Coffee break in tradition

Updated: 2012-10-18 16:34

By Lu Chang (China Daily)

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While coffee shops are pricey options for some Chinese, and instant coffee is generally the order of the day, coffee machines are becoming an increasing presence in Chinese kitchens.

"Many educated Chinese consumers and those who are well-traveled, now have sophisticated tastes," said Mark Sng, Electrolux's trade marketing manager for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. "They do not drink instant coffee or packaged coffee beverages but now purchase single-origin coffee beans or sophisticated flavored coffee, and choose to brew their own coffee."

The Swedish company offers a wide range of products costing from 208 yuan for an automatic drip coffee machine to 2,188 yuan for an Italian-style semi-automatic espresso machine.

Since Electrolux coffee machines became available in China in 2006, annual sales have jumped from 10,000 to 300,000 in 2011.

"With Chinese consumers becoming more sophisticated and embracing the taste of freshly brewed coffee, we have seen significant growth in the past five years," said Kelvin Yuen, commercial director of Electrolux (China) home appliances Co Ltd.

Currently, China's coffee machine market is dominated by Electrolux and Dutch group Philips Electronics selling filter-drip machines, while premium-priced semi and fully automatic machines, such as Nestle's Nespresso or from Gaggia in Italy, remain a niche market.

But Yang Haocheng, executive vice-president of Gaggia China in Shanghai, believes that will change.

"Although many Chinese are still unfamiliar with automatic coffee machines, they're learning very fast," he said.

"There's a ravenous thirst for coffee that tastes as good at home as outside, and those kinds of machines will eventually become common in homes."


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