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The Best Cafés for Serious Coffee Lovers in Beijing

Café Zarah is a Beijing institution | © Julianna Tetreault
Picture of Taylor J. Castelo Brancochang
Updated: 20 February 2019
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China might not spring to mind when it comes to coffee culture, but with more and more cafés popping up right across Beijing, there are now tons of places for a good cup of joe. From hipster hutong hideaways to mall pit stops, you’ll always find somewhere to get your caffeine fix.

Bracket Coffee

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Contemporary, Coffee, $$$
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A flat white and piece of biscotti make a perfect pairing at Bracket
A flat white and piece of biscotti make a perfect pairing at Bracket | © Julianna Tetreault
Bracket Coffee is one of the newer additions to the Beijing café scene, but it’s rapidly climbing the ranks of the city’s go-to coffee spots. Unlike most other cafés that lean toward the mom-and-pop-shop style, Bracket Coffee is chic, shiny and big, with a rooftop patio that’s perfect for warmer months. The coffee itself is impressive, with a menu that boasts speciality beans from all around the world, from Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea to Guatemala and Brazil. Make sure you fuel up while you’re exploring Chaoyang.
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Metal Hands

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee, $$$
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Metal Hands is renowned for its nitrogen cold brew
Metal Hands is renowned for its nitrogen cold brew | © Julianna Tetreault
Metal Hands was one of the first ‘hipster’ coffee shops in the city, complete with Nordic-inspired interior design and charming, minimalist decor. But unlike other pretenders, Metal Hands actually has dynamite coffee at a reasonable price, with its nitrogen cold brew particularly lauded by locals. For those who want to enjoy a cup of Metal Hands coffee at home, it sell its beans, which are roasted in-house, by the bag.
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Barista Coffee Roasters

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Contemporary, Coffee, Snacks
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Barista Coffee Roasters was one of the first new-wave cafés on the coffee scene in Beijing. Despite its unassuming hutong location, this stylish café in Wudaoying Hutong whips up some of the best brews in town with its in-house roasted beans. It doesn’t offer any fancy coffee concoctions, but it is known for its unique Soda Iced Americano, which has become a summer essential for Beijingers.
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Coffee Tags

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee
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Coffee Tags serves a first-class espresso
Coffee Tags serves a first-class espresso | © nuttapong punna / Alamy Stock Photo
With its cool minimalist vibe, cosy atmosphere and strong menu, Coffee Tags is a favourite among locals who wish to expand their java repertoire. It has beans from all around the world, ranging in strength and complexity, as well as your regular brews like americanos, espressos and lattes. Note that they only have a few tables inside, so this might not be a great place for digital nomads looking to camp out for a couple of hours.
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Soloist Coffee Co.

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee, Snacks, Dessert
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This third and newest Soloist Coffee Co. branch is by far the largest and fanciest. However, despite its more commercial location in Sanlitun among big brands in Taikoo Li mall, Soloist Coffee Co. stays true to core coffee values. It continues to serve a variety of aromatic imported beans, each bursting with flavour and unique characteristics. This joint also offers pastries and cakes, which pair perfectly with a cup of coffee.
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Basic Coffee

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Tea , Coffee
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Sitting on the third floor of the sprawling complex that is Jianwai SOHO, Basic Coffee can be a bit of a challenge to find, but it’s worth the effort. In addition to the usual café offerings, this place serves up some of the best brews in town. It has over 100 different types of coffee beans and roasts them on the premises. For super-serious coffee aficionados, it even hosts roasting classes, too.
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Voyage Coffee

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Dessert, Coffee, Snacks, Continental
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Voyage Coffee is a perfect place to rest when gallery-hopping while in the 798 Art District. With classical music humming in the background, beautiful art on the walls and a courtyard perfect for al fresco dining, it’s an ideal atmosphere for relaxing. It might have a small coffee menu, but it’s a solid one with a good assortment of seasonal brews and espressos.
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Cafe Zarah

Cafe, Coffee Shop, European, Healthy, Vegetarian, Coffee
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Café Zarah is a Beijing institution
Café Zarah is a Beijing institution | © Julianna Tetreault
This long-time favourite is well known among Beijingers. It’s an excellent place to study or spend a leisurely afternoon out on its courtyard or second-storey terrace. It might only offer the classics (espressos, cappuccinos, flat whites etc) but they do so with style and consistent quality. The killer coffee and bites paired with its gorgeous outdoor and indoor spaces is why Café Zarah is a Beijing institution.
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Meal service:

Brunch, Breakfast

Atmosphere:

Casual, Outdoors, Modern, Stylish, Relaxed

Baker and Spice

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee, Continental, Snacks, Wine
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Yes, Baker and Spice is a chain. And yes, it has great coffee. This Shanghai-grown bakery chain has won the hearts of Beijingers far and wide with consistently good coffee, plus bread and pastries worth breaking your diet for. And with a solid range of handpicked wines and flavourful dishes, it’s also a popular lunch and dinner spot for casual diners. Filled with the aroma of brewed coffee and freshly baked bread, plus its strong Wi-Fi connection, this café is an excellent place to unwind with a cup of joe and a snack any time of day.
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This article is an updated version of a story created by Anastasiia Ilina.

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