Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tea or Coffee?

It is definitely tea for the Chinese people, and Starbucks Coffee has finally discovered that as well. I was actually really surprised by the success of Starbucks in a tea-drinking China, with stores open in places ranging from the Forbidden City in Beijing (which later got replaced by a traditional Chinese teahouse due to protests) to the Great Wall of China. But Starbucks has finally realized that it can’t survive by mainly selling coffee in a country with 200 million regular tea drinkers and has decided to add nine new tea drinks to its menu.

Here are some Chinese words to help you get your Starbucks tea in China

(chá): tea

绿(lǜchá): green tea

喝茶 (hē chá): drink tea

我喜欢喝绿(wǒ xǐhuan hē lǜchá): I like to drink green tea

茶馆(cháguǎn): teahouse

星巴克(Xīngbakè): Starbucks

But if you insist on getting coffee

咖啡(kāfēi): coffee

咖啡馆(Kāfēi guǎn): coffeehouse

And if you are like me and think tea is better

茶比咖啡好(chá bǐ kāfēi hǎo): Tea is better than coffee

Remember the comparison structure we learned earlier?


  1. I see the extra character for green tea versus just "tea," but it looks like it is spelled the same as "tea"... so is there no difference in pronunciation?

  2. Adapting local culture is the key for Starbucks to be able to run business so successfully in China. I had bad experience at Starbucks in China. The price was so high that I barely can choose the cheapest one, which still cost me over 5 US dollars for a cup of coffee.

  3. @ americanepali: 绿(lǜ): green
    茶(chá): tea
    so they are not really pronounced the same, are they? or did i misunderstand you comment?

    @ s: very good point. I actually even ended up doing a research on success of Starbucks for my Business class while I was in China. Through my interviews of the local Chinese people I found that going to Starbucks was a status symbol for many of them. I thought it was pretty interesting.

  4. Really awesome, i like the post. I was browsing about cocoa powder but not get enough info about it, could you please post it ?