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More than coffee

A sketch book inspired by coffee times with friends

As time began to slow down in 2020, I have got not only much more coffee times at home, but also more thoughtful appreciation of the coffee shops where we were fortunate enough to enjoy coffee times in between the stages of lockdowns.

I started to sketch in late summer, 2020 after my two-weeks stay-home quarantine. As a new graduate student enrolled with a Master in human-centred design, I somehow received the influence from my class and use this series of sketches as a reflection of both such precious time with friends and the space making details of each venue from a design thinking perspective.

Room with a view

Room with a view

Blacksheep espresso


Blacksheep espresso Shanghai is one of the first specialty coffee shops I encountered four years ago when I moved to Shanghai.


Minimal design, workstation-centered smaller and cozy space with a limited range of merchandise, which is more of statement - Keepcup for example. that working in style and with pride presented by the staffs then was impressive.


I only learnt recently from a coffee buddy that the brand is proudly offering their home blend and brew from their own roastery. And the renovated store is redesigned around the icon of sheep - we both laughed as it honestly didn't speak to consumers like us.


The side window view is found somewhat adorable, which provides the passengers on the street, a zoom-in lens on the barista, the craftsmanship. 

Dress code of conversation

Doe, Xintiandi


I’m fascinated about the fashion part of speciality coffee in daily life, more than the science and business side of it. 


By fashion, it’s not just the outfits, but also the art of communication, content curation around the lifestyle. How comfortably we converse first time, how we co-curate time and space in-store, how we smile to each other…


Walking in that door is to interact with one the communities I belong to and play in that “fashion” effortlessly. Doe is such a place for me. As soon as I walked in first time four years ago, I knew it well that the coffee bar inside was NOT their main. It’s simply a welcome sign for people like me who needed to chill in from the immediate and typical “noise” of the office crowd nearby. Over the years, the identity of the core community keep going strong as the brand evolves.


While other coffee shops are struggling btw attracting more traffics and receiving wrong crowds. Doe is my go-to for a me time or pure conversation with buddies whom I believe are part of this community too. There is a quiet dress code that we don’t even have to mention - always walk in with that pair of favorite sneakers:-)

In and Out

In and Out



Live a gentler life - a shiny morning exactly six months ago, I was sharing with a dear friend how much I enjoyed reading Feb issue of Monocle magazine in a couch at Prahran, Melbourne.


This sketch is based on my experience at a neighborly coffee shop which I'd love to call it my living room outside my apartment. Knowing a bit about their new concept before my “winter/summer holiday”, I curiously walked in first day after my quarantine. The shop is called GentleMaker - what a coincidence-:) 


Instead of drawing their specialty combining artisan coffee x shoe care. I find this window side storytelling after paying a couple of visits. “In & out” that ambience, connections and dynamics of the physical space and the emotions, stories. The crew at the shop is a band of gentle style too, where the interconnections happen spontaneously. Think of customers, the community the co-owner of the shop, let them openly engage, co-create and eventually evolve together, gently. 


A side thought here: what about we apply same idea when building our relationship. It’s not just a two-way communication but a co-creation of such a breathing space in between. 

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

The Space Gallery & Cafe


Always a pleasure to come to The Space to have a artsy date: 

checking out their latest exhibition and catching up with friends over a cup of good coffee before or after. 


A living room with two wings of gallery space, the wall partitions and seating design here allow people to move fluently by various traffic routes, which to me feels like playing hide and seek with friends, strangers and the artworks popping up every corner. There could be something unseen or you just want to see more next time. 

It’s so obvious that many cafes in the city are designed to be “design-ful”. This Space made it effortlessly by taking authentic design approach that makes sense to their customers, the community and their business. 


A sketch of my favorite corner, find it soothing at the end of Monday -:)

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