6 of the best cafés for latte art in Shanghai

From hand-poured unicorns to 3D-printed Pikachus

Photograph: Yang Jie
Some of us can't survive a day without coffee, and a pretty one might just make your day extra special. While Shanghai is brimming with cafés, there are surprisingly few places that feature good latte art – that is, aesthetic designs without sacrificing the taste or texture of the drink. It's a difficult skill to master, so it's no wonder that most of the professionals who know it work as private teachers instead of running their own cafés. But we did manage to find a handful, and we've compiled the best ones here to get you started.

Kaffeine Coffee

Just opposite Xiangyang Park, Kaffeine Coffee on Xiangyang Bei Lu is one of the best (if not the best) places to go to for beautiful coffee in the city. Make sure to catch the champion latte artist Yang Jie and his talented students at work. Take your pick from various latte art designs, such as unicorns, seahorses, swans and other animals, as well as seasonal designs for Valentine’s Day, Christmas and beyond. What's more is that a cup of such delicious goodness costs only 23RMB – a small price to pay for your next wanghong Instagram story.

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100 Xiangyang Bei Lu

1617 Cafe Bistro

Tucked away inside Metro Town, 1617 Cafe Bistro may be a hidden gem in itself, but it's even got a hidden item not on the menu – 3D latte art. Spot the 3D printer next to the cashier, and you can upload your desired image from your phone directly onto it. While you wait for the design to be printed onto your drink, you can admire the restaurant's fairy tale-inspired decorations and antiques. A latte costs 32RMB and the art is printed at no extra cost.

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890 Changning Lu


% Arabica is certainly one of the most popular café chains in Shanghai right now, most likely for its consistent standard in flavour and presentation across its many branches. With expert baristas in store, you can expect perfectly mastered heart and clover patterns made in the blink of an eye while you check out its latest opening on Jianguo Xi Lu. Drinks are around 35RMB.

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481 Jianguo Xi Lu

Han Yuan Hui

Once a bookstore-café frequented by Hong Kong celebrity Leslie Cheung, Han Yuan Hui has not only been attracting Cheung's fans, but also those who love its relaxing atmosphere and latte art – but the latter is only for those lucky enough to catch the latte artist Wang Liang at work. Choose from birds, monkeys, antelope and more for your drink (38RMB), then grab a book, sit back and enjoy.

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374 Shaanxi Nan Lu


If you're a fan of sweets and everything dainty, Miss.Queen has got you covered. As if its stunning cakes (around 60RMB) and sodas aren’t enough to get crowds flocking to the restaurant, it puts cartoon characters on lattes (33RMB) and even cute kitten faces on milk foam to make your afternoon tea that much better – the whole experience might leave you feeling like the royalty you are.

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269 Xizang Zhong Lu

Cozy Café

A café by day and a bar by night, Cozy Café is a new neighbourhood favourite with its excellent coffee and intimate vibes. Order the signature Cozy Latte Cafe (30RMB) and watch as award-winning latte artist Xiao Yao creates gorgeous floral patterns or a bunny in no time.

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592 Fuxing Zhong Lu

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