Shanghai Has More Coffee Shops Than Any Other City in the World

By Sophie Steiner, April 6, 2021

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With the opening of Shanghai Coffee Culture Week, which runs through April 11, the Rising Lab – a research-focused branch of Shanghai’s business media group Yicai – published a report last week finding that Shanghai has more coffee shops than any other city in the entire world. 

With over 7,000 coffee shops to choose from, Shanghai towers over other major cities, like the 3,233 shops in London, 3,826 shops in Tokyo and the mere 1,591 coffee venues in New York. 

On a per capita scale, London does sneak its way into the lead, with 3.69 coffee shops per 10,000 people, whereas Shanghai and Tokyo clock in at roughly the same – 2.85 shops per 10,000 people. 

Starbucks Reserve Roastery at HKRI TaiKoo Hui in Shanghai, ChinaImage via Unsplash

Of these over 7,000 coffee-focused cafes, 6,913 of them are standalone shops – as of January – excluding any convenience store coffee services and fast-food restaurants. About 35% of the total coffee shops belong to major coffee chains, like Costa and Starbucks, while more than 50% of shops are boutique or artisanal. 

The street rocking the most cafes in Shanghai is Huaihai Zhong Lu, with nearly 50 cafes spanning this major boulevard, but Nanjing Xi Lu comes in as a close second with 41 shops, followed by Wenhui Lu with 37. On more than 15 Shanghai streets, daywalkers will come across one coffee shop within every 100 meters; Fengjing Lu sports the highest density with five cafes per 100 meters. 

The coffee market has been on the rise in China in recent years, with data compiled from Statista projecting revenue in China’s coffee market to grow by 11.3% annually. 

We have seen this in the exponential explosion of Fourth Wave coffee shops that feature menus with coffee cocktails, coffee-juice combinations and environmentally and socially conscious coffee bean options. 

Image via Coffee t&i Magazine

The growing coffee culture in Shanghai is a trend that is here to stay – ricocheting out into the rest of the Chinese mainland and causing people of all ages to swap those teacups for coffee mugs. 

The days of the world’s best baristas hailing only from established coffee regions like Australia, Italy and Panama are over, and Du Jianing, a Nanjing-based barista, proved just that by winning the 2019 World Brewers Cup, held in Boston. 

As the first Chinese barista to win the international competition, she is helping put China on the coffee map, paving the way for many others in her footsteps. 

[Cover image via Unsplash]

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