Chinese Coffee Culture: Is Coffee Popular in China?

Coffee Culture in China

In China, is it tea or coffee 

that is thriving?


As we all know, or just now finding out,

tea has been a big and important part of Chinese Culture.

In China, tea became an integral segment of Buddhist practice,

so much so that it is said that Zen and tea share the same flavor.

The act of drinking tea developed into a ceremony and spiritual practice.

There’s a story that describes how the Chinese discovered tea.

Emperor Shen Nung (the mythical Chinese inventor of agriculture,)

was sitting under a tree

 while his servant boiled drinking water 

when some leaves from the tree blew into it.


The Emperor thought he would try the accidentally created infusion. 

The tree was Camellia sinensis, 

and the result was the tea we know today.

The story is beautiful and it’s hard to know if it’s true, 

but it’s nice to think about it.

Nevertheless, during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) 

tea was established as the national drink of China.

How did coffee step

 onto the scene in China?


According to the BBC article,  coffee is elbowing its way into tea culture in China.

That’s right. They are not giving up on their tea tradition

 but instead welcoming a new one – coffee consumption. 


It has skyrocketed in recent years. So, yes. 

People drink coffee in China. Nevertheless, China’s population drinks much less coffee 

per person than the West.


Surprisingly though, Shanghai has the most coffee shops in the world.

Known as the city that introduced coffee to China in the 1800s, 

Shanghai now has nearly 6,000 coffeehouses.


There is even a coffee festival in Shanghai worth attending. 

Shanghai Coffee Festival is “a heaven for foodies, a great place to discover new cafés.” 

Don’t be surprised by the fact that millennials and gen Z in China, love their cup of joe

in an aesthetically pleasing cafe and in good company, too.


Young people are adopting Western fashion, watching American movies,

taking their coffees at Starbucks, driving German cars, and so on.

More and more Chinese people learn to drink coffee thanks to Starbucks.


How did Starbucks succeed in China?

Coffee Culture in China

Starbucks has been present in China since 1999.

When Starbucks entered the market, they understood that it wasn’t about the coffee at first. 

There was a revival of the “tea house culture” that had existed for thousands of years.


In other words, Starbucks embraced the concept of being a “third place” 

between home and work and brought that approach to China —

but with a modernized, upscale, Western approach.

Western brands have an advantage over local Chinese brands 

because there is a common reputation that western brands have better 

and high quality products and services.

Therefore knowing that Starbucks has opened 5,100 stores in 200 cities 

in mainland China shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Urban Chinese coffee consumers love to experiment with new products 

especially from the West.


Having this in mind, Starbucks already has plans 

to enter 100 new Chinese cities by 2022.


China is definitely on track to become a coffee-drinking nation.



German Coffee Culture

Kaffeeklatsch is a social tradition in Germany

Apart from the beer, believe it or not, this is not everything Germans drink.

They’ve been loving their cup of joe since forever.

We can’t speak about Germany and its coffee culture 

without mentioning the word Kaffeeklatsch first.


It translates to coffee chatter. “Klatch” means gossip.

So when you combine the two it becomes

gossiping or chit-chatting over a cup of coffee.


The history behind this word is interesting.

Women were prohibited from sitting inside the coffee houses 

in most countries, except in Germany. 


German women visited coffee houses regularly

and started their own coffee clubs in order

to satisfy their social and coffee needs.


From time to time men would protest because

they didn’t really appreciate women gathering and gossiping over a cup of joe.


Nevertheless, the term kaffeeklatsch was born.


Kaffee und Kuchen



To further explain the German Coffee Culture we need to mention Kaffee und Kuchen
  • Coffee and Cake.

It’s a social ritual in Germany. 


A chance to reunite with old friends,

grab a cup of coffee with colleagues, and a possibility for new friends to get acquainted.

It has been a ritual that gathers family and friends 

over a leisurely mid-afternoon pause from the everyday grind ever since.

Germans surely do enjoy their cup of coffee and they love to take their time drinking it

just like the French prefer it.


Here’s something you may like to know that we also found very interesting.

In 1908, Melitta filters and drip coffee were founded by a housewife in Minden, Germany.

She was in search of a better way to make a cleaner cup of coffee. 


So she punched holes in a brass pot and used a piece of paper

to create a two-part filtration system.

She put the pot on a cup, filled it with ground coffee and poured in hot water. 

The coffee filter and drip coffee were born.


Another mind blowing fact is that Germany is the second largest importer

of coffee in the world, after the U.S.A 

and they are also the largest coffee consumers.

Even the Italians are in 3rd place.


Coffee Types in Germany


Pharisäer Coffee in Germany


If you ever wanted to drink coffee and alcohol in one cup, 

Germans have it and it’s called Pharisäer Kaffee.

It’s a traditional beverage from northwestern Germany,

made with coffee, a bit of rum and a generous dose of whipped cream on top.


Another one Germans enjoy is Eiskaffee.

