Pork Flavored Coffee Is Starbucks’ Newest China Pitch

Starbucks has launched a new drink called the “Abundant Year Savory Latte” in China to mark the Lunar New Year. The drink combines Dongpo Braised Pork Flavor Sauce with espresso and steamed milk, with extra pork sauce and pork breast meat for garnish. The drink is priced at 68 yuan ($9.45) and is available at Starbucks Reserve stores across the country.

Lunar New Year is one of the biggest annual holidays in Asia, with 474 million trips made within the mainland during this year’s travel season. Braised pork, named after the ancient poet, painter, and statesman Su Dongpo, is a dish made from braised pork belly, rock sugar, soy sauce, yellow wine, and other seasonings. The result is richly flavored and extremely tender cuts of pork that can be easily pried apart with chopsticks.

China is the biggest branded coffee shop market in the world, having overtaken the United States last year. Starbucks opened 785 outlets in the country in 2023, serving as its second biggest market worldwide and top overseas market. However, it faces stiff competition from Luckin Coffee, the country’s biggest coffee chain with over 13,000 outlets, and offers drinks at a much lower price point than its American competitor.

The Starbucks pork latte has gained traction on Chinese social media, with the topic viewed more than 476,000 times on Weibo by the time of publishing. Some users expressed curiosity, while others were skeptical, pointing to the high price point and questioning why they would drink the latte instead of eating real braised pork.

The drink has already sold out at one store in Wuhan, with customers saying the flavor was “unique” with a dense, smooth mouthfeel. Starbucks also released other new flavors across China with a holiday theme in February, including a jujube macchiato inspired by new year’s rice cakes and an almond tofu macchiato.

Read More @ CNN

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