Everyone wants A Coffee!

A coffee shop that became an Internet sensation because its staff were all autistic teenagers, has been flooded with offers of space after news it had been forced to close. 

A coffee shop that became an Internet sensation because its staff, from barista to waiters, were all autistic teenagers, has been flooded with offers of space after news it had been forced to close. 

A Coffee is not open to the public but a project organized by charity advocate Cao Xiaoxia.

Trained volunteers impersonate customers, and autistic teenagers serve them coffee. They learn communication and survival skills in a “simulated society,” which helps them to build confidence and grow independently. 

Shanghai Jinghu Group Co had spared the first floor of its office building in downtown Jing’an Park for the coffee shop — with no rental charge. However, only three weeks later, the coffee shop was told to move out.

The company claimed that it had thought A Coffee was just a temporary set-up and now needed the venue back for its own use. So Cao was forced to find another place.

The news of the closure went viral and people started contacting Cao with offers of space. Among them are boutique cafes, restaurants, retailers, industrial parks and cultural venues like Shanghai Grand Theater and Jing’an Cultural Center.

Cao said she was checking out the venues before deciding on one that was best suited for her project. 

She said she prefers a place around Jing’an Park because the eight autistic workers had grown familiar with the area. It is also the perfect place to meet young people as it is a commercial hub on busy Nanjing Road W. with many supportive white-collar workers.


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