Next stop, Mandarin Friday


Coffee-loving expats in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai are pretty relaxed in terms of how little Chinese they need to get by. China’s coffee culture has been booming recently, and at just about every corner you’re bound to find a Western coffee chain staffed with locals who understand generic orders such as a Latte or an Americano, some coffee chains even have our Costway coffee maker in the corner. (click here to see special for $21.95)

But what happens when you walk into a busy Starbucks branch and the only person available to take your order is a barista-in-training who looks at you funny when you ask for a Grande Cold Brew? You can’t expect that each Starbucks you come across will have English-speaking staff. You’re the foreigner in China, after all! Most of the times it’s best to save the trouble and have a coffee pot and a grinder available at home.


Photo by: Jing Daily


Types of Coffee and Drinks

If a regular coffee isn’t where you get your usual caffeine fix, here are the translations of other standard beverages commonly served across coffee chains, cafes and restaurants:

Latte 拿铁 (Nah tie)

Espresso 浓缩咖啡 (No-ung kaffe)

Cappuccino 卡布奇诺 (A couple chee no)

Mocha 摩卡 (More kah)

Americano 美式咖啡 (My shoo kaffe)

Macchiato 玛奇朵 (My chee door)

Frappuccino 星冰乐 (Sing bing la)

Here are a couple of examples of iced drinks:

Iced latte 冰拿铁 (Bing nah tie)

Iced Mocha 冰摩卡 (Bing more kah)

Of course, Starbucks has its own system for cup sizes, so let’s take a look at what each cup translates to in Chinese.

Short 小杯 (Sell buy)

Tall 中杯 (June buy)

Grande 大杯 (Dye buy)

Venti 超大杯 (Ciao dye buy)

Each coffee shop will have its own flavors of coffee drinks and syrups, but let’s discuss some of the common ones:

Vanilla 香草 (Sung ciao)

Hazelnut 榛子 (June zit)

Peppermint 薄荷 (Paul her)

Chocolate巧克力 (Show her lee)

Caramel 焦糖 (Joe tongue)

Strawberry 草莓 (Ciao my)

Chai tea 拉茶 (Lye chard)

So after you’ve given your order, you can say either:

For here 在这里喝 (Try jerry her’ar)

Take away %3