mate culture

Cultural Fusion in a Cup: Reflections on Cross-Cultural Cafe Experience

Exploring the world of cross-cultural cafes can lead to fascinating discoveries and delightful surprises. From the blend of Shanghai’s French Concession cafes to the unique mate culture in Buenos Aires’ coffee spots, we’ve gathered insights from founders and a chief editor. Here are four intriguing experiences they’ve shared that showcase the global influence on local cafe scenes.

  • Shanghai’s French Concession Cafes
  • Tokyo’s Japanese-Italian Cafe Fusion
  • Seattle’s Australian-American Cafe Blend
  • Buenos Aires’ Mate Culture in Cafes

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Shanghai’s French Concession Cafes

Shanghai cafe / Aloha cafe / Atelier IN

Aloha Cafe designed by Atelier IN

Photography Oliver,Vikin

Shanghai, China, has a large residential neighborhood that was once the former French Concession in the city from the mid-1800s to the 1900s. A large part of this neighborhood and its buildings remain unchanged, and you can find many cozy French cafes and restaurants tucked away in this area. 

For example, RAC Coffee is a beautiful cafe that serves sweet and savory crepes, along with other delicious French and European cuisine. Unsurprisingly, Shanghai is lovingly referred to as the “Paris of the East”—and for good reason! Definitely worth a visit—I lived there for four years and loved every minute of it.

Kristine Thorndyke, Co-Founder, TEFL Hero

Tokyo’s Japanese-Italian Cafe Fusion

Along the lines of fascinating cross-cultural cafe experiences, I was lucky to find Tokyo’s blend of Japanese and Italian influences. The narrow alley led me to the cafe, and walking in, I was welcomed by a space somewhere between traditional Japanese interior designs and the typical warmth of Italian cafes.

The reason I noticed is not only the contrasting combination of these cultural items but their interchangeability. The selection included creative takes on Italian espresso beverages and a matcha-inspired Japanese offering. Although espresso toppings were not included, the skillful preparation by baristas, with precision for each drink, impressed me, and the matcha was subtly sensed, giving an additional touch of sophistication.

The decor, too, comprised traditional Japanese craftsmanship with a touch of Italian hospitality, embodied in small details but creating an atmosphere where you want to settle. It was revealed not only by the economic aspect of customers, who were mainly locals and tourists, but also by those who enjoyed brilliantly fusing tastes and beauty.

In this case, this experience illustrated at best what kind of fine fruits cross-cultural exchanges could bear as a result. Over time, multiple cultures that are entirely unique meet and provide something wholly new and entertaining. It represented the global popularity of cafes as places for cultural learning and communal pleasure.

Manish Shrestha, Founder, BiheBazaar Pvt Ltd

Seattle’s Australian-American Cafe Blend

I had the chance to visit an Australian-inspired café when I was traveling in Seattle, USA. It was called Little Creatures. As soon as I walked in, I noticed a unique atmosphere that blended both Australian and American cultures. 

The menu featured classic Aussie dishes like Vegemite toast and flat whites, but also had popular American items like avocado toast and drip coffee. The staff were all Australians who had brought their coffee-making skills and laid-back attitudes to the States. It was interesting to see how this café successfully incorporated elements from both cultures, creating a welcoming and diverse space for customers.

Shaun Martin, Founder and CEO, Sell My House Fast

Buenos Aires’ Mate Culture in Cafes

DUCA Caffe designed by OHIO Estudio + Estudio RIPANI 

Photograph / Website: Javier Agustin Rojas / 

One of the most intriguing cross-cultural café experiences I had was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I encountered mate culture influenced by both indigenous traditions and European customs. Sharing mate with locals in a cozy café was a social and cultural immersion. It showcased how historical influences can shape modern café rituals, creating a unique and enriching experience.

Irina Tracy, Chief Editor, Love Advice

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