China is best known for its tea, but in recent years, a coffee culture has developed in cities both small and large. Most of the coffee that is consumed, is mainly by young professionals working and living in major cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing. However, some of the major stores, such as Starbucks, are viewed differently here than they are in the U.S. Starbucks is popular, but smaller shops owned by young entrepreneurs are paving the way for coffee shops.
Buying coffee in Eastern China can vary from drink stands to full-blown cafes. The major difference between them is the atmosphere and the convenience. A drink stand can run the same amount that you would pay in a regular coffee shop, and you receive the same quality, if not better, of coffee. These drink stands
One coffee shop that I frequent is called Shawn’s Coffee. The cafe is hidden beside a busy mall, but the bright yellow sign invites you as you pass by. When you enter through the black picket fence, you usually see Shawn making drinks or chatting with friends. There are always customers relaxing by themselves or with others. At night, candles flicker on the patio while conversation and laughter fill the air. Upon entering the cafe, you see Shawn’s certificates hanging on the wall, random pieces of coffee equipment and succulents placed throughout the shop.
I had the opportunity to talk to Shawn and ask him why he opened his coffee shop and what inspires him to make his coffee. He told me that he wanted to create a cafe that made Western style coffee but was tailored to meet Chinese standards. To achieve this, he studied with the SCAE ( Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) for seven years and researched online. Through practice and education, he learned how to craft signature drinks, roast coffee beans and create latte art.
Shawn’s coffee is very popular in the Longjiang district 龙江小区 of Nanjing. Due to his popularity, I wanted to know whether or not he could see his coffee shop becoming a chain. He informed me that if he ever decided to open other locations, he would want them to be in China. Shawn wants to keep the authenticity of his coffee shop and introduce coffee to other Chinese consumers.
Coffee is becoming more popular in Eastern China. There are a variety of cafes, both franchised and not franchised, with different drinks to appeal to local tastes. Thanks to small business owners like Shawn, both Chinese and Western consumers are able to enjoy quality coffee.
If you are ever in Nanjing, check out Shawn’s Coffee. His shop is located at the intersection of 横六路 heng liu lu (6th Cross Rd.) and 龙园西路 longyuan xi lu.