For decades, Indonesia has supplied coffee roasters worldwide with prized beans that give a distinctive taste to brews favored by connoisseurs. Most locals, however, preferred tea. But now, as younger generations switch to coffee and hundreds of independent coffee shops and roasters pop up across the archipelago, Indonesia’s consumption of beans is rising. That’s left less coffee for export and forced up prices for foreign buyers. A small harvest in Sumatra has eaten further into tightening supplies of that region’s unique arabica beans, which are sought for the heavy, earthy notes they give to roasted blends. Sumatran beans are a key component in Starbucks Corp’s Christmas Blend, which has been sold for more than 30 years. Sumatra’s lower production caused some exporters to delay and even default on deliveries, sources at importing companies said, forcing some U.S. importers to pay more to secure supplies. Inventories in the United States have dwindled, … [Read more...] about Indonesia’s growing thirst for coffee drains premium bean supplies
Starbucks national coffee day
To catch a tiger in China, it turns out first you need to swat a lot of flies. Less than a month after Xi Jinping took the helm of the Communist Party in 2012, a brief report appeared on the state-owned news agency saying a senior official in a southwestern province was under investigation for graft. While announcements on corruption probes were nothing new, later developments showed the move was the opening salvo by Xi, 61, in what's become the farthest-reaching takedown of a top Chinese leadership figure and his networks of influence since the aftermath of Mao Zedong's death. When the initial target, Sichuan Province deputy party chief Li Chuncheng -- accused of enriching himself and his family with state money -- was followed by the downfall of two fellow Sichuan officials, a pattern began to emerge. The individuals all had ties to Zhou Yongkang, a hardliner who backed disgraced Bo Xilai and under whom the domestic-security budget grew bigger than defense before he retired in … [Read more...] about How Xi Jinping swatted flies to trip biggest China tiger
With more coffee shops per square mile than probably anywhere on earth, opening a cafe in Vietnam's capital could be a bit of a gamble. This week, U.S. coffee chain Starbucks is opening three of them. Vietnam's entrenched coffee culture means Starbucks is delving deeper into what could be one of its most challenging markets yet. The brew is sold cheaply in the simple cafes that line almost every city street, or in the more sophisticated outlets run by local chains Trung Nguyen and Highland Coffee, in which the Philippines' Jollibee Foods Corp has a stake. Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks China and Asia-Pacific, said on Wednesday Starbucks was seeking growth in Vietnam by offering "meaningful service" with "passion and care". He, however, side-stepped questions on the company's ambitions for Vietnam, and how exactly it intended to compete. The three Starbucks Hanoi cafes add to the eight that have been open since February 2013 in the economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City. … [Read more...] about Starbucks seeks to expand in cafe-clogged Vietnam
Some three decades ago, I devoted a few weeks of work to profiling one of the world's richest women. Joan B. Kroc, who died in 2003, was the widow of Ray Kroc, a former milkshake machine salesman whose business dealings with a pair of brothers would change the way America eats. The brothers owned a couple of hamburger joints, called McDonald's. McDonald's, under Ray Kroc's leadership, would grow into a colossus that had opened more than 34,000 restaurants around the globe before it finally, last week, opened one in Vietnam. Somewhere in the Great Beyond, I suspect that both Ray and Joan would be pleased, but for very different reasons. To Ray, the new McDonald's in Ho Chi Minh City would represent another victory in Asia - and long overdue, since there are already some 1,800 McDonald's outlets in the People's Republic of China. Joan might harbor the hope that the new franchise would serve not only Big Macs and McNuggets, but also the cause of world peace. That may sound … [Read more...] about A Big Mac, fries and… peace?
VietNamNet Bridge - Viet Nam News asked readers what their thoughts were on a wave of new Western-style coffee shops entering Viet Nam, offering coffee starkly different from the traditional dark brews typically served with condensed milk. Illustrative image. - File photo Here are some responses: Nicole Williamson, Australia I've been in Viet Nam for three weeks and can't get enough of your beautiful country, especially the wonderful food. But oh the coffee, I can't stand it. At the same time, I've never been a fan of coffee chain stores and only go when desperate for caffeine or wifi. I sincerely hope the government never permits chains into beautiful old areas like the Old Quarter. You will also end up fat like us Americans and Australians if you drink too much milk or those horrible sweet coffee drinks in the chain stores. It's important to move with the times while also maintaining traditions - Viet Nam shows how that can be done. Elijah Chai, Singapore I have been to … [Read more...] about Preserve Vietnam’s distinct coffee culture, allow diversity