"du yansheng, a farmer on the southern chinese island of hainan, hasn't gone without his morning cup of coffee in five decades, not even during the cultural revolution -- when such 'mock-western' practices could have landed him in prison.
'people here have never stopped drinking coffee,' du told reuters in xinglong, the cradle of coffee culture in an otherwise tea-drinking country.
du's father was one of china's first coffee farmers, at a time when it was considered an exotic foreign beverage. he brought robusta beans from indonesia in the 1950s -- decades before nestle or starbucks corp. arrived on china's shores.
today, coffee is fast catching on, especially among younger urban chinese, and the percentage increase in demand is in the double digits -- though still less than one tenth of tea consumption.
and coffee grown in china is beginning to climb the quality ladder. arabica from the southern province of yunnan is now catching the eye even of specialty roasters such as starbucks or italy's illy."
my my was i ever fascinated to read this. of course the only roaster i personally know who has tasted the yunnan is don schoenholt of gillies, who if i recall correctly had some to sample a couple of years ago.
of course all long-time readers know how quickly coffee consumption in china is growing – 15% a year – which is a healthy clip. other than that, i have to confess i don't know of any third-wave specialty roasters who currently offer yunnan in the u.s.a.
hmmm. . .