China's Yunnan brews pour-over coffee using novel technologies

(Xinhua) 13:45, January 11, 2024

KUNMING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- An AI-powered robot was showing off its coffee brewing skills, while intelligent roasters were roasting various flavors of coffee beans and waterless husking machinery automatically separating green and red coffee fruits, at a recent coffee expo held in China's Yunnan.

More than 200 technology companies from across the globe were represented at the three-day China (Pu'er) International Coffee Expo which opened on Jan. 5 in Pu'er, southwest China's Yunnan Province. These companies showcased their new coffee products and production equipment.

Among them, the 5G cloud intelligent robot designed by China Mobile served freshly brewed coffee to visitors -- an idea novel enough to hog the limelight.

The robot adopts 5G Internet of Things for its data transmission and can automatically complete the coffee production process from bean extraction, grinding, brewing, and cleaning. Within minutes, the futuristic barista finished making a cup of fragrant coffee.

With the help of AI technologies, the robot has commanded the necessary brewing techniques from the Coffee Masters champions. It now can perfectly reproduce the coffee made by the masters. "Every cup of coffee made by this robot can be of the same quality," said a staff member of China Mobile at the expo.

As one of China's major coffee production areas, in 2022 alone, Yunnan had a total coffee cultivation area of about 1.27 million mu (about 84,600 hectares) and its annual output of raw coffee beans exceeded 114,000 tonnes, making a comprehensive output value of more than 41.8 billion yuan (about 5.88 billion U.S. dollars).

Yunnan is now tapping into novel science and technology breakthroughs to turbocharge the development of its rising coffee industry. The introduction of advanced coffee production and processing machinery has helped greatly in improving the local coffee quality.

Li Yulei, sales director of a local coffee production machinery and equipment company in Pu'er, brought a waterless coffee bean husking machine, independently designed by his company to this year's expo.

With the latest technologies, the equipment can separate red coffee fruit from the green automatically, which helps improve efficiency in producing more high-quality coffee beans.

In a coffee manor in Pu'er, Liao Xiugui, who has more than 20 years experience of planting coffee, has recently begun to lead local farmers to develop high-quality coffee with the aim of transforming their approach from merely "growing coffee" to "growing good coffee."

In addition to promoting ecological planting, Liao also purchased a large number of advanced roasting and processing equipment. The coffee fruits grown in the manor are turned into high-quality coffee beans in the workshop thanks to the new machinery.

"We have seen the progress of Chinese coffee, especially Yunnan coffee, and hope to make more exchanges in the future," said a Mexican coffee exhibitor after tasting the coffee made by the AI-powered robot barista.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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