From the Field, News

Monday, March 7, 2022

Female Producers Leading the Way in China

In Yunnan, women are driving the specialty coffee sector forward. Female coffee growers in Yunnan are focusing on high-quality production and producing excellent coffees that we’re excited to be able to bring to roasters. This International Women’s Day, we’re exploring the impact women are having on specialty coffee production in Yunnan and the producers behind some of our favorite coffees.

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Investing in Specialty

Sucafina established Sucafina Yunnan in 2020 and has worked tirelessly to establish strong supply chains and partnerships. “We found that 25% of the farms we work with are owned by women. In reality, more of them are managed by women,” says Carl Sara, China & New Zealand Managing Director.

Low prices over the past 5 years have affected coffee growers in Yunnan, and “female coffee growers have shown better perseverance in improving quality to get better prices,” says Jessy Luo, Supply Chain General Manager for Sucafina China.

As such, “about 75% of the female-owned farms we surveyed were among the most successful farms that we looked at in their size category,” she says. Women who are succeeding are seeing high profitability, good quality coffees and good yields. They are also involved in more experimental processing and raising cup scores and are benefitting from the increased income from these processes.

Women to Watch

One coffee to keep an eye out for is our Yirong Yunnan FW. Available in Europe and North America, this coffee is powered by a mother-daughter duo focused on protecting the environment and sharing economic benefits with their community. Jean Luo and her mother produce high-quality specialty coffees in a way that economically empowers people in their community. The farm has spurred several local industries that have become major job creators, enabling employees to make enough money to purchase transportation and build houses for their families.

You should also know about Jinzhi Wang, who lives in PaoZhangShan village. Since Sucafina started buying cherry from her village, she’s actively working with other women in her community to source cherry and deliver it to the wet mill.  “Her quality is always the best,” Jessy says. She is producing excellent quality cherry that we then keep separate at the wet mill. Keep an eye out for her coffees this year.

Another area to watch is the wet and dry mills in Yunnan. Many of these mills are owned and operated by women. “They’re powerful in China,” Carl says. “Women are excelling in the supply chain. There’s a strong culture of having strong female leaders and they’re often very successful.” For the time being, all the coffee we source from Yunnan is dry milled through female-managed dry mills.  All the coffee cherries we purchase in Yunnan are processed at a wet mill run by Victoria Sai, who’s working in close collaboration with Sucafina Yunnan.

Women in Yunnan have an outsized contribution to the coffee supply chain. We’re proud to honor them and their contributions as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022.