On January 9, 2016, Sweat & Tears Coffee 有練咖啡 opened in Shanghai with a bang. Behind the brand are Taiwanese Godfather of Pop music “big brother” Li Zongsheng 李宗盛 and the popular Rock band Mayday 五月天 lead singer Ashin 阿信. Their fame had attracted many fans to come and pay here, and there were long queues every day during the first year of opening.
Sweat & Tears Coffee was the first cross-genre collaboration between Li Zongsheng’s guitar brand Lee Guitars and Ashin’s coffee shop StayReal Cafe. It was also a space where they can tell stories together as musicians and craftsmen (artisans).
Sweat & Tears was Lee Guitars’ only direct store in mainland China, where you can choose its handmade guitars. There was an Apple tablet in the corner of the store for you to listen to the music curated by Li Zongsheng, and high-end earbuds provided showed the importance of music at the centre of everything they did here.
Like a page off Hard Rock Cafe, there were memorabilia of Chinese pop on display around the store, including this folk guitar belonging to Li. This was the prototype behind all the handcrafted guitars that Li spent a fortune learning the art of guitar making and setting up the manufacturing in China.
In 2002, Li Zongsheng founded Lee Guitars, a handmade guitar brand, in Taiwan. It was a new musical journey that Li Zongsheng started after he completely abandoned himself from song writing. After 13 years of development and refinement, Lee Guitars has become the number one handmade guitar brand coming from the Chinese world, and it is the first choice for many outstanding musicians.
It was not the mass-produced guitars that can be bought easily in music stores around China. Every Lee Guitar was made and tuned by the man himself according to the brochure.
In addition to the fame of Li Zongsheng and Ashin, what is the attraction behind Sweat & Tears? They specially appointed Taiwan’s first coffee master champion Lin Dongyuan as a consultant for coffee drinks. From the selection and roasting of coffee beans to the taste training of the barista, the countless details were strictly controlled. Even the use of the “Lamborghini” of coffee making – Victoria Arduino Black Eagle VA388 – to ensure every cup of coffee was as good as the last one.
It was a place with beautiful people, beautiful music and beautiful artistic vibes. Too bad they did not survive the harsh reality of economic downturn in a pandemic year.
Sweat & Tears Coffee 有練咖啡
上海市 黄浦区 黄陂南路380号新天地新里5号101-201单元
Date Visited : Dec 2017
Closed : 12 Jun 2020
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