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Hong Kong - The Cupping Room

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  • Hong Kong - The Cupping Room

    I've been in HK on and off for years now, and have tried nearly all the locations of note. Number one on my list is The Cupping Room.

    Why they're amazing: They take care with every cup. Brewed coffee is ground on an EK43. They are integrated tightly with their roasters (Sweet Bloom in the US), and have coffees roasted for them to brew, so it's a synergistic process. They also have good food while they're open during the day (not evenings). You'd call it 'Melbourne'-style (or 'Australia-style', not sure) - a good breakfast, simple but well through-through lunch options and a good pastries menu.

    I really enjoy their marketing of 'Number 2 in the world'. It's pretty good, but always leaves me thinking 'I wonder who number 1 is'... or maybe I take it seriously because they're not claiming to be number 1.

    How to get there: Sheung Wan, 298 Queens Road Central. Behind a McDonald's (don't get waylaid). Open daylight hours until 5pm every day.

  • #2
    Kapo Chui, the owner placed 2nd in the last WBC. 1st place went to a barista from Japan. Kapo is not always there to pull shots but they are pretty good overall with their doppios. A bit on the bright fruity side which is pretty common with HK's specialty coffee shops.

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    • #3
      Yeah, it's interesting, regional palettes. Fruity is easier for newbies to understand. Which is fine. I'm a newbie, relatively. Bitterness is something local baristas actively avoid. Too reminiscent of Chinese medicine and this connotations of not tasty (but healthy), one coffee consultant told me.

      Sorry hope I didn't mean to come across as disparaging to the number two status, which is a hard earned achievement and worthy of pride (as I hope I expressed by my praise for this place).

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      • #4
        There are so many good coffee places in Sheung Wan now - Coco, Barista Jam, Brew Bros, 18 Grams... they'll get Hongkongers drinking proper coffee yet! I have only been to Cupping Room a couple of times - the coffee is very good but I found the service a bit average and with so much choice in the area I've been going to other places instead. I didn't realise they had a WBC runner up - which of their stores does he work in? I wonder how they manage to get their coffee to Hong Kong from a US roaster in good condition - surely a local roaster would be a better option?

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        • #5
          So many HK stores either roast in house or use local roasters. Yes, it'd be more practical.


          They ship weekly from the states. I presume there's a friendly relationship and that's why they use that roaster in particular.

          Whatever the reason, their pourovers are the only ones in HK that have knocked my socks off, so I stick with them as my personal favourite!

          Definitely spoiled for choice - here's the Sheung wan screenshot from the coffee hunting app I'm building (shows only specialty coffee, my own personal list). It's nuts (for here). All of these are great!Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            Few good one in Kowloon city as well, thats the old HK airport area, not just coffee plenty of other food to eat as well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dana_h View Post
              Definitely spoiled for choice - here's the Sheung wan screenshot from the coffee hunting app I'm building (shows only specialty coffee, my own personal list). It's nuts (for here). All of these are great![ATTACH]9447[/ATTACH]
              That app looks great. That map shows sums up why I always stay in Sheung Wan when I visit Hong Kong.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by summercrema View Post
                Few good one in Kowloon city as well, thats the old HK airport area, not just coffee plenty of other food to eat as well.
                Please share details. I used to live in Kowloon Tong and when I lived there the only good coffee was at my house. I still visit Kowloon City occasionally though; the Curry King on South Wall Road is still my favourite Indian restaurant in HK.

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                • #9
                  Whenever I am in HK, I go shopping every second day in Kowloon City, you will find coffee shops in Fuk Lo Tsun Rd, Lion Rock Rd, Hau Wong Rd , easy to find you won't miss it , just walk from beginning each street to the end, these streets are next to each other. Expect Australian style coffee , La Marzacco , Slayer .

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by summercrema View Post
                    Whenever I am in HK, I go shopping every second day in Kowloon City, you will find coffee shops in Fuk Lo Tsun Rd, Lion Rock Rd, Hau Wong Rd , easy to find you won't miss it , just walk from beginning each street to the end, these streets are next to each other. Expect Australian style coffee , La Marzacco , Slayer .
                    Interesting. I will have look next time I am there. Hong Kong changes so fast. I only left Kowloon 18 months ago and Kowloon City was mostly Thai restaurants then. I do recall one or two European wine bar / restaurant type places opening - it seems like Western coffee, restaurants and bars are a bit of a trend at the moment. I think a lot of Hong Kong Chinese come back from study or work in Australia, Canada or Europe and open coffee places or restaurants. I remember going to an Italian restaurant in Wong Tai Sin once - the setting could not have been less Italian, the waiters only spoke Chinese, but damn the chef knew how to cook Italian food, it is was excellent.

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                    • #11
                      Over in HK and have been able to try a few places for coffee. After walking and training to about 4 different places. I decided to give the one under our own motel ago. To my surprise without doubt this has been the best so far. I have been back twice now just to confirm it wasn't a one off.

                      After looking them up they get good review's. If someone has mentioned them above I'm sorry I haven't read it due to time restraints.

                      The place is Main St Cafe right under Eaton hotel. On the main drag of Nathan road for those who know it.

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                      • #12
                        Had another trip to HK recently.

                        Visited Barista Jam and Coco Espresso in Sheung Wan - both still as good as ever.

                        Brew Bros in Sheung Wan seems to have changed a little. It had a few new signs - maybe under new management? The barista was quite slow, which made me think that might be the case. Coffee was still pretty good though, they have many bags of Market Lane coffee on their shelves so that is clearly still their choice of bean.

                        Also went to Knockbox Coffee in Mong Kok for the first time in about two years. It is still the same setup and busier than I'd ever seen it. But I think they've gone too far in terms of coffee pretentiousness. They have such a long coffee and tea menu it is hard to decipher even for me. The guy behind me in the queue even asked for my help. And once you choose your coffee, they have a choice of two types of single origin bean, and you have to choose, there is no default. Ordering a coffee has never been so complicated. They do have a detailed guide to coffee styles on their chalkboard, but I found my eyebrows rising at a few of them - e.g. they listed both "Americano" and "Long Black", which I thought were synonyms. Apparently a long black is 30mls of espresso topped up with water, whereas an americano is water topped up with 30mls of espresso. Come on...

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                        • #13
                          In HK, nothing beats The Coffee Academics in coffee pretentiousness when it comes to the coffee menu. My current fave for espresso is Coffee Corridor in Causeway Bay after they switch to Black Hawk when the Slayer broke down.

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