Article By Stephen Robinson
No,25,Nan Guang Ji Jie.
8:00am – 8:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 26RMB
If you are someone who likes their morning coffee, you may have discovered a slight problem when you first arrived in China. Most people drink coffee in the afternoon. As such, it can be difficult to find a coffee shop that is actually open before 10AM that is not an international chain slinging less than great coffee. Even though numerous coffee shops have opened up over the past several years, none of them have really caught on to the ‘be open in the morning’ thing. Enter Rhino Coffee.
Located inside about 200m inside of Zhuque Gate this unassuming little café is one that you might miss on first glance. The stainless steel sign is mostly unadorned, with just the name of the shop on it in raised stainless steel letters. Upon first arrival, I was afraid that the shop might have closed unexpectedly, as it looked like construction was underway, as there was a massive hole in the wall next to the door. However, once I got up closer, I could see that the shop was indeed open. First thing after going inside and meeting the boss, I asked about the wall. He told me that a cat had gotten trapped in the wall, falling in from a gap at the top. Without thinking about the cost, he tore away parts of the wall to free the cat. Nice guy.
When you enter the shop, you can see that it is pretty minimalistic, with none of the over decorated attempts made by some coffee shops to look old. The walls are a basic white, with a stainless steel bench running along one side with little stainless steel tables (they really like stainless steel here), and a simple wooden shelf with a few books and products on the other. There is a smoking area outside consisting of two chairs and an overturned plastic bin with an ashtray on it. Minimalistic.
The coffee preparation area also is not overly cluttered, with just a really nice espresso machine, some coffee grinders, and not much else. The menu is also pretty straightforward, with a section for old school and new school coffees, and then a small selection of non-espresso based drinks. The old school menu contains exactly what you’d expect, with options like lattes, Americanos, and cold brew coffees. All coffees are made at their base with a Columbian bean, and you can upgrade to other types of beans for a minimal fee. Lattes come in a variety of different flavors, including sea salt and cinnamon flavors, or you can just go for the classic.
The new school coffees include things like Lemon Americano, Espresso Tonic, and something called a Strawberry Dirty. Having never had the pairing of strawberry and espresso before, I opted to try it. A Dirty Coffee, for those unfamiliar, is a shot of espresso pulled over a cup of cream. In the case of the Strawberry Dirty, the rim of the glass was coated with small dehydrated strawberry pieces, which added a light sweetness and refreshing berry flavor. The slight acidity of the strawberries actually paired quite well with the overall flavors of the coffee, and the cream helped to round everything out.
There is also a Breve Latte, a latte that is made with cream instead of milk, which was thick and bitter and delicious. They also offer oat milk based drinks for those looking for less dairy. The non-espresso based drinks include things like Chai lattes, strawberry sodas, and apple cinnamon tea. Honestly, there are enough different kinds of delicious drinks to keep you coming back for more.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is one of the few independent coffee shops in the city that open up early, with a daily opening time of 8AM and a nightly closing time of 8PM. The shop also sells their coffee beans in 100g increments, with most going for 45RMB per 100g and others going for 55RMB per 100g. If you’re in the area and you are looking for some delicious and unique coffee beverages, then Rhino Coffee is a good place to check out.
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