For many in the West, 2016 will be remembered for Trump, Brexit, terrorism in Europe and an absurd number of pop culture deaths, from Bowie to Muhammad Ali. By comparison, China had an unusually quiet year. Nonetheless, there were still a few goings-on in the world's most populous country.
In our 2016 Year in Review series, we recap the best (and worst) of China's year in the worlds of technology, social media, sport, fashion, food, arts and more.
Last year around this time, it was hard to find a decent cup of joe in Guangzhou. We had Laihui Coffee open in September 2015 and Nido on Huajiu Lu soon after, but neither attracted the kind of following that these next few specialty coffee shops enjoy.
If you like to know where your beans are sourced, fancy an intimate convo with your local barista or just want a consistent, tasty brew, these top-rated coffee shops are for you.
A minimalist, NYC-esque coffee shop, Lock Chuck Coffee rocks urban chic without feeling cliche. Beans are sourced from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters in New York City, and feature a blend of three origins for a medium yet satisfying brew. Chuck and his team are ready and willing to serve you with a smile, so pull up a chair and relish an afternoon in this cozy cafe located just outside Ouzhuang Metro Station, Exit B1.
Who’s going: hipster types, nostalgic expats looking for a cozy spot to socialize
Good for: awesome coffee, friendly service, laid-back environment
Hidden in a maze of secluded alleyways, Feel More – Guangzhou’s first authentic bagel shop – lures customers with its calming, sunny sensation and familiar aroma of onions, sesame seeds and yeast. Voted Cafe of the Year by readers at the 2016 That’s PRD Food and Drink Awards, Feel More is adored by bagel fans and coffee addicts alike.
Who’s going: New Yorkers, brunch crowds
Good for: bagels with cream cheese, BLTs, Kettle chips
3. Apf. Kafe
Inspired by Scandinavian design, this sleek cafe is a cool spot to get your daily caffeine fix (and free VPN access). All single-origin beans are roasted by Seven Seeds in Australia and pour-overs come with a card listing the beans’ origin, process and producer as well as flavor composition. There are also mouth-watering pastries by Perma Bakery and Melbourne’s rich Mörk hot chocolate for non-coffee drinkers.
Who’s going: fans of Australian coffee culture
Good for: Wi-Fi that scales walls, tracing the origin of your coffee
Like your coffee made the same way every time, no exceptions? At The Scientist, every cup is a highly controlled experiment held to precise, predetermined standards of weight, temperature, pressure and time, so that your lips touch the most flavorful beverage possible given today’s technology. Head to the second floor of the mall behind Citic Plaza for a taste of the famed mocha and gibraltar.
Who’s going: young coffee junkies, world-class baristas
Good for: the city’s most ingenious mocha, exploring coffee gadgets
Pristine and eye-catching, this white and wood-framed cafe sits on Tianhe Nan Yi Lu, right across the street from Parc Central, making it convenient but also cozy, set away from the commotion of the mall. The house specialty is premium coffee from Papua New Guinea – a tribute to the proprietor’s motherland, where he used to help his family grow and sort coffee beans.
Who’s going: discerning caffeine addicts
Good for: premium filtered coffee, a leisurely break from Tiyu Xi Lu
For more 2016 Year in Review coverage, click here.