How to Order Coffee in Chinese

Posted on 23. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

When you’re in China, you’ll learn quickly that a big part of the culture is drinking tea. While tea is great and all, sometimes you’ve just got to get a good cup of joe. As Western things are super trendy in China, there are more and more coffee shops popping up every day. While still not nearly as popular as in Vietnam or South Korea, coffee is definitely on the up and up in China. If you’re in need of some java in the Middle Kingdom, you’ll need to be equipped with the necessary vocabulary in order to get what you want. Study this post and you should be able to order your coffee confidently in Chinese.

A Starbucks in China.

At least it looks Chinese…


General Vocabulary

  • coffee (咖啡 – kā fēi)

  • ice coffee (冰咖啡 – bīng kā fēi)

  • hot coffee (热咖啡 – rè kā fēi)

  • coffee shop (咖啡馆 – kā fēi guǎn)

  • Starbucks (星巴克 – xīng bā kè)

  • sugar (糖 – táng)

  • milk (牛奶 – niú nǎi)

Types of Coffee

  • Americano (美式咖啡 – měi shì kā fēi)

  • cappuccino (卡布奇诺 – kǎ bù jī nuò)

  • mocha (摩卡 – mó kǎ)

  • latte (拿铁 – ná tiě)

  • espresso (浓缩咖啡 – nóng suō kā fēi)

  • single (单分 – dān fēn)

  • double (双分 – shuāng fēn)

  • caramel macchiato (焦糖玛奇朵 – jiāo táng mǎ qí duǒ)


  • small/short (小杯 – xiǎo bēi)

  • medium/tall (中杯 – zhōng bēi)

  • large/grande (大杯 – dà bēi)

  • extra large/venti (特大杯 – tè dà bēi)

Cup of coffee in the big time.

Mmmmm… coffee

Here’s a sample conversation between a barista and customer in a coffee shop:


好..  那我要一个中杯吧


huān yíng guāng lín! nín hǎo xiān shēng
nǐ hǎo
nín xū yào shén me kā fēi?
wǒ yào yī bēi měi shì kā fēi
nǐ yào rè de háishì bīng de?
Wǒ yào bīng de
nǐ yào zhōng bēi hái shì dà bēi?
dà bēi duō shǎo qián?
dà bēi sān shí wǔ kuài
zhōng bēi ne?
zhōng bēi sān shí
hǎo.. nà wǒ yào yī gè zhōng bēi ba
nǐ xū yào niú nǎi huò zhě táng ma?
dōu yào
hǎo de, qǐng zuò
xiè xiè
bù kè qì


Welcome! Hello, sir.


What kind of coffee would you like?

I’d like a cup of Americano.

Would you like hot or ice (coffee)?

I’ll have an ice one.

Would you like a medium or large?

How much is the large?

The large is 35 RMB.

How about the medium?

The medium is 30.

Ok, then I’ll have a medium.

Do you need milk or sugar?


Great. Please sit down.


You’re welcome.

Here’s a decent YouTube video that has a similar conversation with subtitles:

YouTube Preview Image

There you have it, folks – you’ll never need to be without your caffeine fix in China!


From Fishing Village to Boom Town – Shenzhen

Posted on 17. Oct, 2014 by in architecture, architecture and landscaping, Culture, Drinking, food, Leisure, sightseeing, travel, Uncategorized

Back in the ’70s, there was a cluster of farming and fishing villages in southern China known as Baoan County (宝安区 – bǎo’ān qū). At that time, Deng Xiaoping was launching his new policy of Reform and Opening Up (改革开放 – gǎi gé kāi fàng), as he stated, “To be rich is glorious.” Thanks to its strategic location near Hong Kong, Baoan County was designated as China’s first Special Economic Zone (经济特区 – jīng jì tè qū). The plan was to experiment with economic reforms in a controlled way that would not affect the established system elsewhere in China. At that time, there were about 300,000 people living there, most of them farmers and fishermen. Fast forward to the present day, and you now have the mega-city of Shenzhen (深圳 – shēn zhèn) with a population of between 10-15 million, depending on the source.

Shenzhen from above.

Shenzhen from above.

