Blue Bottle’s Shanghai Opening Draws Huge Lines and Mixed Reviews

“I spent five hours waiting in line and one hour waiting for my order. But [my drink] tastes the same as other coffee places in Shanghai”

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1:05 AM HKT, Wed March 2, 2022 1 mins read

Blue Bottle Coffee Company has officially come to the Chinese mainland, opening its first store in Shanghai on February 25.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its presence in a novel market, the Oakland-based chain drew a massive crowd on opening day.

Hundreds of people in Shanghai were already lined up outside of the coffee shop before it opened at 8 AM. Moreover, by around 2:50 PM, people could no longer join the line because it was so long that staff would not be able to service everyone before closing at 7 PM.

Blue Bottle Shanghai

People waiting in line at Blue Bottle

So what is it about Blue Bottle that has people willing to stay in line for hours? We spoke to several fans who shared their thoughts on the hip American coffee chain.

For coffee enthusiast Brian, who declined to give his family name and co-runs the coffee blogging account @牛小咖 on the Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu, he came because Blue Bottle has a reputation for producing high-quality coffee.

“I woke up at 6:30 AM to come to get the coffee, and when I got here at 7:30 AM, the line was almost 100 meters long,” said Brian.

He continued, “I knew the brand was founded in America. Their coffee is known to have good quality.”

After waiting in line for five hours, Brian finally got to taste Blue Bottle Shanghai’s coffee, and he believed it lived up to his expectations.

Blue bottle

Blue Bottle’s Shanghai location. Image via Bobo

Some, however, felt the wait was not worth it.

“I was attracted to Blue Bottle because of its design style and reputation, so I spent five hours waiting in line and one hour waiting for my order. But [my drink] tastes the same as other coffee places in Shanghai,” a disappointed customer told RADII.

Perhaps the most exciting scene from Blue Bottle’s opening day was that, with such high demand for the brand’s caffeinated offerings, there were even scalpers around the corner selling coffee at 100 RMB (16 USD) per cup.

blue bottle

Coffee being sold by scalpers

You may be wondering, what did these incredibly patient patrons do to kill time while waiting in line?

“We will just watch Douyin [known internationally as TikTok] and play video games while waiting,” a couple told us while waiting in the queue.

Cover image via Bobo

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