Forbidden City Starbucks: Anyone for Tea?

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I forgot to add this picture to those in the previous post. Some of you may remember the non-controversy stirred up on the Chinese internet over the presence of the Starbucks in a corner of the Forbidden City. After years trying to look inconspicuous, the Seattle company was finally booted out earlier this year. Quite absurd in my opinion as there was not even a sign outside and in any case, half the Forbidden City is plastered with billboards from sponsors/donors like American Express. At any rate, a new coffee shop (actually, I should say tea shop) opened recently in the same spot. It is operated by the museum’s management and advertises itself as selling “China Time Honored Brand” tea including a “Green Tea Latte. There is coffee as well, but in case you missed the point, the list of offerings is topped by “China Coffee” (in Chinese it just says “Yunnan Coffee). I thought I’d order a cup so I could make snide remarks on this blog comparing the expensive foamy stuff that Starbucks offers with the patriotic Chinese version. However, as I opened my mouth to order, the waiter chappie barked out “Closed” and went back to gossiping with his companion. This was about twenty past four. The museum officially closes at 4.30 and you have to be out by five. After me, three or four large groups, probably 30 to 40 people in all, came through asking for sustenance but getting the same reply. Clearly the profit motive isn’t a strong force in the new establishment, Perhaps their evident patriotism keeps them fed.

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