Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week

Zhang Chaoyan
Boasting 8,530 cafes and many well-received coffee brands from home and abroad, Shanghai is known as the "Global Capital of Coffee Culture."
Zhang Chaoyan

The 3rd Shanghai Coffee Culture Week, which runs from May 20 to June 2, opened at Xuhui's riverfront area on Saturday. This year's event aims to bring life to the city through its unique coffee culture, which is an important manifestation of haipai (Shanghai-style) culture.

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Ti Gong

The official poster of the 3rd Shanghai Coffee Culture Week.

Shanghai is the city with the most cafes in the world, with 8,530 cafes, an increase of 673 compared to 7,857 last year, according to the China Urban Coffee Development Report 2023 released at the opening ceremony.

Among them, there are some 20 renowned overseas coffee brands with Shanghai as their first choice of location, and rapidly growing local coffee brands as well as some independent boutique cafes with unique styles.

A citywide coffee-themed promotion event to benefit coffee lovers was launched at the opening ceremony.

Local coffee brands such as Luckin Coffee, NOWWA and Manner; and delivery platforms including Eleme and Meituan will offer a total of two million coffee for free to consumers during the Coffee Culture Week.

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

The opening ceremony.

NOWWA, a local coffee brand, will deliver 180,000 free vouchers for Americano through its WeChat mini apps on May 22. Shanghai residents can receive free coffee at its offline shops with the vouchers.

"The activity helps to promote us as Shanghai's local brand as well as showcasing the humanistic warmth of the city," said Shi Yaru, the manager of NOWWA's branding department.

The West Bund of Xuhui riverside, as a new cultural and trendy landmark in Shanghai, serves as an important window for humanities, nature and art exchange. Now the aromatic coffee culture has began to flourish there, adding more vitality to this iconic cityscape.

The ongoing West Bund International Coffee and Lifestyle Festival attracted many visitors to take in the fascinating riverfront view as well as savor the aroma of coffee.



Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Ti Gong

The coffee festival covers an area stretching 5 kilometers along the riverfront area, known as "the coffee bazaar with the longest shoreline".

The event, running between May 18 and 21, brings together some 100 coffee brands to debut at its main venue. It boasts big names such as Starbucks, Lavazza, Costa and Peet's Coffee, as well as emerging domestic brands like Yongpu Coffee, Luckin Coffee, and Manner. Each of them features vans and booths with their brand culture and style, and brings visitors a unique one-stop coffee culture experience.

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

The bustling crowds at the coffee bazaar.

Luckin Coffee's booth, as a leading home grown coffee brand, became a hit at the event due to not only its popularity but also its creative design. The venue is adorned with a road name board with some lovely slogans such as "我在上海很想你"(I miss you very much in Shanghai),"年轻!就要瑞幸" (Living Young. Luckin on!).

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

The Luckin brand is popular.

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

Visitors are delighted to pose with the creative road map board.

Crowds of visitors queued in front of the Luckin's booth to order a cup, notably its signature raw coconut latte.

"Luckin's coffee is more cost-effective and are delivered quicker to customers, which is its advantages over other overseas brands," said Lexy, 33, a local customer of Luckin, "It also launches new products and favors very often."

Shanghai-based emerging brand Yongpu Coffee has gained growing popularity these years in the city. It showed up as the festival's representative Shanghai local brand.

"The festival is housed at the West Bund in Xuhui, which is of great significance to Yongpu as the birthplace of our brand is in Xuhui," said Wu Yuhao, the project manager of Yongpu Coffee. "It is also here to let more coffee lovers know about Shanghai's own coffee brand and culture."

Some coffee brands with distinctive themes and social significance also participated at the event. Yunnan's local coffee brand BEATON COFFEE, displayed and promoted its nationally renowned Yunnan coffee and coffee beans to visitors.

As a part of "pairing assistance" between Yunnan and Shanghai, the event provides Yunan's coffee brands a platform to expand business and enhance popularity thus boosting their economic growth, said Shi Jingyang, BEATON COFFEE's marketing executive.

"When we make profits, we will also donate some of them to collective cooperatives in some poor villages in Yunnan Province and help local coffee farmers get out of poverty," Shi added.



Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

A Yunnan coffee merchant wearing folk custom of the Yi ethnic group showcases the unique Yunnan culture besides Yunnan coffee.

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Zhang Chaoyan / SHINE

A booth hosted by the theme cafes of Ruijin Hospital and the Site of the First CPC National Congress has the theme of "Chinese Youth" and the patriotic TV drama "The Age of Awakening."

The coffee bazaar, meanwhile, drew many expatriates into the lively and bustling coffee atmosphere. Alexander, a Sweden coffee lover, grabbed a cup of Peet's Coffee while strolling around the bazaar with his family.

Despite his fondness of some overseas brands, he showed great interest in some Chinese brands like Manner Coffee that he was unfamiliar with before.

"Their booths' design are fantastic," he said. "When I took a slip of the sample at their booth, I think it tastes different from Peet's and Costa, but it's just as amazing. And much cheaper."

Wake up and smell the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week
Ti Gong

An expat is interested in different brands.

Cafes have sprung up in the West Bund in recent years, making coffee culture a new drawcard of Xuhui's riverfront area, and the West Bund as a emerging coffee hub of the city as well, according to Xuhui's cultural and tourism authority.

In the next two weeks, the culture week will host a string of coffee-themed promotion and cultural activities as well as popular coffee bazaars.

E-commerce platform Meituan, for example, joints hands with Jiushi Tourism to host a coffee-themed boat event, featuring boats decorated with coffee that cruise along the Suzhou River. The event runs from May 19 to 28.

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