Coffee aroma permeates villages in China's Zhejiang

(People's Daily Online) 13:56, December 20, 2023

Anji, a small county in east China's Zhejiang Province with a permanent population of 580,000, is home to more than 300 coffee shops, which, in terms of population density, has surpassed that of Shanghai. Most of these coffeehouses are in rural areas.

The Deep Blue Coffeehouse, located on an abandoned mine in Hongmiao village of the county, boasts of a spectacular view of a blue lake.

Photo shows a view of the place where the Deep Blue Coffeehouse is located in Hongmiao village, Anji county, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

"During this year's Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, we sold 7,132 cups of coffee in one day, setting a national record," said Cheng Shuoqin, owner of the coffee shop.

According to Cheng, the cafe has so far received nearly 600,000 visitors, which is an extremely large volume for a coffee shop in a remote village.

Cheng believes that rural coffee shops have their own unique features. "Every village is endowed with natural resources, including mountains, waters, and rice paddies, which can certainly provide something different," he said, adding that his coffee shop has become a popular photo spot, attracting a batch of "loyal fans."

Cheng said his cafe sells not only the coffee itself, but the drink's "emotional value."

Cheng's view was echoed by Zhou Zhen, operator of a camping project in Penghu village, Anji. Zhou believes that urbanites are the main customers of rural coffee shops.

"There are over 200 million people in the Yangtze River Delta region. Urban residents will pour into the villages during holidays to seek relaxation," Zhou said.

Zhou runs a captivating cafe on a cliff terrace of a mountain. Visitors can feast their eyes on a waterfall in the cliff cafe, and appreciate the beautiful view from the top of the mountain.

Aside from the cafe, there are camping sites, tea rooms, and farms that offer parent-child experiences in the village, attracting crowds.

Photo shows a view of the place where the cliff cafe is located in Penghu village, Anji county, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

Coffee shop operators in the county have agreed to enable more people to benefit from the coffee industry.

The Deep Blue Coffeehouse, for instance, has attracted more than 100 college students, injecting vitality into the once-hollow village.

"Many young people volunteer to become our partners. Some of them are skilled at painting, while others are good at music. By holding a series of events at our coffeehouse, they can earn some money," Cheng said, hoping that an ideal life circle will be built in Hongmiao village.

Zhou's cafe hires young people in Penghu village, and local villagers are invited to the restoration of his project. His cafe has fattened villagers' wallets, and there are more and more B&B hotels near the cafe.

Noting that not every village is suitable for a cafe, Zhou suggested developing rural industries according to a village's features to avoid homogenization.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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