CQI collaborates with YCE for new coffee production manual

In the last several years, China has made extraordinary strides in the specialty-coffee realm. The country's coffee-related efforts have been focused on the Yunnan Province, located in the southwest of China, which has the high altitudes and temperate climates needed to produce high-quality coffee. Yunnan produces 98 percent of China’s coffee, and it’s helping the country become a coffee-producing powerhouse: According to a USDA report released in December 2018, China is the ninth-largest arabica coffee producer in the world, with 2 million bags (60kg) produced per year.

One of the key organizations supporting China’s coffee-growing industry is the Yunnan International Coffee Exchange (YCE). Launched in 2015, YCE facilitates the trade of coffee from Yunnan (and elsewhere in Asia), with the goal of building and supporting a sustainable coffee sector in China. YCE identified that taking measures to improve coffee quality was an important element of developing a sustainable coffee sector, and so the organization has been working with us at Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) toward this purpose for more than three years.

Among our collaborations, CQI and YCE have partnered to bring the Q Processing Program to China, which provides trainings and certifications in the valuable art of post-harvest processing. CQI and YCE have also worked together to develop a model farm program demonstrating efficient, high-quality methods of coffee production to Yunnan-area coffee farmers and coffee-producing organizations.

While the model farm program provided valuable hands-on opportunities for producers to learn about coffee production, CQI—along with YCE and the Yunnan government—felt there was an opportunity to enhance this information with a written tool. In November 2017, we started drafting a production and processing manual specifically for the Yunnan region. The goal of the manual is to provide a simple but practical tool to Yunnan growers to produce specialty coffee. After more than a year of work, we’re excited to announce that the manual was recently completed; it will be published in Chinese in 2019 and distributed to growers in the region by YCE and the Yunnan government.

While other coffee-production manuals have been developed for the Yunnan region, part of what sets the CQI-YCE manual apart is that it’s designed to be a 21st century approach to specialty-coffee production, with the latest tools, techniques, and research. To assemble this information, we relied on a team of knowledgeable coffee professionals that included CQI's Mario Fernández, Emma Sage, David Roche, coffee-production expert Dr. Robert V. Osgood, and processing expert Joel Shuler of Little City Coffee Roasters. This practical guidance is presented in an easy-to-digest format, with the manual divided into two main sections: coffee production and post-harvest processing.

As we know from our two decades of work in coffee-producing communities, it’s vital to provide producers with access to information and tools to help them improve their coffee quality. We’re very excited that this tool will soon be made available to Yunnan coffee producers, and we want to offer a special thank you to our partners YCE and the Yunnan government for bringing the manual to life. China’s coffee sector is growing quickly, and this manual is an important tool that will be used to fuel further growth.

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