Are these the most beautiful cafes in the world?

(CNN) — When visitors go to the Budapest Café in Chengdu, China, they don’t just get a cup of coffee. Rather, they are instantly transported to a location straight from a Wes Anderson film, thanks to the pastel tones, whimsical furniture and a series of archways and arcades built to mimic the filmmaker’s signature symmetrical approach.

The Budapest Café is one of the many charming businesses featured in “Designing Coffee: New Coffee Places and Branding,” a coffee table book (no pun intended) that showcases the world’s most photogenic and eccentric cafés and roasters. Does it.

With its lush architectural lines and soothing pastries, the Budapest Café encourages customers to “physically explore and interact with the space, as if it were a (film) set.” (James Morgan/The Budapest Café/Courtesy Gestalton)

The book by author and coffee expert Lani Kingston, who also teaches a course called “The Anthropology of Coffee” at Portland State University, serves as a reminder that, beyond a good drink, a well-curated aesthetic is vital today. A coffee is essential for retaining your customers and standing out in the increasingly competitive social media landscape. (Apparently having viral latte art isn’t enough anymore.)

In a world where competing cafés are often packed together or even lined up next to each other on the same block, many cafés go to great lengths to stand out. Or rather, to make your coffee stand out.

A “unique” menu of drinks and baked goods complements the quirky decor. Of course, the flamingo pink ball pool should not be forgotten. (Courtesy of James Morgan/Budapest Café/Gestalten)

Minimalism isn’t just a fashion choice, Kingston told CNN, but rather a conscious decision when it comes to branding and aesthetics, because it allows a company to convey that they only care about their coffee. .

Take, for example, Chicago’s Metric Coffee, which underwent a brand review for this very purpose in 2020. Coffee retailer and co-founder Xavier Alexander told CNN that getting the right branding is important in the coffee business, as it is “a new brand that emerges every day.”

Fifteen Steps Workshop in Taipei, Taiwan. This minimalist coffee shop uses its sidewalk space as a “coffee terrace” for customers and passersby. (Courtesy Jamie Yellow/Hey! Cheese/Fifteen Steps Workshop/Courtesy Gestalton)

According to Alexander, Metric Coffee refined its aesthetic to reflect its core values: transparency and sustainability. The word “Coffee” was removed from the company’s logo, with only the word “Metric” now appearing in a blue sans serif logo; Coffee mugs and bags are plain white and feature minimal artwork, logos and essential text. Target? Express simplicity and let Metric Coffee products shine.

“It’s a more humble approach to offering a product that people can feel good about,” Alexander told CNN. He said customers have generally welcomed the brand’s changes.

However, among coffee shops that cater to the younger demographic, Kingston noticed a pendulum swing toward the opposite of minimalism, or “decluttering,” as she (and other Gen Z trend watchers) call it. . Plants, figurines, books and other items decorate shelves and walls “to captivate people and hold their attention,” Kingston said, and provide an engaging environment where it’s easy to lose track of time and place. The minimalist themed decor also makes a great backdrop for photos and videos on social platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

The cafeteria in Montreal, Canada, is a bright space with blue and green colors and faux wood paneling. Everywhere you can find books, stickers, toys and photos from the 90s. (David Dworkind/Cafetierra/Courtesy Gestalt)

Kingston told CNN that coffee shops located in “concrete jungles” often try to highlight vibrant paintings, furniture and decor that contrast with the monochromatic buildings around them. Brown color with bright colors “promises a sense of intrigue.” “They’re saying ‘Hey, come in and experience something different than what’s outside,'” he explained.

they’re not like anyone else

Kingston carefully selected approximately 60 coffee brands across six continents to be included in “Designing Coffee”. Some of the most “unique and really creative” places are concentrated in Asia, he said, though he limited his options to no more than a few cafes per country.

One of his favorites is Fritz Coffee Company in Seoul, South Korea. Despite being instantly recognizable due to its pictorial logo of a seal holding a cup of coffee, what makes the coffee chain’s brand successful, Kingston said, is that the beloved mascot is rarely used.

BK Kim, brand director of Fritz Coffee Co., told Kingston on “Designing Coffee” that the popular series seeks to “incorporate retro and modern elements of Korean culture that bring back memories for one generation and provide new attractions for another.” Does.” (Angela Vijaya/Fritz Coffee Company/Courtesy Gestalton)

Fritz Coffee Company combines “retro and modern elements of Korean culture” to create its brand identity, he wrote. One of its five locations (pictured above) was built from a traditional Korean house, or “hanok”, with a traditional tile roof. However, upon entering, the building presents a modern, elegant and dark décor.

Good packaging can be equally important. For example, Belfast-based brand Process Coffee stores its coffee beans in boxes resembling VHS tapes. Its founder, Ben Hamilton, wanted to combine his interests in coffee and skateboarding, as well as create a product that seamlessly evokes pop culture history.

Anh Coffee Roastery in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). The exhibit is inspired by the basalt-red volcanic soils of Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, the country’s main coffee district. (Courtesy Dosi/Anh Coffee Roastery/Gestalten)

In the 1980s and 1990s, the popularity of skateboarding skyrocketed thanks to home videos capturing tricks and stunts. So Process Coffee focuses on the VHS, a symbol that “points to skate culture but still provides a sense of nostalgia for those unaware of that meaning,” Kingston wrote.

“It speaks to (Hamilton’s) passions and interests,” he said. “It really showed how you can bring your own personal style – you don’t have to follow the norms when building your brand.”

manager position

Some coffee shops compete to become a reference destination by creating experiences similar to “immersive” museums or art exhibitions. Others take inspiration from popular movies and television shows, or are tailored to the aspirational culture surrounding coffee spaces around the world.

Melrose Café, a Hong Kong-based coffee shop, is inspired by Los Angeles coffee culture: the store’s pink and yellow color palette is meant to evoke iconic West Coast sunsets; Their menu includes California-inspired dishes like avocado toast.

Through its atmosphere and menu, Sydney’s Genovese Coffee House offers Australian consumers an espresso ticket to Mediterranean coffee culture. (Anson Smart/Genovese Coffee House/Courtesy Gestalton)

On the other hand, the Genovese Coffee House in Sydney, Australia (pictured above) was inspired by Italian coffee culture. The owner, whose ancestry is linked to Italy, took his family’s “three generations of coffee roasters” into account when designing the space. The exterior mimics a “traditional Italian street store”, Kingston wrote, and the interior features European café furniture and antique Italian coffee pots.

But regardless of the palette, presentation or design inspiration, there is one thing in common that unites all the cafes in Kingston’s book: they are a place to relax, spend time with friends and, of course, enjoy pastries and a delicious cup of coffee. There are community spaces for. Coffee.

“The cafeteria has been the world’s living room for centuries,” Kingston said. “It’s been a place for people to gather outside their homes. People like to go to places where they feel comfortable and enjoy their surroundings, and things that interest them visually and aesthetically. Looks pleasant.”


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