On April 1, a latte art competition was held at the 7th Lujiazui Coffee Festival in Shanghai, featuring 10 groups of baristas, some of whom were hearing-impaired and partnered with able-bodied baristas. The event was jointly organized by Oatly, the Blue Wind Chime Program, and Unibrown Coffee, and the baristas were scored based on their latte art, coffee taste, and production time. This was the second such contest organized as part of the “silent barista project,” which was launched by oat milk company Oatly three years ago.
Oatly’s “silent barista project” has sponsored barista training for over 200 hearing-impaired people, and over 80 baristas trained under this initiative have been employed in cafes such as Unibrown Coffee and Hinichijou. This project aims to provide employment opportunities for people with hearing disabilities in the coffee industry.
The coffee festival also involved other businesses aimed at providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Meng Gong Fang coffee shop, the first employment base for mentally handicapped youth in Shanghai, and LiLi Time, the first coffee shop in the Chinese mainland to be certified as a “B Corp” enterprise, were also involved in the event. A “B Corp” enterprise is a company deemed to have high standards for social and environmental performance.
Chen Bai, the person in charge of the festival, stated that “A cup of delicious coffee warms the city. A coffee project born out of love is worth investing more care in.” The festival has seen an increase in the number of brands participating, from just 24 in 2016 to 260 in the present year, according to Chen.
The coffee industry is highly competitive, and some startups and boutique coffee shops need platforms to gain more exposure and opportunities. Li Zhiwei, deputy director of the Lujiazui neighborhood committee office, stated that “Coffee festivals can enhance the quality of surrounding businesses and generate more commercial, tourism, and even accommodation consumption.”
This year’s coffee festival, which took place from March 29 to April 2, had several highlights, including the Coffee City Roaming themed area. This area comprised stalls by top boutique coffee shops from 12 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, Guiyang, and Jingdezhen. International brands like Lavazza, McCafé, and Nespresso were also present at the event.
The coffee festival was not just about showcasing coffee brands, but also about supporting businesses that promote social and environmental responsibility. The involvement of the “silent barista project,” the Meng Gong Fang coffee shop, and LiLi Time highlights the importance of creating opportunities for people with disabilities in the coffee industry.
The event also promoted the art of coffee making, as baristas were judged on their latte art, coffee taste, and production time. This competition provided a platform for baristas to showcase their skills and creativity.
Furthermore, the coffee festival generated commercial, tourism, and accommodation consumption. It attracted a large number of people who were interested in trying different coffee brands and attending the various events that were part of the festival.
The involvement of international brands like Lavazza, McCafé, and Nespresso demonstrates the global appeal of coffee and the importance of events like this in promoting the coffee industry.
In conclusion, the 7th Lujiazui Coffee Festival in Shanghai was a successful event that showcased different coffee brands and supported businesses that promote social and environmental responsibility. The “silent barista project,” the Meng Gong Fang coffee shop, and LiLi Time were all involved in the festival, highlighting the importance of creating opportunities for people with disabilities in the coffee industry.