Coffee festival to perk up Shanghai

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Free tastings, specialty shops, a night market and World Barista Championship qualifying events will all be featured at Shanghai's upcoming coffee-themed festival.

Organizers hope the event, Shanghai Coffee Culture Week, will create a much-needed inspirational vibe in the city, which has been endeavoring to contain the COVID-19 outbreak since March.

The festival is being organized by the Shanghai Cultural and Creative Industry Promotion Association and the Shanghai Food Association. It will run from Thursday to Aug 18, with its opening ceremony to be held at the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center.

Wang Yayuan, deputy director of the municipal administration of publicity, said on Friday during a news conference that the number of coffee shops in Shanghai had grown to 8,000 as of June 30 despite the bitter effects of the outbreak.

"The vigorous development of coffee culture in Shanghai shows the charm of Shanghai-style culture, nurtures the city's unique spiritual character and has become an important window for citizens and tourists to experience the local culture, warmth and quality of life,"Wang said.

Food delivery platform Eleme will provide 50,000 cups of free coffee on Friday, and customers will find special offers at hundreds of coffee shops during the festival, organizers announced on Friday.

Homegrown coffee chain Manner will also organize free coffee-related activities on Thursday and will collaborate with food delivery platform Meituan to deliver coffee via drone.

"The epidemic in Shanghai has impacted many coffee shops. Therefore, we will help stimulate consumption and the market by providing subsidies and incentives for relevant businesses," said Hu Qiugen, a representative of Eleme.

Besides coffee promotions, related activities will be held at the Bund Finance Center from Aug 13 to 14, with coffee-themed performances, esports and cultural innovation.

The BFC will host a special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the upcoming World Barista Championship. The event will also recognize the top 100 coffee shops in Shanghai.

The city's cultural landmarks are getting involved in the festival, too.

The Books and Periodicals Distribution Association of China will launch a coffee-culture reading exhibition in 75 bookstores across the city. The Shanghai Grand Theatre will launch a special blend of "ballet" coffee beans, while the Shanghai Museum will hold environmental protection activities related to the coffee industry.

According to Wang, the city is determined to leave an indelible mark on the international coffee trade market.

Coffee import and export service platforms, special financial products for coffee trade and coffee trade alliances will be launched at the Shanghai Hongqiao International Coffee Hub during the festival.

A white paper on the Shanghai coffee bean price index and a report on coffee culture trends will be released, and the national vocational skills standards for baristas and a certification center will be launched to cultivate more professionals for the industry.

Coffee-infused events will be spread across eight districts in the city from August to December.

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