Now, we are not professional coffee tasters. This article does not dive into flavor notes and subtleties of roasting. We just wanted to see which places can reliably deliver bags of decent coffee to our office.
Finally, Alipay will make your life easier when doing online shopping, though it is not necessary for any of these shops. Here's our guide to Alipay.
Intro: This Latin American specialty coffee shop in Jing'an custom roasts and serves socially responsible direct–trade coffees from Bolivia and Yunnan. Their coffee is strong. If you're lucky, you can get a cup of their green coffee at the shop, where they also host community events, workshops, talks, and poetry readings. Nice people.
Ease Of Ordering: Originally we tried to order on their website with Alipay, but their site was broken at the time. So we gave them a call and they arranged a cash-on-delivery order for the next morning.
Price: 75rmb for 250grams.
Delivery fee: 5rmb when paying with cash on delivery, free when paying with Alipay.
Payment Methods: Cash on delivery and Alipay.
Coffee Quality: Excellent. Strong smell, good taste. Well packaged, with info about exactly where the coffee came from (Bolivia, in this case).
Delivery Time: This was the fastest. Despite having some problems with Alipay, they managed to get the coffee to us around 10am the next morning.
Phone number: 137 6106 3859
Website: Cambio Coffee
Intro: There's a host of coffee, local and imported, to pick from on Amazon.cn. We looked over some local brands and went with GEO Coffee, which is roasted in a Beijing coffee factory. GEO stands for Green, Ecology, and Organic, and though there's no proof the beans are actually grown organically, they have been around since 2005 and are pretty popular online.
Ease Of Ordering: Create or log into your Amazon account. It just takes a few clicks to add your products to the cart and go to the payment page. You can also arrange to pick it up at your local Alldays, Kedi, or FamilyMart. Note: Amazon.com and Amazon.cn are seperate, so you'll need to make a new account for Amazon.cn. You can switch to English on the top menu.
Price: 45rmb for 500g.
Delivery fee: 5rmb for delivery within Shanghai.
Payment Methods: Cash, Chinese bank cards, and Alipay. Note: Different items have different payment options, because COD deliveries sometimes result in...people not being there when the delivery guy comes. You can pay for most with cash, though -- just look for a red tag that says "货到付款" next to the price. Those ones are good for the red money.
Coffee Quality: Well, this is more of a quantity over quality deal. You're paying about half the price for double the amount of beans, and you get what you pay for.
Delivery Time: Fast. Delivery took 24 hours.
Phone number: 400 810 5666 (but really, there's no need to call)
Website: Coffee Beans on Amazon
Intro: JD.com is another huge Chinese e-commerce site. You can also get GEO Coffee here, but this time we went international and ordered a bag of Volcan whole bean from Juan Valdez Café, who sell 100% Colombian beans grown in the Andes.
Ease Of Ordering: Sign up, or log into your JD account. It's straightforward if you're familiar with online shopping in China. Put it in your cart, fill out your delivery details, and it's on the way.
Price: 96rmb for 250g.
Delivery fee: Free for orders over 59rmb, otherwise it's 5rmb.
Payment Methods：You can pay with cash or card on delivery, Alipay, or online banking.
Coffee Quality: Really nice. Strong smell and taste. Some Don Juan shit.
Delivery Time: Ordered on Tuesday, and beans arrived on Wednesday.
Phone number: 400 606 5500
Website: Coffee Beans on JD.com
Intro: Sumerian put itself on the map in 2011 with third-wave coffee in Shanghai. That means they taste coffee like wine and care about how their single-origin beans are roasted, which they do themselves. They also own Dogtown and Boom Boom Bagels.
Ease Of Ordering: Their website doesn't work anymore, and their Taobao page is busted too. But you can order through Boom Boom Bagels on Sherpa's, which is easy. They currently have ten different kinds of beans. We actually called Boom Boom directly, who arranged it through Sherpas for us over the phone.
Price: 118rmb for 225g.
Delivery fee: 15rmb through online Sherpa's delivery. Boom Boom charged us 8rmb when we ordered over the phone.
Payment Methods: Cash on delivery or Alipay.
Coffee Quality: Gourmet. Solid. Nice packaging with roast date and origin.
Delivery Time: When we called directly, we arranged for a next-morning delivery. Sherpa's should have it to you in an hour (unless it's raining).
Phone number: Sherpa's: 6209 6209 Sumerian: 135 6475 5689
Website: Boom Boom Bagels on Sherpa's
Intro: Yihaodian (YHD) is another major Chinese online retailer, but they specialize in fresh groceries and home goods. As a smaller, somewhat newer e-commerce site, they directly manage most of their warehousing and delivery, and are reliable and efficient. They have a decent amount of imports, and we went with a bag of UCC from Japan. They've been around since 1933, and made the original canned coffee in 1968. Most of their beans are arabica, Columbian and Hawaiian.
Ease Of Ordering: Another standard Chinese e-commerce site. Pretty simple to make an account, add things to your cart, and check out. Yi Hao Dian is one of the few places that offers same day delivery. Note: their website is only available in Chinese.
Price: 109rmb for 500g.
Delivery fee: Free for orders over 58rmb from the YHD warehouse, 10rmb for orders below 58rmb. You an also add a few extra kuai to have it delivered within a specific time frame.
Payment Methods: Cash or cards on delivery, Alipay and online banking.
Coffee Quality: It's UCC. You know what you're getting into. It's kind of like Hagen-Daz -- upmarket corporate.
How Long Delivery Took: Ordered on Tuesday afternoon, arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
Phone number: 400 007 1111
Website: Coffee Beans on YHD
Intro: Arabica Roasters is based in Beijing but was founded in 1994 by three laowai. Their beans are from farms in Asia, Africa, and South America, and are freshly roasted after you order.
Ease Of Ordering: You can order on their website or Taobao shop. Their website requires creating an account, but it's in English. Straightforward online checkout system.
Price: 85rmb for 250g.
Delivery fee: 7rmb from Beijing to Shanghai.
Payment Methods: Alipay or Paypal
Coffee Quality: Nice. Can taste the fact that these just got roasted. Sleek packaging describes the region and flavor.
Delivery Time: Three business days. Not bad considering they were roasted first, then shipped from Beijing.
Phone number: 6428 8941
Website: Arabica Roasters
There must be more shops slangin' beans in Shanghai -- if you know some, leave 'em in the comments.