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Mmm! A wonderful coffee aroma from a small Yunnan village

A GREAT CUP OF coffee is a simple pleasure for millions of people today. In China’s Yunnan province, a small village has produced delicate scents of coffee beans which are widely sold in the country and exported to overseas markets. 

Xinzhai village (新寨村) located on the Gaoligong Mountain (高黎貢山) in Yunnan’s Baoshan city (保山市) has become one of the most famous coffee bean-growing areas in China over the past several decades.

Xinzhai village is renowned for growing high-quality coffee beans. Image: Public domain

The village has been renowned for growing premium Arabica coffee beans (小果咖啡豆) which originate from African nation Ethiopia, one of the most-loved varietals of coffee in the world.

With an altitude of over 1,000 metres on the Gaoligong Mountain, a warm and mild climate, as well as acid soil, farmers in Xinzhai have been planting coffee bushes, and harvesting, washing and sun-drying the beans to produce fragrant Arabica coffee.

Charriot Zhai/Unsplash.

With less caffeine, Arabica coffee beans have smoother and sweeter taste with a slightly fruity flavour.  

Currently, coffee bean cultivation accounts for about 800 hectares or 95% of the total arable land sites in Xinzhai village – where over 1,000 farmers have planted coffee beans as a crop to sell.


The plantation of coffee beans in Xinzhai village can be dated back to early 1950s when wealthy Chinese businessman Liang Jinshan (梁金山) supported farmers in his hometown in Baoshan city to grow coffee plants.

Photo of late Chinese businessman Liang Jinshan.

In his early twenties, Liang left Baoshan city for Myanmar to work in a silver production factory in 1900s. Liang later became a successful businessman after operating his own silver factory plants in Myanmar.

As Liang loved coffee, he thought that villages in Baoshan city would be good places for growing coffee beans as they have similar altitudes, soil acidity and climate conditions to those coffee bean-growing farms in Myanmar.

In 1930s, he made investments in Xinzhai and other villages in Baoshan city to encourage farmers to cultivate coffee beans.

Most land sites in Xinzhai village have been used for growing coffee beans.

Also, authorities in Boashan city had also worked with Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science’s agricultural experts to share their knowledge with local farmers to plant Arabica coffee beans.

With a citrus fragrance, brewed coffee from Xinzhai village has a rich coffee essences and a fruity taste. Coffee lovers can revel in a satisfying aftertaste without bitterness of other types of bean.

Xinzhai coffee beans.

Since the 1980s, Xinzhai’s coffee bean’s gourmet taste has been widely-acclaimed in China. The quality of coffee beans was recognised by Italian coffee grinder manufacturer Eureka with a gold award at the annual World Coffee Conference held in Brussels in 1993.

Later, Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle invested in China and opened a coffee center in Yunnan, offering training to farmers, crop scientists and industry professionals in the province on growing and brewing coffee beans.

In late 1990s, global coffee brands such as Starbucks started to tap into China’s vast market to open cafes. They have purchased a staggering amount of coffee beans grown in Xinzhai and other villages in Boashan city.  

Luckin Coffee have purchased coffee beans from Xinzhai village.

Today, China’s home-grown coffee brands such as Luckin Coffee (瑞幸咖啡) and Cotti Coffee (庫迪咖啡) have purchased coffee beans from Xinzhai village. 


To boost coffee beans’ production, Xinzhai village’s authorities have worked with telecom operator China Mobile and tech giant Huawei to install digital infrastructure in the village in early 2010s.

Digital infrastructure has been established in numerous villages in China.

The infrastructure has greatly helped farmers to modernize their coffee bean-planting and processing practices. Officials in the village have worked with local farmers to monitor sunshine timing, temperature and soil acidity in the village, guaranteeing the top-notch quality and good harvest of coffee beans.  

Having been sold for coffee brands for domestic consumption, the Arabica coffee beans have also been exported to overseas countries including the US and some European countries.


To encourage more coffee lovers to taste Arabica coffee from Xinzhai village, a coffee manor has been established for tourists to visit and taste coffee.

Coffee manor in Xinzhai village.

Several years ago, Chinese businessman Xie Xianwen (謝顯文), who grew up in a humble family in in Baoshan city, established a coffee business enterprise in the village and purchased coffee beans from local farmers.

As Xie loved coffee, he travelled across various cities in the country to learn how to brew tasty versions of the drink. He strived to promote the coffee beans planted in Xinzhai as a top-rated coffee brand in the country.

Businessman Xie Xianwen has travelled across various Chinese cities to learn how to brew tasty coffee.

As such, he has invested about 10 million yuan to invite architects to renovate a complex of grey buildings in Xinzhai into the multifunctional coffee manor with courtyards – where the coffee beans are processed and sold to visitors.

Baristas works in coffee manor in Xinzhai.

Xie has also groomed a lot of baristas to work in the manor. Coffee lovers and visitors can join classes to learn how to grow and pluck coffee beans, brew coffee, taste diverse kinds of coffee and purchase a wide array of coffee accessories such as milk jug and latte arts pens. The manor has successfully attracted more than 110,000 visitors last year.  

Xinzhai village’s farmers have prided themselves for growing top-notch coffee beans in the past several decades. Nowadays, the village is not only a place for growing coffee beans, but also a hotspot for visitors to smell the pleasant aroma of coffee beans and taste a cup of premium coffee in an extraordinarily scenic beauty of mountainous landscapes.

Image at the top by Mike Kenneally/Unsplash.

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