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Is there good coffee in Shanghai?

In 1999, Starbucks opened its first store in China, sowing the first seeds (or should it be beans) of coffee culture that’s ubiquitous in every cosmopolitan city in the world. Thank goodness, it’s 2016 and although we thank Starbucks for paving the way, the topic today is ‘good coffee’, and so we shall stick to that.

If you can’t get through a day without a good cuppa, then you’d be pleased to know that Shanghai wouldn’t disappoint you. It may still be a city and nation of tea, but there’s certainly good coffee to be had, with pastry and maybe even WIFI on the side.

#1 Café del Volcan

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Image credit: Tripadvisor 

This is a small café that’s big on quality. Café del Volcan offers specialty coffee from the best coffee producing regions, such as Ethiopia, Guatemala, and even Yunnan. How do you know that they’re serious about quality? Well, the café buys its beans green and roasts them in Shanghai. Choose between single origin beans or their house blends. 

Café del Volcan isn’t quite conducive for long chats or working, but come here anyway if you want no-nonsense coffee. 

Where: 80 Yong Kang Road

#2 MQ Coffee 

When it comes to making good coffee, there really isn’t any limit to how far you can take your craft. You can make it with a crappy espresso machine at home, or you can head to MQ Coffee to have one made by a Slayer Espresso Machine, a handcrafted and obscenely expensive beautiful beast that coffee nerds dream about. 

MQ Coffee also roasts specialty beans sourced from around the world, and even has its own training lab for barista wannabes. A plus? It’s got its own “office area” where you can get work done productively with caffeine in your blood.

Where: 227 Fengxian Lu, near Nanhui Lu 

#3 Seesaw Café

Seesaw Café ticks all the boxes of a good café- a laid-back ambience, good coffee, stylish interior, and free WIFI. At Seesaw, you can choose your own preparation method, be it a pour over, Chemex, siphon, or a French Press, and have some good pastries while you’re at it. The café even holds workshops for coffee lovers to learn the fine art of coffee making, so watch out if you’re in town and want to dedicate a few hours to the craft.

Where: 433 Yuyuan Rd, Jing’an

#4 Sumerian

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Image Credit: thebritishkitchen

 

This café, wholesaler and coffee roaster will not disappoint. A hot spot for both locals and foreigners, Sumerian is a bright and cheery café that offers quality coffee with great ambiance. The coffee menu also offers interesting versions of lattes like Coconut Cayenne, which features coconut milk, natural honey, and cayenne garnish. Did we also mention that Sumerian has got some great cookies and bagels?

Where: 415 Shanxi Bei Lu

#5 Farine Bakery

For some, good coffee has to come with equally delicious pastry. It’s all or nothing. At Farine Bakery, you could just have your cake, eat it, and sip gourmet coffee all at the same time. Farine bakes everything in-house with stone ground flour, so that probably qualifies it as ‘artesanal’. The coffee choice here is isn’t as varied as what you’d find in a specialty coffee store, but it’s certainly up to standard. As for the pastries, well, you’d be hard pressed to get anything better in Shanghai. 

Where: Ferguson Lane, 378 Wukang Rd. 200031

#6 Café on Air 

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Image Credit: Thatsmags

This café is ideal for an afternoon of reading, working, chilling out alone or with friends.  It feels like a quiet sanctuary that’s secretly tucked away, and that’s quite a feat in Shanghai. It doesn’t have a geeky long list of coffee choices that could overwhelm and annoy anyone who hates making decisions.  But what it does have is a really soothing atmosphere, quality coffee and pastries, and a good laid back crowd.

Where: Lane 650, Huaihai Zhong Lu, No 634, near Sinan Lu

#7 Lanna Coffee

Globalization can make cities interesting, or downright boring. If you’ve been drinking Colombian coffee in every city in the world you’ve been too, it’s hard to not to wonder if coffee could possibly come from anywhere else in the world, like for example, China. 

China is massive, so there must be a place that’s perfect for growing coffee, right? Yes there is, and that’s Yunnan. Lanna Coffee sources its beans from Yunnan, a stunning, beautiful province that also produces premium teas. 

The café is earthy, woody, homely, and serves up some pretty delicious snacks. What’s there not to like?

Where: 8 Yuyuan Dong Lu, near Tongren Lu, Jingan district

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About the author

Tilda is a happy sufferer of chronic wanderlust. When she isn't spending a disproportionate amount of time Googling about places and cultures, she's writing, dancing, and navigating a massive career change. She shares stories and photography on Wanderful People, and shares her coffee with no one.

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