In Beijing’s Qianmen, you can find the essence of Beijing’s dense history and dynamic hutong folk life, but did you know Qianmen also has a hidden concentration of arty hipsters? The best way to find them is probably the fancy coffee shops in the area. Check them out.
Pour-over coffee lovers and dessert fans shouldn’t miss this café! Here you can taste the coffee handmade from the very popular ‘Geisha’ coffee cherries planted in Ethiopia, and order an apricot-flavored mousse cake made in the form of an apricot. The shop is a small one that can only host 20 people at a time, but because of this many hutong locals love to spend a few hours there reading and resting.
The Black Sugar Cinnamon Latte is on the checklist of many coffee lovers in town, but if your interest is in pour-over or ice-drip coffee, you can also find them finely made here. One specialty about this shop is that it has a small rooftop from where you can overlook the hutong neighborhood—if you are planning a trip to Berry Beans in winter, remember to keep yourself warm because it’s gonna be super-cold up there.
The Soloist Coffee Co. is a rather peculiar café, as it doesn’t supply sugar, and you must refer to the staff as “coffee makers” instead of “waiters”. But once you taste its coffee you’ll know all these rules are worthwhile to observe. The coffee shop’s second floor has a lovely exhibition of terrestrial globes. It has seats on its balcony from which you may overlook the hutong area.
Just like the Xiheyan Street—a tranquil street amid the buzzy Qianmen area where the Mao Café is located—the café itself is a quiet and cozy space. Apart from coffee and desserts, the café also provides main dishes like pizza and curry rice, which will make you easily spend a whole off-day there.
Technically speaking, Ji An Zhai is more of a book-bar than a café, with a shelf of books at the back and big, comfy sofas that fill the place. But just imagine how pleasant it is to enjoy good coffee and desserts while reading, without having to move yourself to other places for meals. You’ll understand why Ji An Zhai is popular among arty people.
Walking into this café is like stepping into an old friend’s living room in a hutong house. Don’t expect too warm service—on the contrary, this means that you can just make yourself at home. It is said that the café bakes their own coffee beans, which were planted in different parts of the world. It also has desserts and Chinese teas, including the recently very popular Moon White ice tea, made from a kind of white tea with a black leaf with a white tip that resembles the moon.
Enjoy Your Coffee is located just beside the Qianmen Pailou (gateway), so you may observe the hustle and bustle of the Qianmen Street while cozily sitting in the vegetated café and enjoying your cup of coffee or tea. Another highlight of the café is its wooden swing, which is both fun and photo-friendly.
How does it sound to enjoy coffee in a hutong room with traditional Chinese-style interior décor? We’ve got goose bumps just at the thought of it. Yi Zhan is a place to fulfill this dream. The two Beijing local owners are going to make you nice pour-over coffee and delicious desserts, and if you are in the mood you can even have a small chat with them.
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