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Jamaican Blue, serving good coffee in China; and saving my life

June 23, 2009

It had a been a couple of days of bad luck, coffee wise. With most of the sightseeing done before the mid-day heat set in, I found myself walking endlessly around cool shopping centres, bypassing Starbucks in search of something more — appetising. I knew that China produced coffee on a small scale after travelling through Southwest Yunnan province. But Beijing was different. There were bakeries and cafes that claimed and attempted to make coffee, but the brews were bland, weak, or burnt tasting.

Having heard that the Australian cafe chain “Jamaican Blue”existed in Shanghai, from expat blogger and photographer Trent Strohm, I began looking for a possible sign indicating that Jamaican Blue had moved into China’s bustling conservative captial. It didn’t take long, my nose and curiosity eventually scented an aroma of brewed coffee, down in the cool quiet basement floor of an upmarket shopping plaza.

Being a Monday morning the place was virtually empty. A smooth tasting coffee (flat white), a near empty cafe and happy staff; my luck had turned.

by Cate

by Cate

Jamaica Blue serves a range of drinks including teas and non caffeine treats. Food is fresh and portions are larger than normal.

by Cate

by Cate

Muted red and gold tones soften the interior atmosphere. It may be a cafe within a sterile shopping plaza, but it does have its own identity and feel.

by Cate

by Cate


Finding one of these places in the intense Beijing summer heat was luck. Good cafes often hide away in basements or areas seldom walked by travellers. Although Jamaican Blue may look like it’s just “another coffee chain”, give it a try. The coffee quality is much better than the usual chain standard.

Jamaican Blue cafe is located in the basement floor of The Malls shopping plaza central Beijing, close to the Forbidden City. This plaza is mega size with restaurants and bars on the lower floors.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. June 23, 2009 5:45 pm

    glad I could be of service! 😉

  2. Lacy permalink
    June 24, 2009 5:06 am

    Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your blog posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  3. June 24, 2009 3:12 pm

    must have been heaven after going without a decent brew! i couldn’t go a day without at least one decent caffeine hit

  4. June 24, 2009 11:05 pm

    This is an awesome story. Travelling in search of dfferent aromas and such from coffee. Must have had some wild experiences.
    ou should try drifting, travelling to a destination without a plan and you could stumble upon some wicked coffee.

  5. June 25, 2009 1:06 am

    Trent – yes you did help me in my caffeine hour of need

    Lacy – Hi Lacy thanks for the comment and welcome to Caffeinated Traveller. I look forward to reading your comments.

    resort hopper – I’m right there with you on that comment!

    Surfer – Good tip. I’ll try that and get back to you.

  6. June 26, 2009 1:10 am

    That cup of coffee looks absolutely DELICIOUS!


  7. Cate permalink
    June 27, 2009 12:05 am

    Cheryl – the coffee was delicious !!

  8. June 30, 2009 1:29 am

    Great coffee is hard to find especially when travelling. It’s a great pity that the “Jamaican Blue” coffee shops don’t serve Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee 😦

    After living in Jamaica for a number of years and being spoilled by drinking fresh roasted Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee at very reasonable cost i am spoilled for life.

    • June 30, 2009 10:54 am

      Hi Greg, I didn’t know that piece of information. Thanks for the insight.

  9. July 13, 2009 8:46 am

    The coffee really taste great!!!


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