City of Lattes, Part 1
Chatteris' own Caroline Lengyel shares with us her insider knowledge of the best coffee shops Hong Kong has to offer.
I drink coffee every day, many times a day — a habit I afford by skipping meals, frequenting McDonalds and owning about three pairs of clothes. In any case, I’ve done plenty of time in Hong Kong’s indie coffee-shop scene, young but growing fast! Here are some favourite spots:
5. CAFE SAUSALITO (Sham Shui Po Location)
Overall Experience: 8/10
Just a few blocks around the corner from my apartment, Cafe Sausalito is the California-style coffee shop I thought I’d left behind in the States. It gets hipster cred for being in Sham Shui Po instead of the usual glossy Hong Kong Island locale. Serves (expensive) breakfast all day. The owner is very sweet and the café hosts all sorts of cool events, like live jazz!
Be warned, you will see lots of photos of coffee + my computer + possibly my bag in this series.
4. OMOTESANDO (Wan Chai Location)
Overall Experience: 7/10
Not the most staggering latte but a solid effort — and the atmosphere is one of a kind. The baristas wear lab coats which is a little cheesy but also makes you feel like you’re in a Frankenstein movie. I’m not entirely sure what the aesthetic is supposed to convey (the minimalist website does little to clarify)… I suppose, coffee-brewing as a science? I prefer to think of it as an art but whatever works for the beans.
I don’t have any photos from Omotesando but enjoy this pic of a man walking five pups (spotted on Gough Street).
3. COFFEE ACADEMICS (Wan Chai Location)
Overall Experience: 10/10
Rather posh, but you guessed that from the name :) I view coffee as a necessary expense so I was willing to shell out 100 HK dollars for a cappuccino and latte; I understand others might be less eager. Nevertheless, I love this place. The decor is minimal, the lights dimmed atmospherically— at least in the evening — and the staff are kind and very willing to answer your questions about coffee! I learnt what a tall white is here (told you I wasn’t an expert). To be honest, it gets the most points because I was able to read, write, and sneak bites of smuggled-in raison bread for three hours straight without disturbance. Not to mention the people-watching opportunities; only the classiest™ dates occur here and all outfits are on point (as in checkered pants, crop tops, suede block heels as far as the eye can see). 10/10 would smuggle again.
Not pictured: raison bread.
2. ELEPHANT GROUNDS (Sheung Wan Location)
Overall Experience: 9/10
Huge portions, cute patio area, enough said.
1. HAY FEVER FLORAL & GIFTS (Prince Edward Location)
Overall Experience: Wondrous
My favourite coffee place so far, also my favourite place on earth. I’ve been five times and each experience is etched in my memory. Put it this way: flower shop. PLUS COFFEE. Maybe I’m just basic but this had me reeling. If anyone has had a greater idea in the history of culinary arts / interior design / human innovation in general, I can’t imagine what it is. I genuinely didn’t want to tell you about this shop because it’s crowded enough (on the weekends) but I suppose you’d have found out anyhow. The coffee is great. There’s seating upstairs.
Go, live your best life, you’re welcome!