GUEST BLOG/ International media sources--Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality has never grown a single coffee bean, but China's largest coffee trading center flourishes there. Chongqing is China’s oldest and most populous city (Pop. 30.48 million).
Cumulative transaction volume of coffee products on a parallel e-platform launched in 2019 has exceeded 5.2 billion yuan (750 million U.S. dollars). Coffee beans produced in southwest China's Yunnan Province, South and Southeast Asia are brought there to be shipped to Europe by freight train. "Chongqing is a logistics distribution center that connects coffee producers in Asia with the market in Europe," said Feng Yue, founder of Chongqing coffee trading center.
Domestic coffee consumption has recently been growing by around 20 percent each year, according to Feng expects the market to top 600 billion yuan in the next ten years, from the current 100 billion yuan, so it is an attractive investment prospect.
The Belt and Road Initiative has facilitated the China-Europe train. It takes only 13 days for beans to arrive in Duisburg, Germany from Chongqing by rail, 30 days less than by sea, and at a fifth of the cost of air freight. CLICK HERE.
That means coffee beans grown in China can now reach Europe far faster than cargo ship. "Coffee tastes best within 14 days of roasting. A long time at sea increases the moisture content of the beans, which affects their taste and quality. The travel time by rail perfectly matches market requirements in Europe," Feng said.
"The altitude, humidity and temperature in Yunnan make it a very good area for coffee growing. The province produces 99 percent of China's coffee and more than 60 percent of that is sold overseas as low value-added raw beans," said Peng De, manager of the center. "Due to poor planting techniques and lack of domestic specialist agencies for quality assessment, Yunnan's coffee beans are not as popular as they should be.
The center in Chongqing will help to introduce better technology for planting and roasting, offer financial and professional support in production, transportation and training," Peng said. "Yunnan coffee could easily fetch a good price," he added. A standard testing system, led by the center, has been followed since this year's harvest. The center also releases reference prices, customer requirements and global market dynamics to planters in Yunnan for them to improve their products and services.
"We are actively helping China's coffee industry to move up the industry chain so that domestic coffee beans secure a larger share of the domestic market and sell at a good price in the global market," Peng said.
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TUNNEL VISION—In late 2019, a Chinese freight train travels through the Marmaray Tunnel under the Bosporus in Istanbul early Thursday. The journey was the first uninterrupted freight train journey from Turkey to Europe, transporting cargo from China while skirting Russia. (Anatolia News Agency)
LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWER-- Coffee bar, micro-roastery, products, educators, Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories (Saltiniu g. 20-17, Vilnius) are coffee enthusiasts and coffee product creators based in the Lithuanian capital. At their coffee house they freshly roast micro batches of different world beans and invite to taste them with various tools in their brew bar. The minimalist shop also takes coffee education and culture seriously by organizing coffee tastings and yearly coffee conference called “Dark Times” with international guests.