Best Shanghai Cafés and Coffee Houses

Where to drink good coffee in Shanghai

I am a great imbiber. I start my day with a coffee or two, drink tea through the late morning and all afternoon and then enjoy happy hour/sundowners/or a good glass of wine with dinner (or all three...)

When I first arrived in Shanghai, the choices for decent coffee didn't range far away from the five-star hotel lobbies and my own kitchen. Now there's a wide range of choices for a decent cup. I do like my coffee on the strong side and I am a cappuccino drinker no matter what time of day. But herewith below you'll find listings that will likely meet your own criteria of a good cup.

  • 01 of 10
    ••• Amokka Cafe logo. Courtesy of Amokka Café Shanghai. All rights reserved.

    I like Amokka because it has a big and airy upstairs with comfortable seating and a few plugs for old computers like mine whose batteries don't last very long. They have a full range of coffees, drinks and food so you can start with coffee and breakfast in the morning and work your way through to lunch. The coffee is good and the atmosphere is nice.

    Address: 201 Anfu Road | 安福路201号
    Tel: +86 21 5404 0998
    Opening Hours: daily 7am-midnight

  • 02 of 10

    Baker & Spice (Chain)

    ••• Baker & Spice logo. Courtesy of Baker & Spice. All rights reserved.

    When Baker & Spice opened its first outlet on trendy Anfu Road, it was a boon from Heaven. Shanghai didn't have a good bakery scene and this cool little cafe serving amazing baked goods, breads and excellent coffees was a huge and immediate success. It has now expanded to multiple locations around Shanghai (mostly in big shopping malls) but I still like Anfu Road for its chummy staff and intimate atmosphere.

    The coffees are decent and they make a super strong cappuccino that is very much to my liking. Stick with a small size though, their "medium" size is crazy big.

    Address: Multiple locations (see their website for a list). First and coziest cafe at 195 Anfu Road | 安福路195号
    Tel: +86 21 5404 2733
    Opening Hours: daily 7am-8pm

  • 03 of 10

    Café del Volcán

    ••• Perfect packaging - Café del Volcán's signature labeling. Photo courtesy of Café del Volcán. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

    Café del Volcán is as much of a place to go and buy coffee beans as it is to drink coffee. This small café boutique specializes in its own signature blends and roasts its own beans. The coffees are exquisite and you'll probably find yourself buying bags for gifts to take home.

    Address: 80 Yongkang Road near Xiangyang Road | 永康路80号近襄阳路
    Coffee Hotline: +86 156 1866 9291
    Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-8pm; Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm

  • 04 of 10
    ••• Cafe Paddy's decor is whimsical and interesting but the coffee is still good. © 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Cafe Paddy is a tiny but lovely, whimsical and confusing cafe in Shanghai's former French Concession. Go for good coffees during the day or nice cocktails in the evening.

    Address: 394 Yongjia Road, near Taiyuan Road | 永嘉路394号, 近太原路
    Tel: +86 21 6466 8608
    Opening Hours: Daily 11am-11:30pm

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    GZ Café

    ••• A coffee for me, a duck for my daughter at GZ Cafe in Shanghai. © 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    The neighborhood GZ Café is in is as much fun to visit as the cafe itself. Located in one of the lane houses in Jing'An Villas, the neighborhood is a lovely lane community and also full of little shops and cafes. Located just off Nanjing Xi Road, one of the (many) fancy-pants shopping districts in Shanghai (get your Gucci across the street), it shows a local, funkier side of life. The cafe serves good coffees in a super-casual atmosphere. Bookshelves are full of whimsical objects. I enjoyed the coffee. My daughter enjoyed the toys.

    Address: Jing'An Villas, Lane 1025 Nanjing Lu, House #162 | 南京西路1025弄162号
    Opening Hours: daily 10am-6pm

  • 06 of 10
    ••• A delicious latte from Melange Oasis, Shanghai. © 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Cousin of Vienna Café, this organic restaurant serves excellent coffees as well as an array of good standards like sandwiches and pasta dishes. They also always have freshly made cakes and pastries. It's very kid friendly too with access to and seating in a big, closed courtyard, high chairs, and bean bags. Check into their events too, they often screen movies.

    Address: Jiashan Market, Shaanxi Nan Road, Lane 550, No. 37 – Building D | 嘉善市场,陕西南路550弄 37号 D栋
    Tel: +86 21 6433 7727
    Opening Hours: daily 9am-10pm

  • 07 of 10
    ••• Rumors Coffee front bar and coffee display. © 2012 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Rumors is about hand-crafted, exquisite and expensive drip coffee. The Japanese owners bring over beans imported originally to Japan (Japan gets all the good stuff) and then roast and drip the coffee per order.

    The shop is tiny: there are 4 stools at the bar and room for 4 people to sit - intimately - in a small room facing the street. But the owners are delightful to chat with and there always seems to be someone who can speak Chinese and English if your Japanese is rusty. They happily explain the different beans and love to give you a whiff of the beans to help with your choice.

    I personally found the coffee on the weak side.

    Address: 9 Hunan Road | 湖南路9号
    Tel: +86 21 3460 5708
    Opening Hours: T-Th 11am-7:30pm, Fri-Sun 11am-9:30pm

  • 08 of 10
    ••• Good morning cappuccino at Sumerian Coffee Roasters, Shanghai. © 2013 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Cozy Jing'An café specializing in own-roasted coffees and blends.

    Address: Sumerian Coffee Roasters is at 415 Shaanxi Bei Road near Beijing Xi Road | 陕西北路415号近北京西路
    Coffee Hotline: +86 138 1843 7240
    Opening Hours: daily 9am-6pm

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    ••• Vienna Cafe exterior, Shaoxing Road. © 2007 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

    Vienna was the first place in Europe to open a coffee house and the style of coffee associated with the Viennese is sweet and creamy. Vienna Cafe on charming Shaoxing Road in the heart of Shanghai's former French Concession is owned and operated by a real, live Austrian so it exudes authenticity.

    Vienna Cafe serves all ranges of coffees and they're all good (I've tried them). Their Viennese cafe is basically dessert with a kick but they do a great latte too. Go on Saturday for lunch and have a yummy schnitzel too. Thursday night is movie night.

    Address: 25 Shaoxing Road, Shanghai | 绍兴25路
    Tel: +86 21 6445 2131
    Opening Hours: Sun-Wed 8am-8pm, Thurs-Sat 8am-10pm

  • 10 of 10

    Xun Mi Cafe & Coin Qian Design Boutique

    ••• Exterior of Xun Mi cafe down a lovely lane in Shanghai's Jing'An District. Photo by Sara Naumann. All rights reserved.

    Xun Mi is a tiny cafe that is all about the fun of finding it and the bonuses you get when you do - enjoy vintage decor and shopping through Coin Qian's designer art, handbags and scarves.

    Address: Yuyuan Road Lane 541, House 30 | 愚园路541弄30号近镇宁路
    Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm