German automatic coffee manufacturer WMF has launched its Coffee Culture International series, beginning in China. This collection of articles will explore how coffee industries have developed across the globe and each region’s local coffee customs.
According to the article, China is a country that has had a drinking culture “long defined by tea and rice-wine”. With the Chinese coffee boom beginning in the capital city of Shanghai, WMF says just 20 years ago only a few Western café chains existed in Shanghai. Now, the port city is home to roughly 8000 coffee shops. Between 2008 and 2018, China’s coffee consumption rose by 1032 per cent.
The article states that this rise in coffee demand has been met by both international coffee chains and, more recently, local start-up coffee stores. With a focus on digitalisation and self-service, these new stores appeal to China’s younger crowd with their straightforward ordering and payment systems.
Among these suppliers rising to meet consumer demand, small, specialised cafés have appeared, seeking to offer more carefully selected and prepared coffees. WMF states that beverages such as latte macchiatos and americanos have been Chinese market favourites.
Coffee growing began in China in the late 19th century in the Yunnan region and today, a majority of Chinese coffee still comes from the south-western provinces. Today, Yunnan grows more than 127,000 tonnes of coffee annually, accounting for roughly 1.5 per cent of total global production.
Beside the rapid growth in quantity of beans, WMF says the country has increased its quality with the Catimor coffee variety seen as a speciality bean, characterised by sweet and fruity notes, earthy undertones, and slight acidity.
This bean is a variant of the Arabica coffee bean and along with other Chinese coffee beans, offers an alternative choice from traditional beans grown in Latin America and Africa.
The recent demand in coffee is due to an increase in purchasing power and growth of coffee shops and convenience stores. This purchasing power comes alongside the growth of the Chinese middle-class market with more than 150 million households considered part of this income category.
To maintain growing demand, the article states that the ability to integrate coffee service with mobile ordering, varied payment solution, and high automation is crucial. With these characteristics all associated with the modern, urban lifestyle, WMF says they are just as important as the coffee’s specialty.
WMF Professional Coffee Machines says its range is meeting these needs, providing high-quality fully automatic coffee machines suitable for convenience stores and quick-service restaurants. The line also offers partially automated portafilter machines, such as the WMF espresso which caters for speciality cafés and coffee shops.
Able to integrate digital applications for direct payment and supportive of mobile payment providers such as WeChat and AliPay, the company says it is the only manufacturer that offers a digital solution that is hosted locally and has been developed in-house to comply with China’s legal requirements.
Providing a telemetry platform, the WMF CoffeeConnect, the company says the demand for self-service environments in China is growing, acting as stepping stone to exciting concepts such as robotic coffee bars.
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