Read the Tea Leaves: China Will Be Top Exporter – KEITH BRADSHER

From The New York Times:

JINHUA, China – All the tea in China is proving to be a lot of tea these days, as hillsides across central and southern China are bulldozed to make way for tea farms even as many young Chinese are losing interest in the beverage.
China still has millions of tea lovers who lavish the same attention on their beverage that oenophiles devote to wine. The finest grades of green tea, made from the most delicate baby leaves and roasted in a pan by hand, sell for hundreds of dollars a pound in Shanghai and Beijing.

But Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, KFC and other Western businesses have come up with many other ways to slake thirsts in China, especially that of young Chinese. Shifting tides in tastes are creating waves over winners and losers both at home and abroad. Teahouses in China already are being replaced by coffeehouses, and Starbucks, with more than 140 stores, has spawned a cottage industry of copycats.

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