When you travel to China, it’s generally hard to find a very good cup of coffee. I’m talking about the Third Wave kind of places we have in the U.S. like Stumptown or Blue Bottle, not that international chain that has a bright grass green logo with a white mermaid printed over it or similar ones that are born from Asian countries.
I’ve “discovered” Ocean Grounds Coffee owned and run by Jim Lee. Lee is an American-born Chinese expat trying to educate the local Chinese what is a great cup of coffee in a city that is stuck with the idea of that latter described company is a status symbol and it’s assumed a very good cup of coffee. Lee goes to the coffee farms in Central America, roasts the beans himself and have this new coffee shop meets cocktail bar to serve his product to his guests. Since Lee and his team are permitted to serve alcohol after 7 PM, we missed out on the interesting and delicious cocktails since we were only able to check out the place during the day and stuck with the excellent crafted coffees.
This coffee shop/cocktail bar is a huge space that you can sit at the bar and watch your barista (or bartender at night) make your drink or sit comfortably in two-top tables with stools and have your conversation. It’s a very neat space that you can tell this place is serious about coffee and cocktails but not pretentious about it either.
My parents wanted a hot brewed beverage and had agave latte and honeycomb cappuccino. Both drinks were intentionally sweetened with natural sweeteners rather than white sugar or sugar syrups since it gently enhances the sweetness of the coffee as well as giving it another layer of flavor. My parents loved their drinks and almost guzzled this more than sipping it since it’s so good.
My brother wanted a cold drink (it was warm and sunny when we’re in Beijing) and Jim suggested his take on the New Orleans style coffee. It starts out with a really cool Scandinavian custom wobble glass and a frozen sphere of coffee is set inside. Take a squeeze bottle filled with spiced milk and fill it up about halfway. Take a cocktail shaker and fill it with proprietary spices (I smelled nutmeg and cinnamon though) with other house infused syrups and the spiced milk. Pour it on top and it’s a wonderfully creamy, balanced and not too sweet cold coffee.
I wanted to stick with hot, drip style coffee and Jim suggested I should have something that is inspired and reflected of his childhood in sunny San Diego, California. This hot brew was delicious and it does taste warm with a few spices and you can taste the sunshine with fresh orange zest infused to the coffee.
To view more photos of these visit, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157648112621979″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
Ocean Grounds Coffee
near Shimao Department Store (世茂百货)
13 Gongti Beilu
Chinese address: 朝阳区 工体北路13号
Hours: 7 AM to 7 PM; after 7 PM are cocktail service