Coffee shops took center stage at a weekend bazaar at the Bund Financial Center as part of the ongoing Shanghai Coffee Culture Week.
Shanghai’s inaugural Coffee Lifestyle Festival brings together coffee lovers and industry insiders to sample limited-edition coffee beverages, explore new flavors, and discover bespoke coffee cup sleeves, specialties and souvenirs.
Shanghai is now home to the most innovative Starbucks store formats that blend diverse elements and tastes.
Cold brew coffee made from whiskey cask aged Guatemalan coffee beans is offered at Starbucks Reserve stores across the city to meet upscale needs.
The weekend event will feature two Starbucks specialty drinks featuring cask-aged Guatemalan coffee beans.
Ant Group’s Inclusion Cafe program has partnered with local boutique cafe Elefanco to offer three specialty drinks. It also allows customers to track the product of origin of the coffee beans using blockchain technologies.
The weekend event shows new possibilities when coffee meets different cultural elements and formats such as offline exhibitions, innovative crafts and even eSports.
Many coffee and foodie lovers said they see a lot of vitality and a more inclusive attitude in Shanghai’s coffee culture, especially among young coffee lovers.
On social media site Xiaohongshu, the number of searches for fancy coffee flavors—that is, coffee with seasonal fruits, local flavors, and even alcohol—more than tripled in the first half of this year.
Corentin Delcroix, a French food blogger and culinary consultant who has lived in Shanghai for more than a decade, said coffee has taken on different shapes and flavors while in the West it is taken for granted as a daily drink by most people.
“There is clearly more vitality in Shanghai’s coffee culture because it has not taken on a fixed format,” he said. “Many people pour their ideas to meet different needs.”
After trying to make coffee-flavored caramel pudding, he said he could use coffee as an ingredient in stewed pork belly, a famous Shanghai-style dish known for its strong gravy flavor.
Roxy Lu, who works in a nearby office building and frequents a local boutique coffee shop, hopes this type of event will be held regularly so people can explore new flavors.
“It’s a nice way to enjoy free time, indulging in specialty drinks and exploring all the coffee-related souvenirs,” she said.
A list of the city’s top 100 coffee shops, compiled by the Shanghai Food Association, local industry associations and Alibaba’s lifestyle services unit Ele.me, has been unveiled to promote popular destinations for coffee lovers.
Jiefang Daily and the Institute of Literature Studies of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences have also compiled a list of film, theater and literary works that closely tie coffee culture to the city.