Shanghai's best budget-friendly coffee shops
The coffee culture in Shanghai is widely known, and it seems like almost everyone, regardless of their mood or surroundings, now considers having a cup of coffee every day a must-do. Even workaholics find time in their busy schedules to enjoy their “coffee time.”
It's said that there are over 8,000 coffee shops in Shanghai. So, which are both popular and reasonably priced? From only 3.9 yuan (55 cents) for a cup of coffee, we have compiled a list of shops for you.
Best deal: 14 yuan for an Ice Drip Coffee / a SOE Americano
Located on a street filled with small eateries, each bustling with customers, this coffee shop is also petite.
Its overall color scheme blends seamlessly with the coffee hues, making it easy to overlook if passing by in haste. However, those in the know to step inside for a cup of coffee.
The owner is constantly busy, taking a moment amidst the hustle to grind coffee beans on the side.
Ice Drip Coffee and SOE Americano are priced at 14 yuan (1.96 cents), and lattes at 15 yuan. Occasionally, there are promotional activities such as “Buy 5, get 1 free.”
Opening hours: 7am-7pm
Address: 706 Weihai Rd | 威海路706號
Opening hours: 7am-5pm
Address: 1/F, 401 Changshou Rd | 長壽路401號1樓
Best deal: 16.5 yuan for a Hazelnut Latte
This shop is adorned with beautiful flowers, exuding an overall vibe of feminine charm. At first glance, it feels like stepping into "The Wizard of Oz." Even if you don't go in for coffee, just standing at the entrance for a photo is incredibly picturesque.
Beyond the typical tables and chairs found in most coffee shops, as you go inside, you'll discover a hidden gem — a cozy space that can comfortably accommodate five or six people. Alongside are creative artworks collected by the owner.
Hazelnut Lattes are only 16.5 yuan, and Americanos are just 18 yuan.
It also offers a variety of desserts to complement your coffee experience.
Opening hours: 8am-6pm
Address: 72-1 Fengxian Rd | 奉賢路72-1號
Best deal: 9.9 yuan for a latte
This coffee shop is easy to spot with its bright and cheerful orange logo, and the overall illumination of the store makes it equally hard to miss.
The owner of this shop is the Ting Hsin International Group, which owns brands including FamilyMart, Dicos, and Master Kong Beef Noodles. The relaxation area in the store is notably spacious, replacing typical tables and chairs with sofas and long tables.
Lattes are priced at only 9.9 yuan, and you can get two large Americanos for just 15 yuan.
The 1788 Plaza branch has an open-style kitchen near the bread shelves, allowing you to witness the baking in progress.
Besides coffee, their sandwiches are also popular and priced at only 9 yuan.
In the morning, there's a 15 yuan combo that includes a coffee and a sandwich. If you want to swap the sandwich for a hotdog, there is just an additional 3 yuan charge.
Opening hours: 7:30am-9:30pm
Address: 119A, 1/F, 1818 Nanjing Rd W. (several other branches across the city) | 南京西路1818號1樓119A
Best deal: 8.8 yuan for a Coconut Latte
Cotti Coffee, founded by a team including former Luckin Coffee president and chairman Lu Zhengyao, as well as former Luckin Coffee CEO Qian Zhiya, with a registered capital of $200 million, has some connection to Luckin Coffee, a prominent chain in China known for its numerous affordable coffee stores.
In less than a year, Cotti Coffee has opened over 5,000 stores, expanding its presence even overseas. With a focus on small store models and no franchise fees, they operate on a service fee based on store operating gross profit.
The chain gained popularity with various marketing tactics, such as signing with the Argentine national team, launching World Cup-themed products, collaborating with Maotai liquor, and offering competitive prices.
This coffee brand has several branches in Shanghai, among them the Weihai Road location has only a small service window, and there is no seating space inside for customers. However, the Taixing Road location is more spacious, with an overall design featuring orange tones, quite pleasing to the eye. It provides ample heating during the winter.
Most of the coffees in the shop are priced at less than 20 yuan. For instance, a standard Americano at 15.9 yuan and a classic latte is 17.9 yuan. The cup packaging also carries a touch of Chinese style.
There are occasional promotional activities, such as a Coconut Latte available for only 8.8 yuan.
Opening hours: 8am - 6:30pm
Addresses: 733-1 Weihai Rd | 威海路733-1號
Opening hours: 7:30am-7:30pm
Addresses: 325-2 Taixing Rd | 泰興路325-2號
(several other branches across the city)
Best deal: 5 yuan for various types of coffee
This coffee shop is highly popular, especially among businesspeople, as it gained fame on the Little Red Book for introducing oversized iced coffees.
