Nanjing is flooded with coffee shops all vying to become your number one choice when it comes to satisfying your daily caffeine craving. There seem to be a plenty of options, so the real question is: Which one do you pick? If you’re bored of Costa clones or the same old Starbucks, Nanjing has numerous coffee shop ventures where you’ll find tempting treats, cosy couches and the very best barista’s brew. Wander the alleyways and you’ll find free wifi, drinks offers and most importantly, freshly ground and brewed coffee. Here is a list that will bring you the guide to the very best places to go for great coffee in Nanjing.
1. Sculpting in Time 雕刻时光咖啡馆
Sculpting in Time remains a steadfast favourite for coffee in Nanjing, favoured by a young clientele of local students, expats and teachers. The original branch sits close to the north entrance of Nanjing Daxue in a stylish second floor space with expertly prepared coffee, delicious teas (with seemingly endless free refills), decent food, and the best cheesecake in Nanjing. The international habit of treating coffee shops as a home away from home, or office away from the office, is alive and well in Sculpting in Time.
Friends lounge on sofas, couples enjoy candlelit dinners and there’s usually a number of students beavering away in the relatively quiet surrounds, making use of the free wifi.
Add: 2F, 47 Hankou Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8359 7180
Opening Times: 08:30 – 23:30
2. Maan Coffee
Industrial interior mixed with wooden elements makes Maan Coffee a welcoming atmosphere, allowing various options for your working nook. They’ve got a beautiful space, with good lighting on most tables and plugs everywhere. Better – and rare here – their wifi will never disappoint you. You can find different types of dishes: ice creams, waffles, toasts, hot and cold drinks. It’s good for any moment because some are more like meals and some are more like desserts so it’s perfect at any time, but especially for brunch! It really a good place that worth a try.
Add: GuLou District QingJiang Road 1, Nanjing
Tel: 025-85872858 / 025-85607277
AJ’s serves up a mixture of soft jazz, Chinese and Western rock covers with an eclectic drinks menu and vaguely Moroccan style decor, creating a distinctly international flavour. There’s an incredibly relaxed atmosphere here, where it’s perfectly acceptable to pop in for an afternoon nap on one of the leather sofas, chill out with a good film on your laptop, or settle in with your studies for the day. On a busy corner down the backstreets between Nanjing Daxue and Shanghai Lu, AJ’s attracts local students with free wifi, large cups of strong coffee, and patio seating out front (though less appealing in the cooler months).
Add: 11 Nanxiu Village, Hankou Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8330 9671
With comfortable and fresh decor, Motu NZ Burger Co is based in Nanjing’s beautiful Laomendong near the Fuzimiao temples. They serve an array of New Zealand inspired gourmet burgers, New Zealand beer, coffee and New Zealand ice cream. Motu is more of a cafe than a restaurant and the menu is small and simple, but the food always lives up to your expectations. Very nice Cappuccino which can be hard to find around town.
Add: No.107 Gutongxiang, Laomendong, Nanjing
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 10:30am – 10pm
5. 3 Coffee
With barber shop awnings and a bright blue facade, 3 Coffee teeters over the beeping horns and bustling bodies on Shanghai Lu. Offering all the usual coffee shop fare, 3 Coffee stands out from a growing crowd of coffee hangouts for its rustic charm, outdoor seating and bookshelves overloaded with (mostly Chinese) books, arts magazines and movies. Amongst eclectic antiques and peeling paint, quirky music and tattered armchairs you can look down on the hubbub of Shanghai Lu in the encroaching summer heat, lounge outside in an armchair and easily wile away several hours surrounded by vegetation and intermittently pawed by the resident tabby. Specials include a curiously popular dessert named ‘Bread Temptation’, which is essentially half a loaf of bread, scooped out, lightly toasted and refilled with ice-cream.
Add: 82 Shanghai Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing.
Tel: 025 8324 4617
Opening hours: 11.00 – midnight
6. Fancy Coffee
The coffee shop rage across many of China’s first and second tier cities has pushed the “RMB per Bean” rate sky-high. Not necessarily, for situated slap bang in the heart of Gulou, literally a stone’s throw from the fancy address that is Zifeng Tower lies Fancy Coffee, where a quality cuppa of Americano will set you back only ¥12. Espresso goes for ¥16 while you could go crazy and splash out on a Cappuccino at ¥20. In addition, Fancy Coffee offers a range of teas, the now obligatory beers and breezers, plus homemade cookies, cakes and other biscuits. Find therein also fancy free wifi, western music, fancy friendly service and outside, a small terrace.
Add: 27-5 Houzai Xiang, Gulou Dist., Nanjing
Tel: 025 8451 1510
7. Sir Coffee
If you’re looking for cheap, quality coffee, but haven’t got time to sit down and chill out, head to one of these great takeaway coffee bars. Although both have seating, space is limited so you’re often better off just grabbing a brew to go. With decent cup sizes, some interesting coffee additions, and freshly ground coffee, these two small joints are the best places to grab a coffee before a lecture, on the way to work, or for an afternoon pick-me-up. An Americano is just 7 RMB, a Latte or Cappuccino only 9-10 RMB, so Sir Coffee is perfect for those caffeine fiends without the finances to fund it.
Add: Nanxiu Village, Hankou Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing (opposite AJ’s)
Add: Zhujiang Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
8. Catamona Café
A nice change from the Starbucks and Costa Coffee routine, this café sells a range of coffee, espresso and tea, the first two available in hot and cold. Not an extremely busy location so far, this is a good place to come and think, away from the noise and rush of the city centre. You might want to purchase some coffee beans from Guatemala for around ¥300 per packet.
Add: 1C-08 Bulding6, No. 230 Hexi Street, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8771 5517