Chinese Coffee7 April 2008 in General
Even though China is well known for tea, they are becoming famous in the coffee world as well, both in the retail, and wholesale. Coffee was first brought to China in the late 1800’s. In the 1930’s, there was a coffee influx, when Shanghai was a well known destination but many cafes were run by Westerners at that time. In the 1980’s, however many of the coffee serving businesses were owned or run by Chinese, and now there are several plantations that make green coffee for household and export purposes.
The consumption of coffee in China is somewhat of a luxury and not just a beverage that is prepared at home. The general consumption of the coffee is increasing; however, much of the coffee drunk in China is instant coffee. Instant coffee is popular because it is fairly cheap and not difficult to acquire. Due to the fact that coffee is fairly new to the Chinese, it will take some time for them to appreciate freshly roasted coffee. So coffee has a lot of competition in China because tea is extremely cheap, has been around for many years and is also their national drink.
In 1988, the Chinese government and the United Nations Development Program began a task to make coffee in the Yunnan province. The Yunnan province climatic conditions are similar to that of Indonesia and also parts of South America, therefore the quality from this region should be very high in standard. Although they were problems with quality control, and the “dry leaf” coffee virus, coffee from the premier Simao region is quite good. It is expected to get better as time progresses especially since the government is behind the efforts of Chinese coffee being a success. The Ruili, Baoshan, and Kunming areas are also in production of Arabica coffee beans. Unlike much Vietnamese Robusta coffee, a large quantity of Arabica coffee comes from China. Robusta is grown in China, but mostly on Hainan Island and in the Fujian province which represents approximately twenty percent of the total coffee that is cultivated in the country.
The total number of coffee sales in China increased to ninety percent in1997 to 2003, and continues to increase. In addition, retail coffee prices decreased in China due to the lowering of green coffee prices worldwide. Gradually, an increased interest in coffee came about which caused more investment awareness in local green coffee cultivation, internet cafes and retail coffee shops.
In 2004, Starbucks had a bit more than one hundred locations in China, but now they have approximately four hundred coffee shops open for business, which is proof that the development toward freshly roasted and brewed coffee is expected to continue elevating. Coffee definitely has several productive years ahead in China. The fact that home roasters are enjoying green Chinese coffee also means that China is quite capable of making a great tasting Arabica coffee bean. In a number of years we may very well see Chinese coffee being classified in similar categories such as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, Kona Coffee and maybe even Kopi Luwak.
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