The best cafés in Beijing

The best spots in Beijing to get your caffeine fix


Cafés are an indispensable part of life in Beijing. Be honest now – can you imagine making it through the week without these temples to the gods of steamed milk, roasted beans and scones?

Whether it's for that extra pick-me-up on the way to the office, a quiet spot for a meeting, or a comfortable chair to set up shop for the day, we are always on the look out for awesome new coffee houses. Here are our some of our favourites.

Sanlitun

Moka Bros (Sanlitun)

Champion of smoothies and cool tattoos, Sanlitun's Moka Bros has locked down the fast-casual/café/bar concept for over two years now. Moka Bros also has branches in The Place and Solana, making it a reliable and steadfast hangout for work and play. And with the all-day menu and plenty of after-hours treats, there's something for every hour of the day.

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81 Sanlitun Lu (Sanlitun, Chaoyang)

C5 Café

We admit that the pour over, single origin hysteria that has gripped much of the coffee drinking world is beginning to wear on us, but this secluded gallery-cafe does it right. With an ultra modern, minimalist interior and out-of-the-way locale, you're almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself – all the better to soak up every last drop of that 100RMB cup of coffee. Don't miss the sweet edible offerings, either.

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5 Xiwu Jie (Chaoyang, Chaoyang)

Village Café

Whether it's a bánh mì sandwich outside on the terrace in the summer or an 80RMB 100% Australian wagyu beef burger on its Wednesday burger night, Village Café overwhelms with its variety of killer dining options. It's also an ideal spot for a meeting or interview (let's just say Time Out editors' expense accounts have more than a few charges to Village Cafe). It's not all business, though – the Sunday brunch is also not to be missed.

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11 Sanlitun Lu (Sanlitun, Chaoyang)

There Will Be Bread

There Will Be Bread offers respectable takes on classics that hardly rewrite the book on the age-old staples of French baking, but are a pleasant addition to an area already rich in options for Western confectionery. Oh, and wonderful almond croissants. Great name, too.

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5-155 Xingfucun Zhong Lu

Soloist Coffee Co (Sanlitun)

The third branch of the popular artisan coffee company (also found in Dashilar and on Financial Street), which takes a clinical approach to its craft: the coffee is roasted in house and stored in an old police station locker in glass jars, labelled with the beans’ diverse notes and exotic origins. Sit back in one of the chairs, salvaged from an old church, and observe the ritualistic pour-over (35-55RMB).

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S1-18 19 Sanlitun Lu

Tienstiens

A delightful French café with hard to beat baked goods. Baguettes are baked fresh daily and deliver a dark brown crust and fragrant, open crumb, while the canneles are wonderfully chewy, with a caramelised bark of sugar and fat encasing a soft custardy crumb that coats the mouth like a spoonful of rich pudding you wish mum could have mustered.

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Courtyard 4 Gongti Bei Lu

Home Grounds

Healthy salads and smoothies served in a hip and airy straight-outta-Sydney style Sanlitun joint.

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39-3 Xingfu'ercun

Gulou

Café Zarah

The achingly hip Gulou Dong Dajie mainstay serves one of the best coffees around and continues to offer a wealth of laptop space for eager would-be novelists. The gorgeous space now features a full all-day menu, too.

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46 Gulou Dong Dajie (Gulou, Dongcheng)

Hatchery

As well as the various pop-ups that Hatchery so wonderfully hosts throughout the year, there's also always a café open, serving decent coffee and pastries. The light and airy environment is usually pretty quiet during the daytime, perfect for getting a spot of work done.

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88 Dongsi Jiutiao (Beixinqiao, Dongcheng)

Barista Coffee

A place for the specialist coffee drinker. There’s nowhere to casually sip over a laptop in its narrow space, which is limited to six stools that put you right up against the machines. But this intimacy sets the stage for one hell of a performance from your barista.

