Thursday, May 17, 2007

Coffee in China

There's a Reuters article about coffee in China:
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.

There's a picture with the article of the Starbucks in the Forbidden City in Beijing. But notice how the Starbucks logo in the picture is from some hanging decoration inside the store--when I was there a few years ago there was no prominent logo outside, just a sign that said there was coffee being sold. It was apparently considered too crassly capitalist to have blatant Starbucks advertising in such a "cultural" place. Sure enough, recently there has been a movement to get rid of it altogether.

I just had to get a latte there, personally.


Steve Bekes said...

It is funny how the farmer persisted despite the dangers. This is exactly the sort of thing people used to write during the Cultural Revolution, saying that Mr Du Yansheng hadn't gone without some sort of ultra-Communist activity even when he was risking his life. Or during the Japanese occupation, demonstrating his patriotism in some quiet yet obvious way.

But now it is about coffee. Products, consumption...

amida said...

For some reason that reminds me of something I read in Taiwan once about some tea culture society. They were saying that tea was culture and coffee was business. Their idea was that tea (done right) is slow--you have to sit down and take your time. Coffee is just what fuels you when you are too tired to work. The proliferation of coffee shops in Taiwan showed how busy people are, and that's why they felt they had to preserve tea culture.