With the mathematical symbol (m)3 as its logo, the "m" symbolizes each individual and the cubed exponent represents the gathering of individuals, conveying the idea of a "niche audience gathering, leveraging collective power."
The coffee is priced in two categories, either 10 yuan or 15 yuan, with the same pricing for added intensity or swapping to oat milk.
Bringing your own cup also comes with a discount.
In addition, the coffee cup blind box promotion, where you get a blind box coffee cup with your coffee purchase, is also well-received, and many have already collected cups in various colors.
For first-time customers, there are even more discounts, allowing you to get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate for less than 10 yuan
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm
Address: 148 Shop, 580 Nanjing Rd W. (several other branches across the city) | 南京西路580號148鋪
Best deal: 18 yuan for a Flat White / an Alleyway Milk Coffee
If you want to experience the taste of “Old Shanghai,” the Alleyway Milk Coffee and Shanghai Milk Coffee are must-tries.
The coffee shop boasts a minimalist design, seamlessly blending with the “Shanghai flavor,” creating what locals often describe as a “stylish” atmosphere.
Both the owner and the staff are native Shanghainese, exhibiting warm hospitality. If an elderly passerby feels tired and wishes to rest (without making a purchase), the owner welcomes them with open arms.
The customers who come for coffee are mostly familiar faces, and the staff, well acquainted with their preferences, engage in cheerful conversations as soon as they take their seats.
Opening hours: 8am-6pm
Address: 155 Shaanxi Rd N. | 陜西北路155號
Opening hours: 8am-6pm
Address: 1/F, Yalong Plaza, 500 Jinling Rd E. | 金陵東路500號1樓
FUN4 COFFEE GELATO
Best deal: 3.9 yuan for a "Tiny Sip Coffee"
A hidden gem of a coffee shop on Fengxian Road, with a charming and cozy storefront. Apart from coffee, they also offer ice cream, albeit at a slightly higher price.
Their most popular item is the "Tiny Sip Coffee," a small cup of hot latte, priced at only 3.9 yuan.
For regular-sized coffee, an espresso costs only 10 yuan, and an Americano is priced at 16 yuan.
Opening hours: 8am - 9pm
Address: 286-3 Fengxian Rd | 奉賢路286-3號
Opening hours: 8am - 9pm
Address: Room 101,Bldg 9, Times Square Excellence, 60 Hulan Rd W. | 呼蘭西路60號9棟101室
(several other branches across the city)
Best deal: 5.8 yuan for a “Lao Siji Gourmet Coffee”
GreenfirCoffee draws its brand name inspiration from the cold fir trees of China's high mountains, known for their evergreen nature and the emergence of new shoots every spring.
The coffee shop is located inside a gas station. It's easy to find, as there's only one supermarket in the gas station, and the coffee shop is inside the supermarket.
Surprisingly, besides the indoor space, there's also a small courtyard outside.
In addition, the courtyard features a white spiral staircase leading to a second floor.
There, you'll find a spacious reading room with ample heating. Once you close the door, it becomes a remarkably quiet space. You can enjoy your coffee while reading, working on your computer, or engaged in any other activity.
The “Lao Siji Gourmet Coffee” is only 5.8 yuan.
("Lao Siji" is a Chinese internet slang term that refers to an industry veteran, indicating someone with experience and a deep understanding of the rules.)
Opening hours: 8:30am-6pm
Address: 990 Yan'an Rd M., Sinopec gas station (several other branches across the city) | 延安中路990號中石化加油站內
Best deal: 10 yuan for an Espresso
The Italian espresso here is only 10 yuan, and the Americano is just 15 yuan.
Although the shop is not large, you can sense a homely atmosphere from the detailed design. The chairs are designed in the style of sofas, and the walls are covered with selfies taken by customers.
The shop does not offer delivery services but the owner warmly welcomes guests. If you're interested in delivery, simply share your contact information, and she will arrange a convenient delivery for you.
For nearby companies holding meetings, many teams choose to buy coffee from this shop.
Opening hours: 7am-9pm
Address: 234 Fengxian Rd | 奉賢路234號
Best deal: 15 yuan for an Americano / an Espresso
The namedcup coffee shop, located on the 4th floor of Réel, features a refreshing design style with a predominantly pure white color scheme and attractive decorations. The tables and chairs for dining in follow the same style, and the store is managed by a single staff member.
The cute little boy on the coffee cup is the logo. Despite being named "little cup coffee," the capacity is not small, and is more than enough to meet your energy needs for the day.
Americanos and Espressos (Osmanthus / Peach / Ginger Honey) are priced at only 15 yuan.
Lattes, Flat Whites (8oz), Cappuccinos, Mochas, and Dirty and Caramel Macchiatos are 20 yuan each. Bringing your own reusable mug can reduce the price by 5 yuan.
