Christopher Delong likes educating local people on coffee and pastries and recipes he and his wife came up with together. [Photo by Sun Yuanqing/China Daily]
Take one coffee shop, add a teaspoon of authenticity, a generous dash of American lifestyle and culture, and stir. The end result is a soothing place where customers can grab a cup of joe and relax after work. Sun Yuanqing reports.
Finding a coffee house where you can get an authentic coffee in a third- or fourth-tier city in China can be very difficult.
But people in Guizhou province's capital Guiyang have had one for seven years. American restaurateur Christopher Delong offers not only coffee but also the knowledge and lifestyle that come with it.
"We want to create a space for authentic coffee, an American experience to learn about coffee culture, as well as a soothing place for people to relax after work," the 49-year-old says.
In a city that doesn't yet have Starbucks, Costa or McCafe, Delong's Highland coffee shop is more than a shop. It has become part of the city experience. This is where local youth meet, travelers linger and the few Western residents get a taste of home.
Delong is both the cafe's boss and the walking signboard. He educates locals on coffee and pastries, and shares recipes he and his wife create.
The work starts as soon as the customer steps in the door. In a Chinese coffee shop, the customers are used to having a hostess wait at the door and take them to a seat. They then wait for the server to take the order. They are not accustomed to stepping up to the counter, looking at the menu hanging on the wall and deciding what they want.