Go Loco for Coco at 'Coconut Everything' Themed Coco Crew

By Sophie Steiner, June 25, 2023

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The Place

The team behind Bottega recently launched a second concept – Coco Crew – conveniently located right in front of the Neapolitan pizza and pasta joint, street adjacent with a sun-soaked patio.

As the name suggests, this spot is all about the detox and retox… with coconuts. Think healthy coconut water-based bevvies and coffee drinks by day, and creative coconut cocktails by night.

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The concept is brought to you by Peter Kwok, previously of one of Beijing’s premier cocktail bars: Black Moth.

In addition to drinks, there’s also tropical island flavor-inspired desserts, all crafted in house by Jacopo Bruni

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

In a city that boasts more coffee shops than anywhere else in the globe, this is a refreshing (pun intended) alternative – one with a focused theme that isn’t just whipping up the wackiest ingredients to score those coveted five-star Dianping reviews and wanghong snaps of cups full of more sugar than coffee. 

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However, we do wonder if the concept of coconut everything is too niche. Is the coconut concept just one of many 'Shanghai latest trends' that will fade as the novelty passes? Or will the team be able to keep the menu engaging enough to warrant repeat visits? 

Only time will tell. But for now, we're hooked. 

The Drinks

Whether detoxing or retoxing, Coco Crew only uses the highest-grade Nam Hom coconuts imported from Thailand, reputed to be the best variety for drinking.

They are grown on dwarf trees, picked at optimum maturity between eight and nine months, and harvested by hand. 

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Prized for their fragrantly sweet taste, the team doesn’t add any additional sugar to any of the non-alcoholic drinks; part of their commitment to serving up health-conscious yet full flavor drinks. 

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Case in point, the Cold Brew Lychee Coconut Water with Peach Gum (RMB38) – a base of black lychee tea cold brewed in coconut water, stirred with fresh lychee and dusted with aromatic osmanthus buds. 

To mimic the springy black 'bubbles,' or zhenzhu, conventionally served in milk tea, peach gum – the resin from Chinese wild peach tree branches that is rich in collagen and amino acids – is used in its place.

Lauded for its TCM benefits – particularly for women – the peach gum can boost metabolism and muscle growth while adding a peachy flavor and bouncy chew to this easy sipper.  

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Equally health conscious, the Black Coconut Water with Lemon & Bubbles (RMB34) is simply C02-charged coconut water blended with activated charcoal and fresh lemon.

The charcoal has a detoxifying effect on the body, absorbing ingested toxins with the gastrointestinal tract preventing their absorption.

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No hangover stands a chance against the unbeatable trifecta – Pocari Sweat (a Japanese sports drink), potassium-filled coconut water, and salt – found in the Pocari Coconut Water (RMB32).

Finished with a slice of lemon and a salt bae-style sprinkle of sea salt, it’s essentially an IV drip in a glass.

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There’s also a smattering of coffee drinks, available both 'coconut-ified' or not; an Americano (RMB32) can be swapped out for an Americoco (RMB32)  with a splash of coconut water rather than mineral water – and a Latte (RMB32) can be upgrade to a Cocolatte (RMB32) – with coconut milk used in place of cow’s milk. 

From abstaining to indulging, the newly launched cocktail menu maintains the same ethos of improving wellbeing and health… but balances it with booze.

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A Southeast Asian riff on a daiquiri, the Coconut Pandan (RMB60) sees Flor de Cana coconut rum shaken with a homemade Sichuan peppercorn syrup poured over coconut water ice cubes.

The real MVP is the pandan extract, adding a warming vanilla sweetness and hint of grassiness that augments the tropical profile.

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And if drinks served in coconuts is your thing, you’re in luck – Coco Crew has a whole Coco Loco (RMB55) program, with the alcohol of your choice poured directly into the branded coconut, no glass necessary.

Choose from Tanbai baijiu, white rum, whisky, plum wine or mezcal, so you can hydrate as you dehydrate. 

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A boozier beverage, the Smoky Jungle (RMB60) is one to put hair on your chest – a high ABV blend of smoky Mezcal Verde Amaras from Oaxaca, pineapple rum, and house-fermented “jungle mix” – passion fruit and pineapple bathed in Campari for four days, before being reduced into a syrup.

A coconut cream topper tempers the bitter, smoky, and fruity notes, bringing drinkers back in for another dram. 

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Enjoy a lineup of 10 libations, with others like the Oaxaca Fashioned (RMB60), Coco Butter High (RMB50), and Fig Garden (RMB60) correspondingly complex and crushable at similarly pocket-friendly prices.

The Desserts

Day or night, caffeine free or fueled, abstemious or liquored up – whatever drink you choose, it’s crafted to fit the dessert counter, one that offers four tasty treats and pre-order cakes. 

Take note, these are on the spendy side for bakery confectionaries – especially compared to the more affordable cocktails.

Coco Crew assure patrons this is due to the number of fresh and imported tropical ingredients that make up the recipes, plus the intricate R&D work that went into building out a pastry menu from scratch. 

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The Americano Puff (RMB48) sees a trio of choux puffs piped with caramel-like sticky espresso cream above a dark chocolate and hazelnut wafer, finished with toasted coconut shavings that connect the three.

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The Tiramisu Éclair (RMB48) combines two of Europe’s best pastries; a white chocolate and desiccated coconut-dusted puff pastry is stuffed with a coffee-forward tiramisu cream, ideal for dunking in a hot Cocolatte.

DSC06232.jpgPina Colada Tart (RMB48), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Almost too cute to eat (almost), the Thai Coconut (RMB48) is a baby coconut in sweet treat form, a thin dusted white chocolate exterior encasing coconut ganache, coconut sponge, and alternating layers of fruity cream in flavors of mango and pineapple, and passion fruit, banana and mango. 

There are also pre-order cakes for RMB168 per cake – available in Coconut Praline, Choco Coco, and Osmanthus Crepe. The Osmanthus Crepe cake can also be purchased by the slice on the spot.

The Vibe 

Coco Crew currently works its way through roughly 3,000 coconuts a month – that's 36,000 coconuts a year – with hopes to increase that number five-fold in the coming year. 

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With an open and airy space that encourages lounging, sipping and daytime work into nighttime socializing, plus a steady flow of people passing through on their way to and from the already popular Bottega, we hope to see Coco Crew serving up coconuts to the Shanghai masses for years to come. 

Price: RMB25-100
Who's Going: The Xuhui coffee and cocktail contingency; Bottega diners; Peter Kwok fans that know him from Beijing
Good For: Detox, retox and everything in between; coconut overload; health-focused caffeine consumption

Coco Crew, 1/F, 101B, K.WAH CENTRE, 108 Xiangyang Bei Lu, by Huaihai Zhong Lu 襄阳北路108号101B嘉华中心1楼, 近淮海中路.

Read more Shanghai Bar Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]

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