An $8 cup of coffee in Beijing. No refill.
OK early warning that this post is a bit tart, but we were both sports about the experience and didn’t let it ruin our day. During one of our walks near the Bell Tower in Beijing, we saw a sign for Essence Coffee, and since coffee is something we enjoy, it excited us. Abraham likes the taste & ritual of coffee and I particularly like the happy effects of caffeine. We unsuspiciously followed the signs through a small alley that led to the coffee shop. The owner greeted us and we ordered 2 cups. Easy enough.
He led us to the rooftop where we sat on a swinging bench and waited while practicing our pronunciation of “xie xie” (thank you in Chinese) and other words I was sure to butcher later. When he came up to serve us, we were impressed with the fancy serving set and the single packet of rock sugar that came with each. He offered no cream or milk but we didn’t know enough Chinese nor did we have the energy ask, but we enjoyed the drink.
It was a good cup of coffee. Until we got the check. 117RMB! Of course we are still getting used to the dollar conversion, so 117 anything sounded expensive to begin with, but even after diddling with my Oanda currency converter app, the price was $17. For two cups of drip coffee, with no refill. That’s $8.50 each cup. Suddenly the “good” cup of coffee didn’t taste so good and I started to think of adjectives for how much it actually sucked. They weren’t even lattes.
I know China has more of a tea culture, but I was pretty appalled. Get over yourselves. Next time we’re checking prices first. But who thinks of checking prices for a cup of coffee? In China, it’s best to ask first. Another lesson learned.