A nice cup of coffee, by John Iuga

Before I arrived in Beijing I had never drunk a full cup of coffee; tasted it of course, but never completed a full mug of the brown stuff. To some people this comes as a shock – given my Italian heritage and the associated stereotype. However, being wary of the effects of the energy drinks in a less regulated drinks market – in comparison to the UK – I needed another way to loosen jet-lag’s strong grip around my tired eyes. In the two months I’ve been here I can now say I am a coffee-drinker, and I almost wear it like a badge of honour. I find there are two extremes to how I drink coffee now: either using really cheap sachets of coffee bought from the local market; or going to coffee bars which are so unfortunately hipster they should give you a complementary beanie and neck scarf at the door. A nice tasting (and beautifully presented) cup of Joe in 314.coffee or Maancat (both in Shijingshan) will set you back 30-35RMB. If you’re looking to further solidify your loyalty to familiar home-brands such as Starbucks and Costa then you’re in luck, however here you’re looking at roughly 40-50RMB a cup. You may be seeking an expert’s opinion on the quality of the coffee, but given that I used to hate the stuff before I came here, then it must be, at the very least, tolerable. Besides, finding a choice of coffee is not difficult, have fun finding a decent loaf of bread!

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