Searching for Coffee in Hainan, China

Searching for a coffee in Haikou City on the Island of Hainan found us in a pedicab in the pouring rain being driven (pedaled) by an elderly lady, at top speed, and as if her life depended on it. Determined to get us to a cafe that had been recommended by a very extrovert owner of a dog grooming salon she faced the challenge with amazing Forest Gump-like perseverance.

Coffee Time Cafe & Restaurant in Haikou China.

Regardless of the raging storm and her two weird passengers who had no idea where they were going, and were clinging for dear life onto the bars of her pedicab,  she pedaled as fast as her tiny  legs could possibly pedal. After several stops at places that were definitely not coffee shops, and many a quick discussion with anyone she figured might shed light onto the whereabouts of such a place, she finally stopped in front of a very dismal looking restaurant which to our amazement boasted a dilapidated sign saying ” Coffee Time”

Haikou Coffee, Hainan Coffee, Pedicab in HaikouOur gorgeous bikey chicks’ face lit up with the best toothless smile of the year as she deposited us at our destination and gratefully accepted, most likely, the biggest tip she had had that year!!
Was it worth it? For the coffee, possibly not, but for the journey and that smile, most definitely!!

Our visit to Hainan was some years ago  and since then  chains such as Starbucks have arrived. However if you are looking for speciality coffee it might still be difficult. Even though Hainan Island has a large area devoted to coffee plantations, and a population who have been consuming it for many years, the  majority of that grown is Robusta, a lesser quality bean with considerably more caffeine content.  However In parts of Yunnan Province, and in particular, Xinzhai Village, good quality Arabica Beans are being produced which are now being shipped to other parts of China, so I’m sure that Hainan will be enjoying these, if not in Haikou, but in the tourist areas of Sanya in the South.

I took the following  extracts from a very long article I found online whilst reasearching more recent cafes in Hainan.

“Xinzhai produces Arabica, a small bean that is considered superior in taste than Robusta, the middle-sized bean that is produced in southern Yunnan and Hainan. The latter is mostly used as filler for instant coffee.

For years Xinzhai Village went out of its way to sell directly to consumers and marketed their product as small beans from Yunnan in China’s coffee market. Unlike its neighbouring villages, which one by one have ‘surrendered’ to supplying large names, such as Starbucks, Nestlé and the sort, Xinzhai wants to maintain its own brand because it aspires to grow the best coffee in China and maybe even the world.”