California-based Blue Bottle Coffee has recently opened its first store in mainland China.
Yutong Cafe as its name suggests, is located in the former dormitories for the Shanghai Yutong Flour Mill built in 1926. It is a 2-story building which features typical Jiangnan (areas in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) residence and Western elements. Renovations were completed in 2019.
It is the latest addition to the company’s global network of 102 cafes, as well as the latest international brand vying for a piece of the booming local coffee market. CEO Karl Strovink said, “China is a strategic market for Blue Bottle Coffee and one where we see a long future for ourselves.”
The store offers the company’s classic drip coffee and the same signature espresso-based drinks as its other global locations because it aims to serve local guests with the same freshly roasted, high-quality specialty coffee as every location around the world.
Products include Hayes Valley Espresso, Three Africas, Bella Donovan and Giant Steps. At the time of opening, guests can also enjoy three single origin coffees from Ethiopia, Kenya and Honduras.
All coffees are roasted in small batches at the Blue Bottle Coffee Shanghai Pengpu Roastery. It was established to provide fresh and delicious coffee for its stores on the Chinese mainland as it has ambitious plans to expand its domestic network.
Apart from coffee, the store also offers special food menu from waffles, to pound cake and Shanghai traditional desserts.
A CBN data report showed that China’s coffee consumption has witnessed a year-on-year increase of 30% in recent years. First-tier cities consume 326 cups of coffee on average per person per year, with Shanghai leading the field. Shanghai has actually overtaken New York in having the largest number of coffee shops in the world. A year ago, the city had nearly 7,000 coffee shops.