YouTube Preview Image

A short intro to Shenzhen from travelTVee.

Thanks to billions upon billions of investment dollars (both foreign and domestic), Shenzhen is now one of the fastest-growing cities in the entire world, and it shows no signs of slowing down. You won’t find many fishermen there these days, but you will find people from all over China and the world who have moved there to take advantage of the booming economy. On one end of the spectrum, you have millions upon millions of migrant workers who find jobs in construction or manufacturing. On the other end, you have plenty of people with a high level of education who work in some of China’s biggest tech companies. Everyone wants to get a piece of the pie in Shenzhen, which is now ranked #4 out of 659 Chinese cities in terms of its economic output, behind only Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Shenzhen skyscrapers.

Always building here in SZ.

Much of the Shenzhen economy is based on manufacturing, which means you can find plenty of cheap goods there. Tons of massive markets are to be found all over the city, and exploring some of them is an interesting way to kill some time or hide from the frequent rain.

Shenzne electronic market.

Massive electronic markets are abundant here.

Due to its short history, there aren’t many famous tourist attractions in Shenzhen as compared with other Chinese cities. As such, a bunch of theme and amusement parks have been built up there to bring in the tourism RMB. As China is great at copying, it should come as no surprise that two of the most popular parks are the Window of the World (世界之窗 – shì jiè zhī chuāng) and Splendid China. At the former, you can check out a mini-Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, and more. The latter features two sides – one is the China Folk Culture Village with replicas of ethnic minority villages from around the country, and the other is the Miniature Park, which features mini models of famous sights such as the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors.

Mini Forbidden City.

The mini Forbidden City inside Splendid China.

Every evening, you can also enjoy the spectacular “Dancing With the Dragon and Phoenix” performance. Check out a highlight video below:

YouTube Preview Image

When it comes to food and beverage, there’s no shortage of great places to enjoy a meal or a drink in Shenzhen. As people from all over China call this bustling city home, you can find just about any kind of Chinese food imaginable. It being Guangdong province, there’s plenty of delicious Cantonese food around. Some places may surprise you, though, like a legit Xinjiang restaurant under a tent in a random parking lot of an apartment complex. If you’re looking for Western food, just head to the Shekou (蛇口 – shé kǒu) area. Home to many expats, you can find French, Korean, Italian, American, and everything in between. You’ll even find a former cruise ship, the Minghua, which is now parked here and serves as a luxury hotel with a bar and restaurant.

Shekou in Shenzhen.

Stroll around Shekou for lots of good restaurants and bars.

Shenzhen Minghua

The Minghua, a former cruise ship turned hotel.

Although it can’t rival the nightlife of Beijing or Shanghai, there are also plenty of places to wet your whistle in the evening. Whether you’re looking for a fancy cocktail or a locally made craft beer, you can find it in Shenzhen. Of course, you could always pull up a stool and pound lukewarm Kingways and chain smoke with local dudes as well. Shenzhen may not be a top tourist destination in China, but there’s plenty to see and do there to warrant a trip. Plus, with its continued development and economic growth, it’s an appealing destination for those wanting to work or start a business in the country. Check back to the blog in the coming weeks for a short video tour of Shenzhen and an introduction to Guangdong province as a whole.

A Big Buddha and More on Lantau Island

Posted on 15. Oct, 2014 by in architecture, architecture and landscaping, Buddhism, Culture, history, Leisure, religion, sightseeing, travel

Cruise over to Lantau Island for an awesome Hong Kong day trip. Take the cable car for stunning views, climb to the top of the Big Buddha, wander through the wisdom path, and pay a visit to the Po Lin Monastery.

YouTube Preview Image

大屿山 – dà yǔ shān
Lantau Island

nǐ xū yào pái duì yī gè xiǎo shí zuǒ yòu
You need to line up for an hour or so.

缆车 – lǎn chē
cable car

日本菜 – rì běn cài
Japanese food

天坛大佛 – tiān tán dà fú
Big Buddha

心经简林 – xīn jīng jiǎn lín
Wisdom Path

宝莲禅寺 – bǎo lián chán sì
Po Lin Monastery
“Precious Lotus Zen Temple”