Coffee is rapidly expanding in former tea countries. China has more than doubled coffee consumption in less than five years. No coffee was present in China until Nescafe instant entered the market in the mid-80's.
Starbucks introduced the coffee shop to China when it entered the market in 1998. Today, the company has 450 stores in Greater China, with more than 200 stores in 21 cities on the mainland the region undergoing the fastest growth.
"We believe that China will eventually be the largest international market for Starbucks outside of the United States," said Starbucks' Greater China vice-president Eden Woon. "Traditionally a stronghold of jasmine, oolong, green, black and myriads of other fragrant kinds of tea, the Chinese mainland is becoming more attuned to the rich flavor of the coffee bean, driven by a wealthy middle class that is more receptive to Western choices and tastes."
"Japan also a traditional tea-drinking country was at the current Chinese consumption level in the mid 1960s but now consumes more than 7 million bags," [the International Coffee Organization executive director] said. "It is likely that China could follow a similar growth path."