It’s said that the best coffee in the world grows in the area between 15 degrees northern latitude and the Tropic of Cancer. Hainan is situated on this golden belt. But coffee from Hainan has never enjoyed the same popularity as Java Arabica Coffee or Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. What’s the reason for this?

As a coffee machine fills the morning air with a tantalizing aroma, leisurely dressed people yawn as they sit around a cup-laden table. Here in Xinglong County in southeastern Hainan, locals have gotten into the habit of drinking coffee every morning.

Coffee trees at Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden.
Coffee berries at Xinglong Tropical Botanical Garden.
Coffee is not only provided in fancy coffeehouses but also can be found at almost any ordinary-looking stall along the street. Cups of coffee are ordered with "youtiao," or fried bread sticks, and noodles.

"We cut the youtiao into pieces, and have a cup of coffee for breakfast," said a local people drinking coffee at a breakfast stall in Xinglong. "Sometimes we dip youtiao into the coffee. It’s full of flavor."

For local people who have grown up with coffee, the island’s coffee culture is rooted in their blood. Many locals are descendents of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia who brought the first seeds and started coffee plantations in 1953.

Xinglong has become one of the largest coffee growing areas in Hainan with a yield of 40 tons of beans last year, accounting for about 10 percent of the island’s total coffee bean output.

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