Travel log - Yunnan Part 3

September 4, 2017

<<Read Part 1 of my Yunnan Travel Log here<<

<<Read Part 2 of my Yunnan Travel Log here<<

 

Back to Lijiang

 

We set off right before nightfall and drove back to Li Jiang. 

 

What a heck of a ride the journey back was!

It was raining and rocks have fallen off the cliffs. Some of the roads were blocked by huge boulders half the size of our car and we have to detour into smaller and more slippery paths.

There were potholes everywhere! I scraped the bottom of the car on a rock and Maggie's dad have to take over the wheel because he is more familiar with such terrains.

Somehow, we managed to make it back 1.5 hours earlier than predicted. We drove much faster partly out of fear of more falling rocks coupled with his insane desire to overtake every vehicle before him. 

 

The mountains gave off an ominous feeling at night with the falling rocks and watery roads.

 

Our road is constantly invaded by wild mountain goats.

 

Back to Li Jiang Old Town 

 

It's good to be back on safer grounds. We spent our last day here exploring different inns and buying goodies for family and friends. 

 

The town is packed with people during the weekend

 

The local delicacies are really delicious.

 

There are some that I still do not have the guts to try. The insects look tastier than the ones in Bangkok though.

 

Maybe next time.

印象庄园

Address: Qiyi Street Bayi Upper Section, Yunnan Lijiang

 

Finally. This is probably the most artisan joint I have chanced upon in Yunnan. Located in the main Old City, this little joint is hidden snugly in between rows of other equally small inns and shops. You might have a little trouble finding it, but if you do, it will be totally worth it.

 

Why so?

 

 They serve 90+ Nekisse, Jamaica Blue Mountain and Panama Geisha!

 

At SGD $30 a pop, it is certainly not cheap. However, the price justifies because import of foreign goods are heavily taxed in China. Furthermore, those beans really do fetch a high market rate internationally due to their high demand and small quantities.  

 

As much as I loved to have a cup of Geisha, it is a little too expensive for my pockets. Furthermore, I am here to try Yunnan's specialty coffee.

 

 They roast beans in small batches to maintain freshness. 

 

 A very extensive range of coffee beans. All of them are of quality origins (with a heavy price tag).

The shop is manned by 1 person and he commented that large portion of their sales come from the sale of roasted beans. 

 

You can find coffee from almost all major origins here. 

 

Our barista is highly professional in his craft. He hardly used any scale when conducting our brew. His pour is all based on experience and sensory. 

 

I was in awe and doubt when he did my pour this way. That was because I am afraid that he will ruin my cup without proper control.

 

Turns out, this was probably one of the best Yunnan single origins I have tried.

 

This is the 3rd time I am drinking Yunnan's single origin coffee and I it reaffirmed my conclusion. 

 

Yunnan origin coffee is average at best. The brew is dark and intense but it utterly lacks complexity. 

 

I ask my barista on his opinion on it and he agrees with me as well. Most of the sale of Yunnan's coffee are targeted at tourist who do not understand coffee. Or large corporations who used these cheap commercial beans for mass production. 

 

They roasted it into a darker profile to musk the less popular aromas. 

 

After that cup, I have decided that I will put Yunnan's coffee on hold for several years before coming back to it again. I really need to wash my pallet and ordered a cup of Nekisse, which was absolutely beautiful.

 

This marks the end of my coffee tour in Yunnan. I have yet to visit any of the farms and I hope that I will have an opportunity next time.


Before I end, here are some of the products to avoid when purchasing coffee in Yunnan. These cute canisters and beautiful packaging are tourist traps. They are massed produced and doesn't taste good at all.  

 

However, at a price tag of SGD $1 per bottle, they may be great gifts for your not-so-close friends or colleagues heh. 

 

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