Enjoying a drink in cool colors and style
WITH a cool interior design or concept, a café can be turned into a laboratory or a futuristic film set similar to those seen in a sci-fi movie. Grab a seat, order a drink and chill or just take a selfie and post it on the social networking sites. We bring you the cool, chic spots in the city!
Tea Break is the latest newcomer on Xinzha Road with a nice outdoor seating area by the road. Inside the store, warm yellow lights from bamboo-weaved shades balance the calmness of the grey wall. The raw colors and industrial design allow guests to tap into the city’s rhythm and chill down for a moment with its range of tea choices.
Apart from traditional hot-brewed single origin Chinese teas such as pu’er, tieguanyin (a type of oolong) and Yunnan black tea, a collection of innovative tea-based drinks are on offer here.
Chamomile yuzu green tea (15 yuan) is an option if you like tea/coffee with cream on top. The topping is made with fresh milk, which tastes much lighter yet it is still fluffy. It’s only around 4cm thick. The yuzu flavor undermines the strong taste from chamomile, which gives a nice twist to this typical “before-sleep” tea in western countries.
Fruit-based teas use real fresh-cut fruit bits. For example, Mango grapefruit lemon oolong (18 yuan) consists of grapefruit, mango cubes and lemon slices in light oolong. Both types of drinks use cold brewed teas.
For fizzy drink lovers, the low-calorie flavored soda teas are best choices in a sweaty summer afternoon, such as Jasmine longjing mint tea and Osmanthus lemon oolong (14 yuan each).
Address: 1313 Xinzha Rd
Opening hours: 10am-8pm
Recommend: Chamomile yuzu green tea
Owned by Xin Café, XSPACE is located in an inconspicuous building on a backstreet behind Nanjing Road W. The futuristic décor reminds you of the 2010 Disney movie “Tron: Legacy.” The store concept is too cool to be missed!
Having opened for about a year, the venue has become popular for photo shoots. The spacious seating area is divided into two sections by a LED-lit corridor. Quiet and multi-functional, it is ideal for businessmen, freelancers and those who would like to have a nice read.
The open bar offers a collection of drinks and food. Unfortunately, the café’s signature meal menu including best-seller pastas is unavailable. The service is acceptable. You’ll still get freshly made coffee (espresso-based coffee and hand-drip coffee), juice with light refreshments, such as popular chestnut cake (35 yuan).
XSPACE provides venue rental services. The 300sqm café also has two separate meeting rooms. Each room, measuring 36sqm in size, is available for 600 yuan per hour, with drinks and desserts included.
77 Jiangning Rd
Opening hours: 9am-10pm
Recommend: Chestnut cake
The laboratory-style Simply Better, which opened in April, has attracted much attention due to its simple modern décor that blends in with the same colored traditional residential building on Xinzha Road.
The cool greyish design is viewed as an interpretation of the concept of frigidity. Even the serving tray is stainless steel, calm yet chic, reminding you of the dentist.
The coffee shop is owned and run by Korean Kwon Heejin and her business partner Jeff Zhang. Its menu is very simple as the shop’s name suggests. You’ve got espresso-based coffee plus a selection of signature drinks, including lemonade, milk tea, cold brew coffee and kids-friendly babyccino (warmed milk with cocoa power on top).
Lemonade (35 yuan, US$5.2) is presented in a mason-jar style glass, using half-jar of lemon juice with another half of soda water, mixed freshly upon order. The bubbly drink is very refreshing, especially during the rainy season in Shanghai. The “juice” is made by Kwon’s mother.
Last month, the coffee shop launched a special menu, offering a single new product for only one month. The June’s menu was Dirty coffee (45 yuan), a conceptual drink brought from Korea thanks to Kwon. The coffee uses a two-shot Americano topped with fresh whipped cream. The cream is covered by shredded hazelnut chocolate and cocoa powder. The “messy” presentation gives you a sharp contrast to the shop’s “clean” décor. A mouthful of both — the cream and coffee — delights the taste buds as the cool sweet cream balances the bright coffee.
The new drink for July is Green snow, a coffee featuring Simply Better’s signature cold brew coffee topped with Matcha-flavored cream.
Simply Better uses a house blend of five coffee beans from Papua New Guinea (Blue Mountain), Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen Mocha.
Address: 1321 Xinzha Rd
Opening hours: 8am-8pm
Recommend: Monthly special, Simply lemonade