The best Beijing cafés for serious coffee

Get your third-wave fix at one of Beijing's homegrown roasters

Not all coffees are created equal, and some Beijing cafés understand this better than others. While the city was long a wasteland for serious caffeine connoisseurs, the past few years have seem some commendable third-wave joints pop up around town. These guys offer high quality and freshly ground beans, often with a choice of blends, and know their cappos from their crappos. Some even use fresh milk, the joy!

It's worth noting that anywhere in Beijing that serves proper coffee seems constitutionally incapable of serving food worth eating. For the best places to grab a bite or a pastry, check out our list of Beijing foodie cafés.

Gulou

Barista Coffee

The OG of the new-wave coffee scene in Beijing, this tiny hutong spot channels the chic café vibe to a T, avoiding any of the pretentiousness that often comes with Serious CoffeeTM. The drinks here aren’t the cheapest but they’re very good and come with a Lotus biscuit on the side. Try the soda iced americano (30RMB) for something different.

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47 Wudaoying Hutong (Miyun county)

Metal Hands

Metal Hands was an early contender in the battle for the city's favourite Nordic-inspired, hipster location to sip on a good brew and rightly so; the coffee (espresso-based, 20-30RMB) is good quality and the atmosphere is charming, though you may struggle to bag one of the few available seats.

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61 Wudaoying Hutong (Miyun county)

Voyage Coffee

A longstanding classic on the potentially not-so-longstanding Beiluoguxiang, Voyage has a limited but quality menu of coffees that are made expertly.

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80 Beiluoguxiang

CBD

Basic Coffee

This café is lit. Not quite in the 'Turn down for what' party sense, but in the ambient stakes, Basic Coffee’s swathing in natural straight-from-the-sun glow makes it one of the most pleasant perches in town – belying its location in the rather dilapidated Jianwai SOHO, just south of Guomao. Even better, it serves up some of the best brews in town, and is one of the few with a creamy, summery nitro – nitrogen-blasted cold brew – on tap (38RMB). 

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Henghui Dong Lu

Da Xiao (CBD)

The best value coffee in the city. A mere 22RMB for a top-notch flat white, and 25RMB a latte whose quality is unbeatable. The owner, Zhang Yipeng, is also an avid tea enthusiast, whose ground-tea chapuccino (25RMB) and chaffogato (35RMB) creations give this place another edge.

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1 Jianguomenwai Daijie

Sanlitun

Bracket

Come to Bracket and have a frenzied battalion of baristas – there must be ten of them – swarm over your order like flies on a T-bone. Of all the imported elements of the Western coffee experience to make it to Bracket, aloof-but-informed service has not, but when our latte (42RMB – ouch) lands, it doesn’t matter. Poured into a wide-mouth cup, you've got a ripper cuppa that would stand up in the world’s specialist coffee cities. 

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8 Gongti Bei Lu

Soloist Coffee Co (Sanlitun)

The pioneers of the third-wave coffee revolution in Beijing, Soloist even hosted the city's first-ever Indie Coffee Festival earlier this year. The coffee is roasted in house and the staff are passionate coffee buffs. You can even get a tasting flight of three aromatic blends.

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S1-18 19 Sanlitun Lu

Dashliar

Berry Beans Café

Hidden in the 'eight great hutongs' of Dashilan, this little gem is a real find. Housed in a former brothel, Berry Beans Café is now a modern and charming coffee house. They serve a good quality cup of coffee but also a bunch of other drinks, including home-brewed beers.

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Zhujia Hutong 7

Soloist Coffee Co (Dashilar)

The original branch of the original coffee kings of Beijing. Coffee here is a craft more than a business, it's no wonder they spearheaded the city's first Indie Coffee Festival.

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39 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (Fengtai)

Xicheng

Coffee Tags

There's not much here apart from the coffee, but boy is it good. The South African filter we try (45RMB, others go up to 65RMB per cup) is wonderful – smooth, thick, chocolatey and bitter with a strength and complexity of flavour we’ve yet to find anywhere else in Beijing (and we've tried a lot). It's also flippin' expensive, small, and prepared by one waiter and approximately six bits of equipment. 

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85 Huguosi Street

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