One bright spot amidst the cooling global demand for commodities is coffee. While coffee consumption worldwide is growing at a mere 2 percent annually, in China it has been galloping ahead by 30 percent. According to SPR Coffee, the nation is home potentially to 200 million coffee consumers.
Cast an eye around Shanghai’s new office blocks, residential compounds and shopping neighborhoods, and you find cafes blossoming everywhere. Riding and fuelling the boom are not only well-established chains such as Starbucks and Costa, whose penchant for serving green tea lattes, red bean scones and mooncakes is now well documented. With the coffee cup now the latest fashion accessory, South Korean brands Zoo Coffee, Maan and Café Bene, along with scores of independent coffee shops, are finding fans amongst the city’s young, hip white-collar crowd. For them, coffee isn’t just a drink. It is an affordable luxury, which is why they are happy to dip into their Chanel purses and pay 30 yuan (US$4.33) for a latte.
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