Co-founder, Coffee and Tales
Allan Guan didn’t plan on staying in Hong Kong for long. The Canadian entrepreneur originally came to Hong Kong in 2013 by way by Australia, where he moved to in order to gain international working experience. He worked with office furniture company Steelcase, but as he puts it, “the vibrancy of the city and the people here has captivated me.”
Two years ago, he co-founded Coffee and Tales with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Tiffany Lee. To date, the coffee subscription service has shipped more than 10,000 bags of coffee to caffeine lovers in Hong Kong and 15 countries across the world.
Guan was inspired to start up the company after spending time in Melbourne, one of the coffee capitals of the world.
“The idea really started from difficulties and experiences that I came across myself as a coffee drinker new to the city,” he explains “There wasn’t a simple way to be able to find new coffee roasters and try their coffee without sometimes traveling more than an hour each way.
While talking to micro-roasters around Hong Kong, Guan was fascinated by each of their backgrounds and stories. That forms a “central part” of the Coffee and Tales experience, he says — each subscription box features the story of the roaster. “You get to learn a little bit about the person behind the beans you receive.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Guan wants to help put Hong Kong’s growing coffee scene on the global map.
His very first job? “At the age of 14 I worked in market kiosk that served as currency exchange and customer service. To this day I still don’t know why anyone would trust a 14-year-old to carry out currency exchange transactions.”
Proudest achievement? “Those moments when I hear from our partner roasters that people around the world have sent them praises after trying their coffee in one of our boxes.”