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We’re flattered by the great reviews and comments about our boutique, and are excited to share them with you! If you haven’t visited us for a cup of coffee, please take a look at these reviews and stop by as soon as you can!

First Sip: Café del Volcán

By Justin Fischer –

Shanghai coffee culture just got one shop better last week with the opening of Café del Volcán on Yongkang Lu. Translated from Spanish as “coffee of the volcano,” this coffee boutique is the brainchild of Nils Weisensee and his wife Lindsay Messenger, two refugees from the journalism and communications jungle. Their philosophy is simple and clear: A good cup of coffee starts with the bean.

Like a fine wine, coffee has its own terroir. Much of what you taste in the cup is a unique expression of soil and climate. You won’t notice this with what you get from your typical corporate caffeination station because they burn the beans beyond recognition. That’s why Nils and Lindsay source beans in their green, pre-roasted state. Then they can put their own signature on the product with the roaster. It’s the centerpiece of the shop. And Nils talks about it the way a gear head talks about the trim package of his Porsche 911. It’s tricked out with a cooling reservoir, a vacuum-powered chaff collector and four different thermometers that read the temperature of the air inside the roasting drum as well as the beans. He can even hook his computer up to thing so he can record and analyze all of his roasting stats.

For the past few weeks Nils has been experimenting, parlaying what he learned from his stint at Yomo Coffe Roasters on beans from Yunnan and Ethiopia’s Sidamo region. I tried a cup of the Sidamo, and can say that the experimentation is bearing delicious fruit. It’s smooth with sweet, fruity notes, and rich undertones of dark chocolate.

They’re planning to expand the selection with other single origin coffees from places like Kenya and Sulawesi, Indonesia. And they’ve got an exclusive line on beans from a small family-owned plantation in Guatemala. That will be their signature brew, so keep an eye peeled for that.

In addition to in-store coffee service, they’re selling packaged beans for retail purchase and delivery. And with your purchase comes expertise. They have a coffee hotline. If your brew is coming out wrong, you can call their resident expert for tips and tricks.

Of course, you can expect to pay a premium for all of this. My cup of Sidamo cost over 30 kuai if memory serves me. But the quality is there. The beans are ground to order. Every cup is individually brewed with your choice of drip filter or a French press. If bars like Constellation and The Public can command 80rmb for a cocktail made from fresh-squeezed juice and hand-chipped ice, 30+ kuai for a damn good cup of coffee doesn’t seem totally unreasonable. Still, if all you seek is a hot cup of black fuel, you’d best move on. Coffee like this is meant to be sipped and savored.