Ethiopia, the renowned birthplace of Arabica coffee, is witnessing a remarkable surge in its coffee exports to China. Chinese consumers are increasingly appreciating Ethiopian coffee, creating a potential market and lucrative opportunities for the coffee-exporting country. As business relations between the two nations strengthen, coffee exporters in Ethiopia are reaping the benefits of the growing demand in the Chinese coffee market.
Abdullah Bagersh, the general manager of S.A. Bagersh Private Limited Company (PLC), is optimistic about the future of Ethiopian coffee in China. He notes, “Over the last 5 to 10 years, we are seeing growing demand for Ethiopian coffee in China, and that has created one of the most promising coffee markets in the world.”
China’s coffee consumption has witnessed remarkable growth, surpassing the global average. Over the past decade, it has expanded at an average rate of more than 15 percent, compared to the international growth rate of 2.2 percent, according to data from the International Coffee Organization.
Jemal Abrar, coffee quality control deputy manager at Mullege Coffee Export PLC, highlights the increasing demand for Ethiopian coffee in China and surrounding markets. He says, “We participated in the second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo last year. Since then, we have enjoyed growing market share in China and exploited new market opportunities.”
Gizat Worku, CEO of the Ethiopian Coffee Association, acknowledges the evolving coffee market in China and the rich potential it offers. Worku states, “China is an emerging market for Ethiopian coffee exporters. Any businessman cannot ignore China, whose market potential has turned out to be rich over time.”
Ethiopia’s coffee exports to China have demonstrated impressive growth, reaching 11,200 tonnes in the last fiscal year compared to 4,200 tonnes in the previous fiscal year, according to Worku. He expresses optimism that within the next decade, more Ethiopian coffee will find its way to China, and the Ethiopian Coffee Association is prepared to meet the growing demand by delivering specialty coffee promptly.
Ahadu Woubshet, managing director of Moyee Coffee Roasting PLC, highlights the expanding coffee drinking culture in China, which has contributed to the growing sales volume of Ethiopian coffee in the Chinese market. Woubshet comments, “I am sure China will give a massive opportunity for Ethiopia as the coffee drinking culture is expanding among its people, who also start to understand the rich flavors and varieties of Ethiopian coffee.”
China has become the seventh-largest importer of Ethiopian coffee, and between June 2022 and April 2023, Ethiopia earned $1.1 billion, according to the country’s coffee and tea authority. Coffee products account for 24 percent of Ethiopia’s export income, underscoring the significance of the coffee industry to the country’s economy.
The promising opportunities in China’s coffee market offer Ethiopian coffee exporters a golden brew for growth, prosperity, and a thriving economy. With the rising demand and appreciation for Ethiopian coffee, the future looks bright as the aroma of Ethiopian beans permeates China’s coffee culture.
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