Coffee News: from Seed to Cup

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Shanghai, China

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Shanghai is China’s biggest city and one of its fastest growing. Coffee consumption is growing equally quickly in China’s urban centres and Shanghai is no exception. A major financial hub and international melting pot, the city has embraced coffee culture.

There are hundreds of branches of well-known chain stores. But there are also great local specialty cafés and roasters. Let’s take a look at some of the specialty picks in this bustling metropolis.

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coffee drink with latte art

An SOE latte at Blacksheep Espresso. Credit: Chloe Chang

Why These Five?

There are many specialty cafés in Shanghai with excellent drinks and service so it’s impossible to choose the best. These five are recommended for their excellent service and quality coffee. They all use locally roasted beans, are devoted to specialty coffee, and are my personal favorites.

1. OPS Café

OPS was established in 2017. At just 9 square meters, most of the guests drink coffee as they stand, but the lack of seating doesn’t put them off. The signature drinks menu is changed seasonally.

The most novel feature here is the “mobile barista service.” No matter where you are in the space, the barista will come to you and make your coffee in front of you. They’ll explain the process and origins of the coffee as they do so. It’s hard to beat that level of service.

coffee bar at coffee shop

Inside OPS Café. Credit: Chloe Chang

Where 177 Taiyuan Road, Xuhui District
Atmosphere Welcoming and friendly
Espresso Machine Dalla Corte Mini
Grinder Mahlkonig EKK43
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks, signature drinks
Must-Try Drink Seasonal signature drinks
Food & Other Drinks No food menu
Nearby Sights Close to the historical house Jiangjieshi Former Residence and Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum.

 

barista pouring coffee

An OPS Café signature drink and its mobile barista service. Credit: Chloe Chang

2. Seesaw

This small chain was founded in 2012 and now has 20 stores in China. Seesaw devotes itself to Yunnan coffee with its own coffee plantations and roastery. Through the Seesaw Yunnan Project it raises awareness of coffee from this region.

The Huaihai Middle Road store in central Shanghai offers espresso-based drinks, pour overs, and baked goods in an industrial-inspired space with black walls. Stop here for a break while sightseeing or shopping in this busy retail district.

coffee served in carafe

Seesaw’s Yunnan washed coffee served as a pour over. Credit: Chloe Chang

Where 755 Huaihai Middle Road, Huangpu District
Atmosphere Trendy and modern
Espresso Machine La Marzocco Strada 3G
Grinder Mazzer Major Electronic, Ditting KR804
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks, signature drinks, pour over, tea
Must-Try Drink Yunnan pour over
Retail Offerings Roasted coffee beans, coffee equipment
Food & Other Drinks Baked goods and desserts
Nearby Sights Shopping district of Huaihai Road, Fuxing Park, and Shanghai Museum of Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence

3. Moon Coffee Roasters

There are dozens of small alleys off Maoming Road. Among the independent designers is this old-school Japanese-style coffee roaster. It’s a charming and quiet spot to take a break and enjoy a cup of house-roasted coffee.

coffee drink with latte art

Inside Moon Coffee Roasters. Credit: Chloe Chang

Where No. 2, 75th Lane, North Maoming Road, Jingan District
Atmosphere Tranquil
Espresso Machine La Marzocco GS3
Grinder Nuova Simonelli Mythos One, Mahlkonig K30, Ditting KR804
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks, signature drinks, pour over, tea
Must-Try Drink Pour over
Retail Offerings Roasted coffee beans, coffee equipment
Food & Other Drinks Baked goods
Nearby Sights Conveniently located for visiting the Nanjing West Road shopping district and Jing’an Sculpture Park

 

customized coffee to-go cup

A coffee to go at Moon Coffee Roasters. Credit: Chloe Chang

4. Blacksheep Espresso

When you enter this coffee shop, the barista will ask you whether you like chocolate, tomato, or raisin and then make you a latte based on your preference. But if that’s not to your taste, don’t worry: there are plenty of other espresso-based drinks and pour overs on offer in this bright, modern space.

coffee bar at coffee shop

The bar at Blacksheep Espresso. Credit: Chloe Chang

Where 169-4 Jianguo Road, Huangpu District
Atmosphere Relaxed and welcoming
Espresso Machine Synesso 2G
Grinder Nuova Simonelli Mythos One, Mahlkonig Peak, Anfim Super Caimano Barista, Mahlkonig EK43
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks, pour over, tea
Must-Try Drink Latte
Retail Offerings Roasted coffee beans, coffee equipment
Food & Other Drinks Baked goods
Nearby Sights Close to the boutiques, bars, and restaurants of the historic TianZiFang area.

5. Café del Volcán

This café serves premium coffees from all over the world, including signature beans from the owner’s family estate in Guatemala. Café del Volcán takes its coffee seriously, offering barista courses and wholesale beans, as well as brewing accessories.

The space is bright and modern with floor-to-ceiling windows. There are also outdoor seats where you can take in the city while enjoying your coffee.

The exterior of Café del Volcán. Credit: Chloe Chang

Where 80 Yong Kang Road, Xuhui District
Atmosphere Laidback
Espresso Machine La Marzocco PB 2G
Grinder Anfim Super Caimano Barista, Mazzer Mini, Ditting KR804
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks, pour over, tea
Must-Try Drink Pour over with signature Guatemalan beans
Retail Offerings Roasted coffee beans, coffee equipment
Food & Other Drinks Baked goods
Nearby Sights Close to the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum and Shaoxing Park.

 

coffee roaster

The roaster at Café del Volcán. Credit: Chloe Chang

There are an overwhelming number of options for coffee in Shanghai, but for me, these five stand out for their commitment to quality specialty coffee. Whether you visit Shanghai for business or pleasure, add them to your itinerary.

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Written by Winnie Yeh.

Feature photo: A branch of Seesaw from the outside. Credit: Chloe Chang

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Shanghai, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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