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47 Wudaoying Hutong (Yonghegong/Lama Temple, Dongcheng)

Da Xiao (大小)

Crystal clear coffee made with no fuss but plenty of flavour. Da Xiao is definitely more on the xiao side, only seating about five people, but there are also standing spots with fold out tables that you can loiter by until a stool becomes free.

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80-1 Xiang'er hutong

Voyage Coffee

Just around the corner from the crowds on Nanluoguxiang, this cool coffee spot is all exposed brick walls and medicinal looking crockery. The coffee's not half bad either, and the space is big and quiet enough work in.

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80 Beiluoguxiang

Lido

Tribe (Lido)

Upmarket health-focused restaurant specialising in organic food, with breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus and a good selection of coffees. Perfect for vegetarians and vegans, it transitions to have more of a nightclub vibe at night, with a DJ on Wednesdays and artisan cocktails.

Kids and pet friendly.

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6 Jiangtai Road (Lido, Chaoyang)

CBD

Café FLO

A fast-casual Parisian concept from the culinary ambassadors at Brasserie Flo. From French-style open-faced sandwiches to duck confit, Café Flo is a little taste of Paris in Parkview Green mall.

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9 Dongdaqiao Lu (CBD, Chaoyang)

Moka Bros (The Place)

Beijing’s original homegrown café and casual dining brand offers plenty of well-lit space, a solid pastry selection and a full dinner menu suitable for both work and play.

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9 Guanghua Street (Central Park, Chaoyang)

Jiang Mai Tang (Chaoyang)

Jiang Mai Tang is a stylish contemporary Chinese pâtisserie (formerly L'Atelier) located near Central Park. 

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6 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie (CBD, Chaoyang)

798

27. Café and Bakery

A bright and airy extension of Italian eatery Florentina, 27. Café serves up classic grilled sandwiches, house-made gelato, imported coffees and a full range of éclairs and macarons, prepared fresh daily.

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6 Fangyuan Xilu (Chaoyang, Chaoyang)

Green Cow City Café

Green Cow City Café serves up some of the freshest, most feel-good organic food and coffee in Beijing. Expect freshly baked bagels, pita bread and hummus, off-the-hook ricotta cheese pancakes, organic sausages, porchetta pizza, meatloaf and more. It might be a bit out of the way, but once you're there this hidden gem is a great place to while away an afternoon.

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Courtyard behind building 13 Sanfangjie (Lido, Chaoyang)

Dashilar

Soloist Coffee Co (Dashilar)

Arguably the original gangster of Beijing's highbrow third wave coffee scene, Soloist has been serving up curated beans since before it was cool. This Dashilar café is a must-go for anyone who takes coffee seriously. With a lack of decent cafes near Tiananmen Square, Soloist is an absolute life-saver. Lord knows you need a decent drink after traipsing around the National Museum of China for hours.

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39 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (Dashilar, Xicheng)

Financial Street

Soloist Coffee Co (Financial Street)

Critics' pick

Soloist serves seriously good coffee in concrete-chic environs. The team of baristas transcend the usual levels of java obsession and can crack the shell of even the most hardened skeptics of ‘third-wave’ coffee, the movement to produce and advocate artisanal brews. If you consider coffee merely a tool for the delivery of caffeine to ease the pain of your daily struggle for 7am consciousness, we suggest you venture over to Soloist for an education.

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3 Jingchengfang Jie (Financial Street, Xicheng)

Liangmaqiao and Chaoyang Park

Moka Bros (Solana)

Healthy Western and Asian-inspired meals and snacks at the breezy Chaoyang joint of this popular café (also found in Sanlitun and the CBD) – the coffee's not half bad, either.

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6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu

Baker & Spice

The first Beijing branch of the Shanghai concept from the folks behind Wagas, Baker & Spice offers a full range of baked goods, from oat loaves to an epic, thick-cut carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A selection of imported wines and top sandwiches and coffee make it one of our go-to spots.

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19 Dongfang Dong Lu (Chaoyang, Chaoyang)

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