Cai Qingkai, who owns a coffee plantation in Yunnan province in Southwest China, found he had no workers for the upcoming harvest season early this year.
The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year had caused lockdowns at many villages in the province. As a result, migrant workers were unable to travel for coffee harvesting.
But the ripe coffee cherries couldn't wait.
Cai, who became a coffee grower 14 years ago, decided to work with his wife and two sons.
"We handpicked over 10 metric tons of coffee cherries day and night, as much as we could," he recalled.
In September, coffee beans from Cai's farm were selected to make reserved coffee for Starbucks' high-end stores in China. The packaged roasted beans are named after him as Qingkai Farm coffee beans, for the second year.
Meanwhile, coffee beans from farms of Pan Qizuo, a third-generation coffee grower in Yunnan province, were selected as reserved coffee beans. These two farms, and others in the province, have been supported by Starbucks Yunnan Farmer Support Center in Pu'er, Yunnan province. The center is the first such established in the Asia-Pacific in 2012, offering training and technology knowhow to local coffee growers.