Calgary Herald

Thirsty China to fuel Arabica coffee demand

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Arabica coffee consumptio­n in China will rise by 10 to 15 per cent a year as the world’s biggest tea drinkers develop a taste for lattes and cappuccino­s, an industry group said.

“Coffee is becoming more and more popular in China,” said Ji Ming, president of the China Coffee Associatio­n Beijing. “It will be (as important) here as tea, with more and more younger generation now prefer drinking coffee.”

Starbucks dominates the Chinese coffee-shop market, with a 70 per cent share last year, compared with the five per cent share of secondbigg­est operator Jiangsu Yueda Group Co., which operates Costa Coffee restaurant­s, according to researcher Euromonito­r Internatio­nal.

China’s total coffee bean consumptio­n amounts to more than 30,000 tonnes a year, two-thirds of it in the form of Robusta beans, the cheaper grade used in instant-coffee products, Ji said. China relies on imports for half of its Arabica demand, while Yunnan province in the country’s southwest supplies the rest, he said.

Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop chain, said China will be its biggest growth market in two years, according to chief executive Howard Schultz.

The Seattle-based company aims to increase the number of outlets in the world’s most populous nation to 1,500 by 2015, from about 400 now. Profit per store is 22 per cent in China, higher than the U.S., the company said last month.

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