An increasing number of foreign coffee chains and regional specialty cafes are sprouting up throughout China due to the country’s growing coffee culture. You may wow your Chinese friends or travel for business by learning to purchase coffee in Mandarin, which can be helpful whether you’re a tourist. We’ll walk you through the fundamentals and a few details in this article.
Basic Coffee Vocabulary
- Coffee: 咖啡 (kā fēi)
- Cup: 杯 (bēi)
- Hot: 热 (rè)
- Cold/Iced: 冷 (lěng)
- Sugar: 糖 (táng)
- Milk: 牛奶 (niú nǎi)
- Water: 水 (shuǐ)
Placing Your Order
The basic structure for ordering something in Chinese typically involves mentioning the quantity, followed by the item.
- I want a coffee: 我要一杯咖啡 (wǒ yào yī bēi kā fēi)
Now, if you want to specify your coffee type:
- Espresso: 浓缩咖啡 (nóng suō kā fēi)
- Americano: 美式咖啡 (měi shì kā fēi)
- Latte: 拿铁咖啡 (ná tiě kā fēi)
- Cappuccino: 卡布奇诺 (kǎ bù qí nuò)
- Mocha: 摩卡咖啡 (mó kǎ kā fēi)
- Black coffee: 黑咖啡 (hēi kā fēi)
Customizing Your Drink
Just like in many coffee shops around the world, you can specify how you’d like your drink:
- I’d like it hot: 我要热的 (wǒ yào rè de)
- I’d like it iced: 我要冷的 (wǒ yào lěng de)
- With sugar: 加糖 (jiā táng)
- Without sugar: 不加糖 (bù jiā táng)
- With milk: 加牛奶 (jiā niú nǎi)
- Without milk: 不加牛奶 (bù jiā niú nǎi)
- While many cafes in large cities will have staff who understand English, it’s always appreciated when you try speaking the local language.
- Payments in China have increasingly moved to digital platforms like WeChat Pay and Alipay. It’s good to have some cash on hand or familiarize yourself with these apps if you plan to visit often.
- Chinese coffee culture often leans towards lighter and sweeter drinks. If you prefer solid or black coffee, be explicit in your request.
Navigating the coffee scene in China can be a delightful experience, especially as you arm yourself with some basic Mandarin phrases. So, the next time you’re in a Chinese cafe, confidently place your order and enjoy your cup of kā fēi!
FAQs: How to Order Coffee in Chinese
Are there regional coffee specialties in China I should try?
A: While China is traditionally known for its tea, certain regions like Yunnan have begun producing coffee. When in Yunnan, you can ask for local coffee, known as “Yúnnán kā fēi” (云南咖啡). The flavor profiles might differ from what you’re used to, making it a unique experience.
How do I politely get the attention of the staff in a cafe?
A: You can say “fú wù yuán” (服务员), which means “waiter/waitress” to get their attention. Remember always to use a polite tone.
How do I say “Thank you” after getting my coffee?
A: You can express gratitude by saying “xiè xiè” (谢谢).
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