Going gaga for java

Updated: 2016-01-16 03:42

By XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Going gaga for java

Inner Mongolian native A Jinai and Shanghai native Wang Xiaofeng have started their own specialty coffee business in Seattle and Shanghai respectively. photos by gao erqiang / china daily

Specialty coffee houses are sprouting all over Shanghai as the third wave of coffee gathers pace in the traditionally tea-drinking nation of China

Having grown up drinking salty milk tea, a popular beverage in Mongolian culture, A Jinai only had his first sip of coffee during his college days. Like many others, his first cup was made using an instant pre-mix and he only consumed it because he was told the drink would be useful in helping him stay awake during late nights of studying ahead of the exams.

It was not until a trip to Europe two years ago that he discovered specialty coffee, and that chance encounter eventually led to him quit his job as an electronic engineer with Microsoft in Seattle to start up his own coffee business.

A Jinai, his wife and several friends in the US pooled together about $35,000 to start Pindous Coffee in Seattle in 2015. What's unique about the business is that it primarily targets consumers in Chinese metropolises like Shanghai and Beijing. According to A Jinai, the mandarin pronunciation of Pindous refers to the appreciation of coffee beans.

Specialty coffee is defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) as those scoring 80 points or above on a 100-point scale. The rating is used to determine the flavor of the beans which are produced under optimal microclimates.

Pindous Coffee's entry into the market comes in the midst of the third wave of coffee, which is believed to have started in 2002. It is dubbed as a movement by aficionados and experts to produce high-quality brews using a great level of care and scientific methods, and the classification of coffee as an artisanal product instead of being the world's second most traded commodity. American coffee chain Starbucks is considered to be the pioneer in the second wave, just as Folgers was in the first wave which took place in the 19th century.

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