7 Of Shanghai's Best Coffee Shops
If you’re looking for where the cool kids café-hop in Shanghai, look no further than this list.
1. Café de Volcan
Despite its (very) intimate and tight squeeze of a set-up, this boutique coffee shop doesn’t joke when it comes to coffee. Locals and expats alike swear by the coffee here, calling it the purest coffee in town.
Café de Volcan sources its beans from the prime growing regions of Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia and even Yunnan. The beans are fresh, and are ground and roasted right there! They pride themselves on their single origin beans, which lend itself to the robust and distinct flavors of the coffee.
They also just launched a website so you can order Café de Volcan beans and accessories from wherever you are!
EGG in the Former French Concession (FFC) is easily THE go-to spot for a causal cool bite. This intimate spot not only prides itself on its concise yet colorful menu, which ranges from café classics (i.e. hash brown waffles) to clever seasonal dishes (i.e. eggnog French toast for the holidays), but also its clean and cozy atmosphere.
Like any popular café, the coffee has to be good, and at EGG, they've got their coffee right. Whether you want it black, white or with a little twist – coconut cold brew, anyone? – you really can’t go wrong. Also on the menu are house-made seasonal sodas, refreshing teas and chai lattes.
3. SeeSaw Cafe
Though now a chain, SeeSaw Cafe still somehow retains it’s charm and coziness in all of its locations throughout Shanghai. However, the original location on Yuyuan Lu is still, in our opinion, the best.
The cafe is a bit tucked away from the main road, quietly sitting at the ground level of a creative co-working space, opening up to the large atrium, which is completely flooded with natural light. Unique to other cafes in the city, SeeSaw offers a range of customizable coffee options: syphon, hand pressed or your standard latte/cappuccino/Americano. They also have Strictly Cookies on sale there, which is Shanghai’s very own homegrown cookie brand.
There is also a coffee academy further down the lane, where they have a barista training school.
4. Sumerian Coffee
There’s a reason Sumerian is one of Shanghai’s most popular cafes. They have the space, craft coffee, awesome food food and a friendly atmosphere. Oh, and did I mention they also have two adorable café pups: Dou Dou and Burrito? Cuteness aside, this place does a mean cup of coffee.
Whether you’re there on your laptop trying to get some work done, hanging with friends or just getting a cup to go, their coffee is always spot on. They also serve up house made bagels and craft beer next door at Dog Town, which is also a branch of theirs. Pay them a visit to say hi to Dou Dou and Burrito, and try a cup of some of the best coffee in town.
5. Pain Chaud
This cafe sits on one of the busiest streets in the former French Concession, Yongkang Lu. But despite its location in the middle of all the action, Pain Chaud maintains a calm and cozy ambience.
This French-style café serves up a wide range of coffees and teas, and sells freshly baked breads, pastries and sandwiches. Their croissants and baguettes are particularly delicious, especially if you do as the French do and come in first thing in the morning to grab a warm one for the road.
6. Brut Cake Cafe
This Melbourne-style cafe is pretty much anything you would ever need for a swoon-worthy Instagram photo - clean lines, lots of natural light, bright wooden furniture and finishes, and good-looking food. Sitting on the corner of a busy intersection in Jing’an, Brut Cake Cafe offers a serene and clean space to escape the chaos of city life over a cup of coffee and cake.
Brut Cake Cafe is actually the sister concept the furniture of the same name in the former French Concession (all the furniture and home accessories you see in the cafe is also for sale). Their menu features a variety of cafe classics of the Western fare, from cakes and baked goods to coffees to juices. They also offer savory foods, like burgers, pastas and salads. They also offer weekend brunch, but be forewarned, it’s become quite popular around town so you might have to queue up.
7. Cafe on Air
Cafe on Air has the cafe trifecta: good coffee, tasty food and tasteful design. Despite it’s location on the forever busy Huaihai Road, this little cafe sits down an unassuming lane where you can leave the hustle and bustle of Shanghai behind you for a little bit.
The coffees here are full of flavor and intensity, and the offerings range from regular coffees to fancier lattes and cappuccinos. They also have teas and juices on the menu. But regardless of what you order to drink, you will probably also end up ordering something sweet from their selection of sweets that are lined up at the counter, which include but not limited to German apple pie and cheesecake.