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“Coffee is simple. You see everyone (in Beijing) with all this technology and they charge ten bucks (USD 10) because of it, and people buy it. Coffee isn’t meant to be this complicated.”

Simon started drinking coffee two decades ago, igniting a passion that raced through his neurons and his heart (that could be the caffeine talking though) and kept him humming. Fast forward to the present and he’s left his logistics position exclaiming “I hate cotton,” trading one organic material for another by opening up Fresh Bean  a boutique coffee roast and coffee house space.

From humble beginnings tinkering away with a small roaster he purchased online, making anywhere between ten and twenty adjustments until establishing the perfect roasting time for every bean, to acquiring a machine the size of a baby elephant that now outputs a substantial amount more, the continuous yearning for perfection has remained. “I try to make every batch better than the last” he says while grinding my freshly roasted coffee beans he had brought in this morning in preparation for a pour over.

You’ll have to come in and chat with him or his business partner about what’s on offer as they’ve just undergone a menu re-haul and the English version is yet to be updated (it’s in the works he promises us), but we took a glance at the previous menu to see what the attention to detail is like. Every coffee (there are about eight blends on offer, or the option to DIY with a mix of two or three beans) has a flavor profile, which ranges from beans with dark smoky notes, to citrus wisps, to indulgent sweet flavors like chocolate or caramel. Starting at RMB 25 for a 300mL pour over, the coffee can also come in the form of a cold brew, or espresso.  While we were there we tried beans from ColumbiaGuatemala, and a very unique roast from West Java that I can honestly say has been the most surprising of coffee profiles to cross my palette (if anyone can pinpoint this particular flavor do let me know!)

His first business venture in Beijing, Simon is happy that Wudaoying has provided him plenty of foot traffic, and is now looking to expand to a second location. He remarks that while he knows the big coffee players like Barista, Soloist, and Ocean Grounds might make slightly better coffee overall, he feels they are overpriced for what should be a simple life pleasure.

“Coffee can be good, and cheap. Start with the good though.”

We agree Simon, we agree. 

Sign up to their WeChat: freshcoffeeflavor to receive a 10% discount from your total bill.

Fresh Bean
Daily 10am-8pm (winter), Daily 10am-10pm (summer). 60 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District (157 0151 8397)
五道营胡同60号
600m east of Andingmen (Line 2)

More stories from this author here.

Email: [email protected]hebeijinger.com
Instagram: @wander_in

Photos: Erin Strong


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