The nearby Temple of Heaven and Pearl Market are in many ways iconic of Beijing – rich history and culture alongside a bustling market selling handicrafts, electronics and everything in between.
Add to all this a slightly unlikely ingredient: an Australian-themed café located at the western entrance of the Market, a stone’s throw from the Temple of Heaven.
Bondi Coffee branch at Pearl Market
Beijing is not a city especially famous for its coffee, even less for its Australian coffee.
However, the capital is renowned for its coffee, as the very first Chinese Starbucks was opened in Guomao in 1999.
Plus, the capital certainly has no shortage of great places for a cup of joe.
According to BJNEWS.COM.CN, the Chinese capital had more than 4,000 coffees in 2021.
By our calculations, that means there are around 0.54 cafes per 10,000 people – well behind Shanghai which now has around 2.81 cafes per 10,000 people, according to recent data.
READ MORE: Shanghai has more cafes than any other city in the world
Beijing’s Chaoyang district is something of a different story. Beijing Radio and Television Station reports that there are 2.63 cafes per 10,000 people, surpassing cities like New York and Tokyo.
Whether Beijing can really make its mark on the global coffee scene is up for debate. However, what we can say for sure is that the capital has something of a cafe scene to explore.
While Aussie (Australian) style coffee (think flat whites, etc.) isn’t hard to come by, Aussie themed cafes aren’t that common.
Bondi Coffee opened in Pearl Market in 2017. The branch will “reopen very soon”, according to the Bondi owner.
Just opposite the Temple of Heaven, the branch has been a magnet for foreign and domestic tourists, as well as nearby office workers.
Bondi customers enjoying the cafe’s outdoor area
Following the first outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, business was not easy, given the lack of foreign tourists due to border restrictions, and given the intermittent restrictions on domestic tourists traveling to Beijing.
But don’t think for a moment that business is wavering, as Bondi just opened another branch last month (July 2022).
Far from the pearl market routine, the new Bondi branch is located in the Haidian district on Huayuan Bei Lu.
Bondi Coffee’s new branch in Haidian district
In fact, the location couldn’t be more different, as it’s located in the second building of Peking University Third Hospital’s Surgical Department – serving hard-working hospital staff and patients who need refreshment.
So apart from the name (think Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach), what exactly makes Bondi Coffee an Australian-themed cafe?
Bondi owner Sandy, who asked that we only use her English name, found herself inspired, after spending many years in Australia.
Once you walk into a Bondi Coffee branch, you’ll be greeted by a menu full of authentic Australian coffees – including flat white, made with imported Devondale milk; the piccolo latte that Sandy describes as an “extra extra small latte”; babyccino, a hot frothy milk drink for kids who aren’t quite ready for coffee, and more.
A Bondi Coffee classic with a latte art topping
Other Authentic Australian products include Bundaberg soft drinks and Victoria Bitter beer, although alcohol will NOT be served at the new location (remember it is in a hospital).
Just in case you had any doubts about Sandy’s commitment to all things Australian, she even shot a promo video for Bondi wearing a kangaroo costume.
Australia is proud of its distinctive coffee culture – so much so that Tourism Australia is devoting a whole section from its official website to the cafe.
Under the heading “AUSTRALIAN COFFEE Cheat Sheet” it notes that:
“Coffee in Australia is a serious and special business – so much so that you will rarely hear someone just ordering ‘coffee’.”
I guess you could say Bondi Coffee carries the flag for Australian coffee in the Chinese capital.
[Cover image via Pixabay. All in-text images via Bondi Coffee]