Opening hours: 9:30am-10pm
Address: 4/F, Réel, 1601 Nanjing Rd W. (several other branches across the city) | 南京西路1601號芮歐百貨4樓
Best deal: 15 yuan for an Americano
Situated on Nanjing East Road, THE PRESS restaurant is well-known to many. Just a short walk further, and you'll find the Newsstand Coffee.
The coffee shop immerses visitors in the ambiance of old Shanghai, featuring elements from the city's history and various renowned Shanghai newspapers. Even the coffee menu is designed to resemble a newspaper.
The shop offers a variety of derivative and cultural products related to newspapers and Shanghai culture, adding an interesting touch.
With a comprehensive range of coffee options and affordable prices, an Americano is 15 yuan.
This is more than just a coffee shop; it's akin to a nostalgic newsstand. Sitting at the counter, sipping a cup of coffee, it feels like stepping into the glamor of old Shanghai.
Opening hours: 8:30am-10pm
Address: 255 Shandong Rd M. | 山東中路255號
Best deal: 16 yuan for an Americano
The coffee shop has a tiny space, barely enough for two people to stand side by side. There is no seating inside, so the owner has placed a simple folding chair at the entrance where you can sit and enjoy your coffee. Generally, people either buy and take away or stand on the street to drink.
Although the shop is small, there is a variety of options available, and the cost-effectiveness and taste are top-notch!
An Americano is only 16 yuan.
Opening hours: 7:30am-5:30pm
Address: 981 Beijing Rd W. | 北京西路981號
Best deal: 6 yuan for an Americano
Here, you can find coffee for as low as 6 yuan per cup.
It's a very small shop, operated by a single server. However, it doesn't rely on the size of the shop to attract customers but rather on its prices. With coffee priced as low as 6 yuan, who wouldn't be tempted?
The flat white, at 9 yuan, offers excellent value for money and has a delightful taste. For those willing to spend a bit more, options range from 15 to 18 yuan, including an Oat Milk Latte or a Coconut Latte. Once you've tried their offerings, it's hard not to become a fan.
The owner closes the shop every day at 4 pm, so it is best to visit early.
Opening hours: 8am-4pm
Address: 72-3 Nanyang Rd | 南陽路72-3號
Best deal: 7 yuan for an Espresso
This can't be called a traditional coffee shop because its entrance is as narrow as a single door. Standing at the doorway, you can see everything inside at a glance, and it it could be described as a "small stall."
There's no intricate design here, but things and equipment are simply piled together. However, the logo design is interesting, featuring a coffee-colored screw, just like the shop's name.
Espresso: 12 yuan
Americano: 15 yuan
Latte: 18 yuan
If you bring your own cup, you can get a 5 yuan discount, so you can enjoy coffee for as low as 7 yuan.
You can also participate in the "Coffee 4 for 2" activity on Dianping platform, where you get 2 cups of coffee for a total of 19.9 yuan.
Opening hours: 7:30am-6pm
Address: 353 Taixing Rd | 泰興路353號
Best deal: 9.9 yuan for an Americano
Situated in Xintiandi, Silverflow Coffee's Americano is priced at 9.9 yuan, providing excellent value for money. Although the shop is not large, it is rumored said that the counter (including basic equipment) cost the owner 100,000 yuan.
In addition, this shop often introduces new varieties. Some time ago, they launched a “Yellow Apricot Americano,” priced at only 16 yuan.
The same brand has opened a branch in Jing'an Temple. Since its opening, it started with just a storefront, later expanding to include a dining area with tables and chairs for customers to relax.
The business is thriving, offering coffee with bagels, a lively atmosphere, and is pet-friendly, making it very popular.
Opening hours: 6am-8pm
Address: B1-17, SOHO Renaissance Plaza, 388 Matang Rd | 馬當路388號SOHO復興廣場B1-17
Best deal: 2.9 yuan for an Espresso
Classic Americano with freshly ground coffee is priced at 3.9 yuan, while Espresso is available for 2.9 yuan.
Foe other Americanos and Lattes, prices are generally below 9.9 yuan, and even the 1L large cup of Classic Americano is only 7.9 yuan.
Located in Xintiandi, this price matches well with the coffee shop's name. ("Juan" in Chinese is used to describe a positive and upward state or behavior, reflecting an active and striving status. "Tai," in Chinese, can be used as an adverb, indicating an extremely high degree. Therefore, the name Tai Juan suggests that this shop offers very affordable prices and is highly competitive.)
If you want to bring your own cup for coffee, it's possible, but there won't be any discounts, considering the coffee prices are already quite cheap.
Opening hours: 7:30am-8pm
Address: B2-16, Soho Renaissance Plaza, 388 Matang Rd | 馬當路388號SOHO復興廣場 B2-16號