Eiskaffee Coffee Type in Germany

This German-style ice coffee is a combination of chilled brewed coffee and ice cream.

It is usually made with an extended espresso and a scoop of vanilla ice cream,

and though it is not sweetened, it can incorporate a splash of rum.

It is usually served with a straw and a spoon in a tall glass.



The third option is called Caffè crema.

In Germany, it is used as a default type of black coffee,

known as “Café Crème” or simply “Kaffee”. 


Many people think that Caffé crema is made of different coffee beans,

when in fact, it is the brewing process that makes it different from other coffees.

The term “Caffè crema” was originally used to refer to espresso,

but since the 1980s it has been referred to as an espresso that is longer.


All in all, Germany is a beautiful country with a long history and a rich culture.

You can find very aesthetically pleasing coffee shops in Germany

where you can enjoy your Eiskaffe on a hot day and take a moment to pause.




Japanese Coffee Culture: Kissatens

Have you heard about the fascinating Japanese Coffee Culture?

 Let’s travel back in time and learn a little about the very beginnings of this amazing culture.

 A brief history of coffee in Japan:


Coffee arrived through Dutch traders in 1700. 

As the turn of the century approached, coffee became more popular.

But the trend lost momentum after Japan banned all coffee imports following the Second World War.

It wasn’t until the early 1960s that coffee began freely flowing into the country again. 

In the 1960s, easy-to-brew instant coffee was imported and swept into households around the country.

So coffee’s popularity grew steadily throughout the decade.


As soon as Eikei Tei (also known as Tsurukichi Nishimura) returned from

 studying overseas, he opened the first Japanese coffee shop in Ueno. 

Inspired by coffee shops in France where artists and writers would socialize, 

he wanted to create something similar in his home country. 


Only a few years later, the cafe was closed. 

Toward the end of the Meiji Period, coffee started to gain popularity, 

and one by one, coffee shops started to appear around Tokyo.

Most coffee shops are located in Tokyo’s sophisticated Ginza district,

which is mainly visited by artists and influential people. 


Kissatens of the Japanese Coffee Culture 

Coffee Culture in Japan / Kissaten

The name Kissaten means “tea drinking shop”.

It’s a tearoom and a coffee shop at the same time. 

In the early 20th century, they evolved to stand out from 

noisy cafes that also sold alcohol. 


A Kissaten is a quiet café where you can sip your coffee in peace.

Some Kissaten are also places to reflect alone,

in front of a book, on a smartphone or in one’s own thoughts. 

The pleasantly quiet atmosphere

there are even Kissaten, 

in which loud talking is prohibited and you’re only allowed to whisper

– and the musical accompaniment by either classical music or jazz,

only adds to this.

It is no wonder that they were called “the third place”.


Instead of drinking coffee at home or in your office,

you can go somewhere else (kissaten) to enjoy it in peace.

The concept of kissaten is slowly fading away these days.

Before we move onto the new age stuff,

we have to inform you a bit more about these cafes 

because they deserve a paragraph or two.

We can’t speak about the Japanese Coffee Culture 

without mentioningKodawari”.

It can’t be really translated to English but we could say that


Kodawari is a relentless pursuit of precision, quality,

attention to detail and craftsmanship in one’s work, craft, or endeavor. 


Can you now imagine how much effort and

love Kissaten owner put in while brewing your coffee and servicing it?

How precise and crafty they are. 

Cafe in Japan/ Japanese Coffee Culture

Now, the scenery is a bit different.

Younger generations appreciate trendy and

minimalist establishments to enjoy their coffee.

Starbucks made it to Japan, too, you know? 

Kissatens are no longer the first choice for a coffee spot.


What’s the current coffee situation in Japan?

People in Japan waiting in front of Starbucks

Japan ranks 4th in the world for coffee consumption. 

Coffee shops are now at almost every corner. Vending machines, too.

These machines have everything you need, canned coffee, too.

The Japanese are kinda obsessed with it.

How couldn’t they be?

Vending Machines in Japan / Canned Coffee

Leading such a busy life and working long hours doesn’t give you time to sit down and sip on espresso.

Hello, canned coffee life!

Cheap price.

Easy availability.

Different flavors make this coffee very popular in Japan.


Morning Service in Japan


Also in the morning before work, if you happen to be in Japan,

you can go to a coffee shop or a restaurant

that serves breakfast either for free or

 for discounted prices when you order coffee.

They call this “Morning Service” or simply “Morning” in Japan.

Because of this information, 

we wish we could be in Tokyo as soon as tomorrow.


Of course there are popular Japanese retail companies

 and one of them is Doutor.

They specialize in coffee roasting and coffee shop franchising.

When we say popular we mean over 900 locations in Japan.


Last but not least, Japanese culture has another neat fact about it:

Sitting alone in a restaurant is totally acceptable. 

Freedom is what we like about this culture. 

Therefore, the next time you’re in Japan, or your first time, 

try eating your meal without any pressure, go to the vending machine

for a canned cup of coffee and most importantly, enjoy.