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From tea leaves to coffee beans: China’s growing appetite for the West’s preferred fuel


Ten years ago, in the southern Chinese town of Yangshuo, you had only one choice for a western chain restaurant: KFC. These days, the riverside town, famed for its surrounding karst landscape and inundated with domestic and international tourists, offers a choice between McDonald’s, KFC, or for coffee, a Starbucks.

The Yangshuo Starbucks is a three-storey affair, housed in a traditional Chinese building with a tiled roof and elegant sloping eaves. The Starbucks mermaid logo is visible from afar, a silent siren song of caffeine.

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