TRAVEL More than coffee: A taste of Beijing

TRAVEL

More than coffee: A taste of Beijing

CGTN

02:36, July 04, 2019

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A coffee machineat work. (Photo: VCG) 

"One of my favorite coffees would be a tall pumpkin spiced latte with a double shot. It has the fragrance of cinnamon and Colombia coffee beans," a coffee lover expressed herself with an overwhelming passion as she reminisced at the Beijing Coffee and Foodie Festival. The event was held at the China National Convention Center from July 1 to 3, featuring over 30 boutique coffee shops and beverages shops. 

Apart from a sea of shops, coffee lovers from all walks of life came together for the festival. Those in attendance witnessed the Beijing division of the 2020 China Barista Championship, also known as WBC. The famed international event perfectly represents the artisanal nature of the coffee culture.

"One of my favorite coffees would be a tall pumpkin spiced latte with a double shot. It has the fragrance of cinnamon and Colombia coffee beans," a coffee lover expressed herself with an overwhelming passion as she reminisced at the Beijing Coffee and Foodie Festival. The event was held at the China National Convention Center from July 1 to 3, featuring over 30 boutique coffee shops and beverages shops. 

Apart from a sea of shops, coffee lovers from all walks of life came together for the festival. Those in attendance witnessed the Beijing division of the 2020 China Barista Championship, also known as WBC. The famed international event perfectly represents the artisanal nature of the coffee culture.

Social life around coffee 

Chaoyang District, regarded as the Manhattan of Beijing, has people who want to look fashionable and elegant. Drinking coffee is one of their favorite social activities on the weekend, which also provides them with an opportunity to share their stories with friends. "French roast or Vienna blend? Tell me all about it."

It's not just about drinking coffee, it represents a lifestyle. Besides drinking instant coffee, an increasing number of young people in Beijing enjoy hand drip and other varieties of pour-over coffee. Coffee culture is booming in this ancient city. 
Guo Yuanyuan, a young coffee lover from central China's Hunan Province, said it's rare to see so many people drinking coffee in her hometown: "I order cappuccino often because I like the bittersweet taste. Coffee orients us here, in this city and not another. For me, this taste is like the metaphor of a love story: We are all waiting in uncertainty for our own happiness," Guo said, adding that she loves sharing stories with her friends over a cup of coffee. 

Coffee history in Beijing 

The word "coffee" comes from the Greek word "Kaweh," which means strength and enthusiasm. China's coffee growing originated from Yunnan, a beautiful province of southern China. It is the earliest record of coffee cultivation in China. 

Nescafe and other brands landed in China in the 1980s, instant coffee has become synonymous with coffee. However, with the development of economic globalization, coffee giants, like Starbucks, have taken over the market. 
Jia-Hang Wu, who works in the coffee industry, said: "The coffee market in Beijing is one of the most diverse and vibrant markets in China, where you can have coffee from all over the world." 

Coffee culture through foreigners' eyes 
Hal Miller, from Louisiana, US, said: "I am surprised by how many young people love drinking coffee. There's not much difference between the coffee culture here and the coffee culture in the United States."
Kerric, from "the city of coffee" Seattle, said: "Beijing has a lot of amazing hidden coffee sites, you have to look through the Hutongs to find it, and you have to have an idea about where are you looking for in advance, it’s different from Shanghai."

Apart from coffee, it's hard to ignore that Beijing also has a long history of tea culture. The embodiment of tea in Chinese spiritual culture has been further embodied in books and movies. 

China's coffee culture has gone through a tumultuous time especially when it comes to finding its footing in a country overwhelmed by the tea industry. However, the coffee industry has been embraced by its young citizens.

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