All Aboard the Coffee Plantation Express

Pu’er, located in Southwest China’s Yunnan province, is renowned for its fermented dark tea and has been a tea distribution and trade center since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Today, Pu’er is China’s largest coffee growing area, with the highest output and best quality. The region lies at the juncture of tropical and subtropical zones, making it a unique place where both coffee and tea cultivation thrive.

The rise of coffee in Pu’er began in 1892 when a French missionary planted the first coffee seed in a village there. By last year, Pu’er had 250,000 coffee farmers and 45,000 hectares of coffee plantations, generating income of 6.3 billion yuan ($945 million) and serving as a supplier to Nestle and Starbucks. Coffee is a unique agricultural product, grown in rural areas, attracting many visitors due to geographical disparity of production and consumption.

Coffee plantation tourists, from the young to the old, are eager to immerse themselves in the entire coffee cultivation process, from beans to brew. Pu’er stands as a top destination for travelers, with its accessibility being a key factor. The inauguration of the China-Laos Railway in December 2021 has made traveling to Pu’er easier, connecting it to Kunming and the capital of Laos, Vientiane.

Previously, reaching Pu’er required an arduous journey, with visitors traveling from Kunming to Pu’er and then a six-hour bus ride to Pu’er. The China-Laos Railway cuts travel time from Kunming to Pu’er to just over two hours.

In ancient times, horse bells resounded throughout the rugged terrain as the prized Pu’er tea embarked on the long trip along the Tea Horse Road. Today, the shrill whistle of high-speed trains announces the arrival of global coffee merchants and tourists, who travel to the burgeoning coffee havens using the China-Laos Railway.

Read More @ China Daily

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