Guiyang has a lot of cafés. A lot. Really, an unbelievable number of cafés. They’re in shopping malls, along main thoroughfares, tucked into apartment complexes, on rooftops and just anywhere you can imagine. Every café is different. Some, like Starbucks and Createa, are utilitarian caffeine-fueling stations with reliable coffee and long lines. Others, like Rooftop, are gathering places for expats who want to catch some sun, play board games and chill. Soil Café is hidden in an alley near Penshuichi, and it’s a perfect quiet place to relax alone or with a couple of friends. It’s never noisy, rarely crowded, and has comfortable seating. There is reliable Wi-Fi, power outlets near most tables, and battery packs that you can rent to charge up your phone. It can get busy in the evening, but it always retains its calm environment.
It’s comfortable year-round. It’s well-heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. The lighting is always a little bit dim, giving it a cozy atmosphere. I’ve been going there for almost as long as I’ve lived in Guiyang, and it’s a consistently good experience every time. The best time of day to go is in the afternoon, where you’ll find an excellent environment to do some reading, writing, paperwork or studying.
Soil Café has a fairly extensive drink menu, but I’m not very well acquainted with much of it. I’ve only had two drinks from there. Memory of Orange is an orange-flavored coffee that’s never quite hot enough, but I get it almost every time I go. It’s served in a standard coffee mug with a small cookie. On hot days, I’ll switch to an Iced Mocha. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried any of the other drinks on the menu, so I can’t share more about them. Everything appears to be reasonably priced, however, and the menu has English, so it’s easy to explore.
Servers seem to switch between asking for payment upon being served or as you leave, so just follow their lead when it comes to that. Each table also has a call-button, which you can press for service so that you don’t need to shout.
You can find Soil Café in a charming alleyway across the street from Flora Plaza. The side-street it’s located on is called Taiping Lu. From Zhonghua Zhong Lu, walk up the street just a bit and look for the alley circled in red here. Toward the back of the alley you’ll see a rickety set of wooden stairs with the orange and black sign for Soil Café. Head up the stairs and enjoy!
TAXI (to the entrance of Taiping Lu): 太平路口，南国华锦对面
Open from 10 AM to 1 AM