China is traditionally a country of tea drinkers. According to the English language newspaper, China Daily, annual coffee consumption in this country is 3 to 4 cups per person compared to 240 cups worldwide. The majority of older adults don’t drink it at all and it isn’t available in most restaurants. Western-style coffee shops are quickly catching on with the younger crowd, however, who enjoy the aroma and the ambiance of places like Starbucks.
The recent surge in coffee consumption has pushed up the demand for coffee beans and led to a rapidly increasing number of coffee plantations in the southern China province of Yunnan. Fields that once grew corn now produce coffee, a much more lucrative crop. In addition to providing for local consumption, coffee is also becoming an important export.
Tasty is a chain of bakeries that also serve as coffee shops. Like their counterparts, they serve mochas, lattes, caramel machiattos and a variety of other hot and cold drinks. It didn’t take us long to find the Tasty that’s within easy walking distance of here. With it’s comfy couches and laid back atmosphere, it’s a great place for us to meet with students to relax and visit and it doesn’t take much to convince my poor coffee addicted husband to stop in for a treat on our way to the supermarket across the street! Since coffee makers and filters are hard to come by, he’s making do with instant coffee at home.
On Sunday, we were invited by two of our students to a coffee shop much further from home. It’s located in a quaint seaside area of Dalian called Fisherman’s Wharf. Most of our students are from fairly well-to-do families but Sissi’s is obviously wealthier than most. She has her own car which made getting there easy.
It was a cool, misty afternoon. When we arrived, the coffee shop was full so we walked around and enjoyed the sights for a bit before going back and finding a table. Time flew by as we sat and chatted. By the time we left, the lighthouse, unlike any I’d ever seen before, was lit up and it’s warning light flashing.
In addition to providing a great place to visit and serving delicious beverages, western-style coffee shops in China have something else going for them; western-style bathrooms! If you read my earlier post about bathrooms, you know that most public washrooms in China have squat toilets. It’s always a delight to find one that has a western-style one. When I went to the bathroom on Sunday afternoon, I was thankful that I’ve been carrying my camera in my purse wherever I go. Otherwise, I couldn’t have shared the hilarious sign in the bathroom with you! I can’t read Chinese but the message is unmistakable!