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Coffee Craze in China
Cover Stories Series 2013> Coffee Craze in China
UPDATED: April 8, 2013 NO. 15 APRIL 11, 2013
Coffee, From the Land of Tea

For centuries, coffee has been an essential beverage in the lives of Westerners. As foreign companies, including Starbucks, Costa, Nestle and Maxwell, tumble over each other to raise their stakes in China, the predominantly tea-drinking nation is coming to grips with the brew.

In big Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the image of an office worker using a laptop with a cup of coffee in hand has reached iconic status. As coffee machines invade both households and offices, Chinese can now enjoy countless fresh pots without stepping outdoors.

In sharp contrast to the per-capita consumption of 600 cups of coffee in Europe and 200 in Japan each year, a Chinese only drinks four cups a year on average.

China's coffee consumption market is currently expanding at an annual rate of 10 to 15 percent, alongside a rapidly developing plantation business. Interestingly, the major producing area of high-quality Pu'er tea, famous for its medicinal functions, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, has become the country's primary coffee growing region, increasing the incomes of local farmers and farm hands.

Global coffee conglomerates have raced to Yunnan as their raw material base. The area's Arabica coffee beans are now exported to over 20 countries and regions including Europe, the United States and Japan. Still a fledging sector, China's coffee industry lacks large production capacity, its own branding and the ability to process raw materials. This is what makes Aini Coffee's efforts so precious. The Yunnan-based company is slowly climbing the industrial chain through brand marketing, opening an online shop and selling its brewed beverages at its coffee "experience store."

Through careful selection and processing and the advancement of its roasting technology, Aini Coffee could one day become a global hit.

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