Brewing Happiness in China’s Capital of Coffee

Aleksandra Antonenko shares her experience of discovering the coffee culture in Shanghai, China, and how it has influenced her life. Shanghai is known as the “capital of coffee” in China and has nearly 8,000 coffee shops, surpassing any other city in the world. People in Shanghai visit coffee shops to genuinely enjoy a cup of coffee, even during business meetings, dates, or work sessions. They create small moments that are personal treats that can be enjoyed even during a hectic day in Shanghai.

Antonenko spent several years living in Seoul, South Korea, which also has a well-developed coffee culture. However, she describes coffee in Seoul as a “stressful” drink, more of a survival tool than a pleasurable experience. Koreans seek out spaces that just happen to be coffee shops, and when they do have coffee, it seems to carry an undertone of inner tension.

Aleksandra developed a taste for coffee back in Seoul, but it was not until returning to China in September 2022 that she developed a routine with two other international students. During lunch breaks, they would have a cup of coffee at the campus cafe every day. People would not work during that coffee break, instead savored their conversations with coffee. This positive energy led to more students joining the group and becoming a big party.

The scene is the same at coffee shops outside of campus. People come to share their happy moments or get cheered up, smiling in a relaxed mood or peacefully scrolling on their phones while sipping their coffee. Even with coffee-to-go, you take that little piece of the warm atmosphere with you.

Antonenko discovered that the coffee culture in other places of China is somewhat similar to that in Shanghai. People say that “Shanghai sets trends in coffee,” and other cities simply follow suit. She has visited coffee shops in Beijing, Ningbo, Hangzhou, and Sanya, all of which have a special heartwarming atmosphere that contributes to China’s coffee culture.

Some of Antonenko’s international friends avoided coffee before coming to China, but they are now among the biggest coffee lovers due to the positive energy and atmosphere. She always prefers to get her coffee in person instead of ordering online to experience the general mood of the place.

Read More @ China Daily

Suggested Reading