County: Menglian Dai, Lahu and Va Autonomous
County Farmer: Yunnan Coffee Traders
Farm / Washing station: Banka
Elevation: 1350 masl
Variety: Catimor (P3 / P4)
Tasting notes: Apple, Yuzu, Demerara Sugar
Ever "pushing the envelope" in the coffee-roasting stationery cupboard, we're off to the Far East again.
China is obviously long-associated with tea production, and although coffee has been grown in the country for many years, it's only really made an impact in the West very recently. We are really impressed by the quality of this Banka Natural. Sourced by our friends who provide the Myanmar and India.
This naturally processed Catimor varietal has a lovely apple flavour with bright citrus fruit tones and notes of demerara sugar.
Banka farm and washing station is based in Menglian Dai, Lahu and Va Autonomous County, Yunnan and is named after the two nearby villages (Banka Yi and Banka Er) where the coffee cherry for this lot is grown and harvested.
Banka farm and washing station was originally developed by Mr. Hu, a native of Yunnan, who has been producing coffee in Menglian for almost 20 years. He was one of the first farmers to engage in large scale coffee production in the county, working in partnership with Nestle and the local government. Mr. Hu is held in high esteem within the local area, employing hundreds of harvesters from various ethnic groups across his farms each year.
In 2018, Yunnan Coffee Traders (YCT) took over the management of the Banka wet mill and a portion of the Banka farm, some 100 hectares of land, installing one of the region’s first optical sorters, experimenting with processing methods such as yeast fermentation and growing new varieties such as Pacamara and Yellow Bourbon. Banka farm produces both the company’s volume washed specialty lots, much of which is sold to Australia, as well as natural and honey processed micro lots.
As a pioneer of the Chinese speciality coffee industry in Menglian County, YCT operates farming, mill, research, and training facilities.
Its mission is three-fold:
• create opportunities for Yunnan farmers to engage in sustainable production practices
• employ industry best-practices for sourcing, processing, wholesale, and exporting coffees
• supply coffee to importers and roasters who care about sustainability, traceability, and transparencyABOUT CHINA AND ITS HISTORY OF COFFEE CULTIVATION
The People’s Republic of China, simply known as China is located in East Asia. It is the world’s most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. China is one of the four earliest civilizations nations in the world with Yellow River and Yangtze River as its base and cradles.
Coffee was first cultivated in China in the late 1800s on a small scale, introduced by French missionaries in Yunnan. Production at scale didn’t take off for nearly 100 years, despite government initiatives back in the 1960s. It was in 1988, as part of another government-led project assisted by the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank, that coffee began to be commercially produced for export through companies such as Nestle. The focus on specialty is relatively recent, with the past decade seeing smaller coffee farms and producers improving their knowledge and skills e.g. processing techniques to produce better quality coffee .
Yunnan province - a mountainous and fertile land in the south west of China is responsible for over 97% of China’s coffee production. Over half of this production is concentrated around Pu’er – a region famous for centuries old tradition of tea. The people of Yunnan have a hugely diverse mix of different cultures and languages, with most of China’s officially recognised 56 different ethnic groups residing here. It’s not just diverse in terms of the variety of its people either, the region also boasts a vast array of flora and fauna (including elephants and tigers), snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, vast plateaus, subtropical jungles, beautiful lakes and majestic rivers (including the mighty Mekong).