Lusting after a proper cup of joe in Chengdu? The Chengdu-Expat team spills the beans on where best to get your daily caffeine hit in the ‘Du.
Long gone are the days in South West China where the only coffee drinks available are canned Nescafé from your local HongQi Chain Store. Whilst there is now a Starbucks on every corner, it’s still more difficult than you’d think to get a great cup of coffee that isn’t freeze dried with powdered creamer or costs more than you’d pay back at home.
That being said, coffee in Chengdu is becoming more than just a status symbol. The growing number of Chinese people starting to drink coffee regularly is helping to make the Chinese coffee market the fastest growing in the world. Whilst historically China was a nation of tea drinkers, Coffee was in fact introduced to Yunnan as early as 1892 when a French missionary brought the crop to the region -but it’s only since 2008 that it has been grown on a large scale as a commodity. Almost half the coffee produced in Yunnan now comes from Puer, an area traditionally associated with tea production.
Lucky for us, this growing coffee culture is slowly ebbing its way from the East coast of China to further reaching provinces, especially Sichuan’s capital Chengdu. Here are some of our favourite coffee joints in Chengdu:
The Sense 醒食官方
This new venture, by Jeremy Zhang – winner of the 2014 & 2016 China Barista Championship is becoming by far Chengdu’s worst kept secret. The wood clad store opens at eight every morning and is situated between Niu Wang Miao station and Waterfront & Waitan – perfect for grabbing some caffeine courage to deal with the crowded metro in the mornings on the way to work.
They serve a range of baked-in-house breads and French style pastries, the fougasse is really something special. Most importantly, the coffee. The coffee is exceptional; they offer different blends, ranging from light to dark with full tasting profiles, and showcase different producers from around the world monthly.
If that sounds all a little much for you, it is still a wonderfully calm place to catch up on your emails over some proper coffee and a pain raisin. They also offer salads, pastas and sandwiches with hunks of freshly baked bread on the side.
Price: Americano 24, Latte 26
Address: No 194 Midhongji Road 宏济中路194号
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm
Jason’s Coffee 杰森咖啡
This independent roaster and cafe is located across from Wanda Department Store on the East Second Ring. It is a really beautiful space with coffee to match. The menu lists a total of 14 single origin coffees from Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, and other far reaching parts of the world. The well informed staff can make recommendations to find a flavour and roast to suit you. We are also happy to have a decent caffeine alternative to the Green Siren in Wanda, where there is stiff competition for seats during peak hours. Jason’s also promotes coffee culture in Chengdu visa consulting; providing fresh roasted beans, coffee-ware and training to other coffee shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood.
Address: No,6 #39 Kehua Street, Chengdu. 成都市武侯区科华街6号附39号(川大花园北园二楼)
Price: Most coffees and desserts are 25RMB-35RMB.
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Weekend 10am-10:30
This little venture near Lan Kwai Fong is owned by Gan Shilin (who also has represented China in the World Barista Championships) and is the jewel in the Chengdu coffee scene’s crown. He offers really wonderful single origin espresso from Guatemala and a lovely house blend with other Central American beans thrown in. The pour over coffee is served two ways; over ice and steaming hot. The beans are roasted locally and ground in store with each cup you order – you can also buy the beans to take away. The menu features cakes and pastries too, but the coffee is definitely the main attraction. Gan holds tastings most evenings at around 6pm and coffee paraphernalia is available to buy on site.
Chengdu-Expat Let’s Grind
Price： Pourover from 30RMB
Address: 39 Tangba Street, 镗钯街39号
WeChat ID: letsgrind
Of course there are other Coffee shops in Chengdu worthy of a mention. Check out these places too…
Small Company Coffee
Wow！Coffeecafe Chengdu coffee delivery donuts drinks