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Hip American Coffee Chain Blue Bottle to Open in Shanghai

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The famous American coffee brand Blue Bottle is officially coming to the Chinese mainland, opening a store in Shanghai on February 25, according to a post from the brand on Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu.

Similar to the coffee chain’s selection of a historical building for its first branch in Kyoto, the brand has chosen a vintage-looking building in Jing’an International Center as its new home in Shanghai.

blue bottle coffee

Blue Bottle in Shanghai. Image via Blue Bottle’s official Xiaohongshu account

“We just want to make a tasty cup of coffee and hope our customers are happy with it,” wrote the company on Xiaohongshu.

The Oakland-based coffee brand was founded by James Freeman in 2002. Currently, it has branches in the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Many caffeinated beverage aficionados in China are already excited about the coffee shop’s launch in Shanghai.

“I am really looking forward to the first store in Shanghai. Hopefully, they can open another store in Beijing soon,” wrote one netizen in response to the announcement.

“I got to try the coffee through a connection of my husband, and it tastes a little like wine, which is great,” another shared.

As of January 2021, Shanghai has the most coffee shops of any city globally, with more than 6,900 coffee shops having established themselves in the metropolis.

Having landed itself in a city where coffee culture thrives, and choices are numerous, the coffee company will need to find ways to stand out from thousands of competitors.

According to the company’s website, Freeman was inspired by Franz George Kolshitsky, who played a crucial role in repelling Turkish invaders when they tried to besiege Vienna in the 17th century.

After the failed siege, Kolshitsky took coffee bags left by the Turks and opened the first-ever coffee house in Central Europe in Vienna, naming it ‘The Blue Bottle.’

More than 300 years later, Freeman adopted the name Blue Bottle in honor of the historic coffee house.

Blue Bottle

Service staff at a Blue Bottle location in South Korea. Image via Jinsoo Choi on Unsplash

Priding itself on serving high-quality coffee, Blue Bottle today sources materials from farmers around the globe and is considered part of third-wave coffee, a movement emphasizing the quality of coffee.

How will Blue Bottle fare in ultra-competitive Shanghai? Who knows, but we’re excited to give it a try.

Cover image via RADII

Kayla He
    Born and raised in China, Kayla received her BA in Communications and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently works as a staff writer at RADII and is passionate about telling stories related to social issues women's empowerment. You can find her exploring coffee shops in Shanghai in her free time or rushing for Duffy and Friends plush toys at Shanghai Disneyland.
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