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Coffee Bars: A Boon For China's Jobless Youths

Jobless youths of China who find themselves in a fix, by not able to find a job for themselves, can now heave a sigh of relief as mushrooming coffee bars across the country's metros offers them great opportunities, to serve as baristas. //

Youngsters under great pressure to find a job in China now have a new option - serving as baristas in the mushrooming coffee bars in the country's metros.

According to a survey by China's ministry of labour and social security, job vacancies for baristas in Beijing and Shanghai alone hit more than 10,000. Even though China is known for tea drinking, coffee has become more and more popular in major cities, not just as a beverage but also as a taste of lifestyle.

A barista is expected to be competent to taste and blend coffee beans, make coffee of various flavours, masterly use the coffee set, and more - spread the coffee culture.

After the 1980s, when the first batch of instant coffee was imported, a majority of Chinese found it "a taste similar to Chinese herbal medicines".

In the following decades, more and more cafes and bars mushroomed in the main streets and star-rating hotels in China's major cities, promoting the spread of the "bitter drink" in the country.

In Shanghai, there are more than 1,000 cafes and bars with an annual sales volume of 2 billion yuan ($250 million). Starbucks, a leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee, has even managed to set up a cafe in the Forbidden City.

The company has been known as a modern lifestyle for teenagers. To meet the demands of the labour market, the ministry of labour and social security has officially recognised barista as a new profession.

A professional contest for barista was held in Beijing in 2005 but the result showed only 10 people could meet the international criteria of the profession.

With a growth pace of 20 percent annually, coffee bars keep strong dev elopment momentum. "So does the demand for baristas," said an official with the ministry.

--Edited IANS

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