange in partnership with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). “The Expo is highlighting Yunnan Coffee, and the work being done here at the Expo will shape China into a world player in specialty coffee,” said David Roche, executive director of CQI.
The Expo is part of a multiyear plan to increase awareness, consumption and production of specialty coffee in China. With the rapid growth of domestic coffee consumption — approaching a growth rate of 20 percent annually — it could quickly become one of the largest coffee-consuming countries.
The Expo brought together more than 1,000 participants from around the globe. It featured education seminars, with both a roasting track and a producer track; an exhibition hall displaying goods ranging from coffee equipment to green coffee; the Pu’er World Cup Siphon Championships, with 80 competitors; coffee farm tours; and the first Sustainable Coffee Institute Team Roasting Competition.
Ted Lingle, a senior advisor to the Yunnan Coffee Exchange who has been working in the region for more than five years, is optimistic about the future of Yunnan coffee.
“When we look back at what we accomplished in Yunnan with great pride,” he said, “we will see what we’ve done here will exceed the expectation of everyone, including me.”
Connie Blumhardt is the founder and publisher of Roast Magazine. She is based in Portland, Oregon.