Mr Li and his family have been growing and processing commercial grade coffee for over 20 years. Their family is well respected in the local community, helping many villagers with education and healthcare, which is hugely valued in this remote area.
Kaku farm is located in Paliang, the largest coffee producing area in Menglian Dai, Lahu and Va Autonomous County, Yunnan. The family run farm and washing station is led by Mr Li, processing coffee grown by surrounding villages of small holders as well as their own land. Alongside coffee, the farm grows a variety of trees such as camphor tree (used as an essential oil), Tianzhugui (used in traditional Chinese medicine), with Huanghuali (a type of rosewood) grown to provide shade.
They have also developed a close relationship with pickers from the Lahu tribe, many of whom come across the border from Myanmar before Spring Festival to work as temporary labourers. Workers at the mill are mainly full-time employees with monthly salaries and bonuses given if the quality of the coffee is high.Mr Li and his family have been growing and processing commercial grade coffee for over 20 years, typically selling to Nestle, Starbucks and Taiwan. The focus on specialty is less than 5 years old, yet the commitment to quality combined with higher than average elevation mean it is producing some excellent washed lots.
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.