In­die fes­ti­val perks up Xi’an’s in­ter­est in fine cof­fee

China Daily - - LIFE - By LI YINGXUE

Ten cof­fee shops popped up un­der the 1,300-year-old Gi­ant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an, be­fore the new year came.

This was the lat­est stop on the In­die Cof­fee Feast’s jour­ney around China, co-hosted by the Wood­stock of Eat­ing and Soloist Cafe, and tak­ing place in Xi’an, cap­i­tal of North­west China’s Shaanxi prov­ince, from Dec 28 un­til the first day of 2019.

More than 40 bou­tique cof­fee shops from home and abroad, in­clud­ing 11 lo­cal bean crunch­ers, opened pop-up coun­ters at the Great Tang All Day Mall in Qu­jiang New district, Xi’an.

Zhang Qi, CEO of Wood­stock of Eat­ing, a Chi­nese car­ni­val brand, says the event marks the in­ter­sec­tion be­tween an­cient and cur­rent life­styles in Xi’an.

“We want to break the bound­aries among cities by link­ing the cof­fee cul­ture of each city,” says Zhang.

The event is the first high­lighted event of the 2019 Xi’an & Best of Chi­nese pro­gram, which will run un­til March 6, and will fea­ture more than 100 cul­tural events.

Bei­jing’s Soloist Cof­fee led eight cafes from the Chi­nese main­land to Xi’an, to­gether with three Hong Kong cafes and one from Tai­wan. St An­thony and Blue cop­per from the United States, Roots Cof­fee from Bri­tain and Cof­fee Liber from South Ko­rea also made the trip.

Ma Kaimin, founder and barista of Soloist Cof­fee, thinks the In­die Cof­fee Feast has a more cul­tural out­look than pure trade ex­hi­bi­tions. It aims to teach cus­tomers about bou­tique cof­fee.

“The stan­dard of high-qual­ity cof­fee is open. What baris­tas do is like wine masters or chefs — find­ing the best beans and their roast­ing and brew­ing meth­ods,” Ma says.

Latte-art masters from Bri­tain, the US, South Ko­rea and China pre­sented their skills each day be­tween 3 pm to 4 pm be­fore hand­ing the stage over to baris­tas from Shang­hai, Bei­jing, Suzhou and Xi’an.

Food was an in­dis­pens­able part of the ac­tiv­i­ties. Cold French-style desserts like mousses and madeleines pair per­fectly with cof­fee and add a bit sweet­ness to the bit­ter bean. There were also cock­tails and beer that show the pos­si­bil­i­ties of in­fus­ing cof­fee with booze.

Thirty groups and per­form­ers pre­sented live mu­sic, in­clud­ing pop, folk, jazz and in­die rock. The per­for­mance on Dec 31 lasted un­til the count­down to mid­night and the start of the New Year cel­e­bra­tion.

Wood­stock of Eat­ing also in­vited three work­shops and seven art in­sti­tu­tions to com­bine dif­fer­ent art forms and me­dia with cof­fee, in­clud­ing il­lus­tra­tions, pho­tos and even a bar­ber­shop.

Two fo­rums themed “no cof­fee bound­aries; we want to use cof­fee to cre­ate our life” and “the ir­reg­u­lar life­style re­port of Xi’an youth” were held dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

“We hope peo­ple can spend more time off the so­cial me­dia and ex­pe­ri­ence more life in cafes,” says Zhang.

Wu Nan, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of Cof­fee&I mag­a­zine, notes that bou­tique cof­fee is a rel­a­tively new thing in Xi’an, and that the Cof­fee Feast will at­tract more lo­cal youth to learn about bou­tique cof­fee.

“It pro­vides a guide for lo­cals and tourists to find the good cof­fee in Xi’an, which is some­thing miss­ing from this an­cient cap­i­tal,” Wu says.

Af­ter four stops dur­ing its in­au­gu­ral year, Wood­stock of Eat­ing plans to bring the In­die Cof­fee Feast to more cities in China in 2019. Zhang be­lieves each city has its own char­ac­ter­is­tics.

“So we want to build a cof­fee call­ing card for each city we reach,” Zhang says.

“Cur­rently, we are invit­ing overseas cof­fee masters to visit China with our fes­ti­val, and we are also aim­ing to bring China’s baris­tas and cof­fee shops to the world one day. We want to show the world that there are pro­fes­sion­als in China mak­ing some good cof­fee.”

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