Strawberry Jam | Rose Water | Red Grape
Altitude | 1350 masl
Process | Natural
Variety | Catimor
We've been tasting samples of Chinese coffee for a few years and there have been a few lots that have just missed out on our selection. Maybe we've been reticent in the knowledge that our first Chinese coffee would arouse a lot of interest - something about the confluence of the country's vast global significance and its emerging speciality offering with boundless potential led us to set the bar quite high for our first selection.
The Banka from the Yunnan Province comfortably clears this bar: it is one of our favourite naturals we have tried this year. At the moment, China's speciality cultivation is almost exclusively focused in this province and the farm's owners, Yunnan Coffee Traders, have been exporting since 2013.
There are particular challenges confronted by Yunnan farmers: the processing infrastructure is largely out of date and the region struggles with regular drought. The domestic market is also surprisingly small. China is a nation of tea drinkers with each citizen consuming an average of one cup of coffee a year.
At Banka, named after two adjacent villages, Banka Yi and Banka Er, the cherries are run through an optical colour sorter before two days of fermentation and drying on raised beds. The Catimor grown here, a quick-growing variety, mitigates the cool Chinese nights which slow down cherry production. This variety also protects against coffee leaf rust, a common difficulty for Chinese farmers.