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Selling coffee to China

Monday, November 10, 2014

Honduras plans to sell more high-quality Arabica coffee to China, said the Director of the country’s coffee export association last week, echoing comments made by several of his Central American counterparts in recent years.

The region’s producers may achieve their goals, as Chinese consumption of Arabica coffee is expected to rise as much as 15% per year, says the China Coffee Association.

At less than half a kilogram per person per year, current levels of coffee consumption in China are low.

Europe is the biggest coffee consumer, led by the Finns, who on average consume ten kilos per year, according to

For its part, Starbucks will have 1,500 stores in China next year, compared to 200 stores a decade earlier.

Competition for exporters to China will come partly from local producers.

China has in recent years significantly increased its production of Arabica coffee, almost all of it in the southern province of Yunnan, which during the period 1998-2013 increased its output from 6,000 tonnes to nearly 60,000 tonnes per year.

Quality has improved with volume, with both Nescafe and Starbucks investing in plantations.

At the same time, coffee imports have shown strong growth - an average annual rate of 14%.

Chinese imports of Arabica coffee, which two years ago reached 35,000 tonnes, come mostly from the United States, Brazil and Colombia, according to the International Coffee Organization.