Nestled in the southeastern region of China lies the province of Fujian (pronounced "Foo-gee-ahn"), an area known for its rich history and unique, specialty coffee. Located along the coast of the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, the province's diverse landscape includes mountains, hills, and plains, with an average altitude of around 1,200 meters. One fascinating fact about Fujian is that it is one of the few regions in China where coffee cultivation has steadily grown over the years.
The history of coffee cultivation in Fujian can be traced back to the late 19th century when a French missionary introduced Arabica coffee seeds to the region. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that coffee production in Fujian began to gain momentum, as the government encouraged farmers to diversify their crops and explore new income streams. Over the past few decades, Fujian has developed a reputation for producing high-quality, specialty coffees that are slowly gaining recognition in the global coffee market.
While specific farming and processing methods may vary among coffee producers in Fujian, there are some general practices that are commonly observed in the region. Most of the coffee grown in Fujian is of the Arabica variety, which thrives in the province's high-altitude, subtropical climate.
Coffee farmers in Fujian typically cultivate their crops on small plots of land, often intercropping coffee with other plants such as tea, fruit trees, or vegetables. This approach not only helps to maximize land usage and crop yields but also promotes biodiversity and ecological balance in the farming environment.
In terms of processing, the most common method in Fujian is the wet or washed process. This involves removing the coffee cherry's pulp and skin using a pulping machine, followed by fermentation to break down the remaining mucilage. The coffee beans are then washed and spread out to dry, either on raised beds or patios, until they reach the desired moisture content. This method tends to result in a cleaner and brighter cup profile compared to other processing techniques.
Coffees from the Fujian region are often characterized by their unique and complex flavor profiles. Due to the region's diverse climate and terroir, Fujian coffees can exhibit a wide range of tasting notes that may include floral, fruity, and sweet undertones.
Some common flavors that can be found in Fujian coffees include jasmine, honeysuckle, peach, apricot, and honey, resulting in a delicate and aromatic cup. These coffees often have a medium to light body, with a bright and balanced acidity that adds to their overall complexity and appeal.
Fujian coffees are truly a hidden gem in the world of specialty coffee, offering a distinctive and memorable tasting experience for those who have the opportunity to savor them. As the region continues to grow and develop its coffee industry, it's exciting to see what the future holds for Fujian and the unique coffees it produces.