It may feel like Hong Kong is inundated with mainstream cafes like Starbucks and Pacific Coffee Company, but look a little closer and you’ll find a cool coffee shop culture that’s coming to a boil. Skilled baristas, artisan blends, stylish décor and Wi-Fi contraptions can be found in many hole-in-the-wall coffee shops around Hong Kong Island. We’ve rounded up the best coffee shops and unique cafes to help quell your next caffeine cravings.
Tucked away inside of lifestyle store WOAW on Gough Street, Elephant Grounds is an exceedingly popular café serving quality coffee from independently roasted beans. The edgy spot in Central is home to minimalistic décor and a small outdoor balcony — the perfect place to sip a quiet coffee when the weather behaves. While Elephant Grounds offers top-notch brews, the café has rightfully earned a following thanks to its homemade ice cream sandwiches that come in unique flavours like pistachio and cookie, egg nog ice cream, Hong Kong-style milk tea, and white chocolate flakes. Should you find yourself in need of a cuppa on the Southside, check out the Wong Chuk Hang location.
11 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, 2253-1313.
A newcomer in Sai Ying Pun, Winston’s opened at the beginning of 2016. The Melbourne-style coffee shop makes a mean flat white with a takeout counter for those on the go. The food menu veers toward health-conscious, featuring the likes of power protein balls, smashed avo and spinach sandwiches, and matcha egg tarts. In the evening, the coffee shop turns into a bar for those who are keen to try an espresso martini, craft beer or a negroni.
A new kid on the foodie block of Hillier Street, Why 50 opened in early 2016. Thanks to a few wooden tables and a long counter, the coffee shop is a great spot for breakfast, catchups, lunch meetings or simply chilling with your laptop. While the focus is of course on coffee (look for the likes of Vancouver-based 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters), Why 50 also has an impressive array of loose-leaf teas and homemade drinks. The food menu is delicious and nutritious, featuring the likes of salmon tartine, Rawnola yogurt, and tasty Cubano sandwiches.
The Cupping Room
Named after a process used by coffee roasters to judge coffees side-by-side without bias, The Cupping Room has firmly established itself as one of Hong Kong’s best coffee shops. Though there are several locations around town, the latest to join the fray is in Central, right under the escalator. The chic, two-story café is home to a two-time barista champion, who won fourth place in an international barista championship held in Seattle. The Cupping Room offers myriad varieties of filter coffees and espressos from far-flung corners of the globe, such as Africa and Central America. The cafe’s Australian- and Italian-inspired food menu is also worth a look, including lots of healthy options for brunch and lunch.
Several locations, including 18 Cochrane Street, Central, 2511-3518.
This peaceful and stylish café is located on the quaint steps of Shing Wong Street in Central. Founded by twin brothers Caleb and Joshua Ng (read The Loop’s interview here), Common Ground has become a hotspot for design-savvy Hongkongers, who flock to the alfresco cafe for great coffee, outdoor seating, and western-Asian fusion food. In addition to the top-notch coffee, Common Ground’s salted chocolate drink and pomegranate chips also come highly recommended.
19 Shing Wong Street, Central, 2818-8318.
This LA-based coffee brand is a refreshing place to get your next caffeine fix. Run by a former world barista champion, Lof10 offers single origin coffee with beans from Blue Bottle Coffee — a popular coffee roaster headquartered in Oakland, California. The cafe’s minimalistic décor gives it a neat and airy appearance, and the large sharing tables make it easy to find a spot to sit. Not only does Lof10 have fantastic coffee, but it also offers all-day brunch and some appetizing desserts to go along with.
G/F, 1 U Lam Terrace, Sheung Wan, 2540-2210.
The Coffee Academics
Coffee connoisseurs flock to The Coffee Academics when they want a quality cuppa and a chill environment. While the coffee here is on the pricier end of the spectrum — think $100-plus for some blends — The Coffee Academics is dedicated to serving excellent artisan coffee made by award-winning baristas. With a total of five outlets across town, Coffee Academics has grown tremendously since it first opened in 2012. Its flagship location is tucked away in the heart of Causeway Bay, featuring some seriously fancy coffee-roasting equipment. Its loft-like interior, dimmed lighting and high-energy vibes makes it a great place to chill out with friends — if you can find a seat. This café is out to spread the love of a good bean, even offering classes on how to concoct the perfect cup of joe. As well as serving up top-quality brews, the coffee academics offers a variety of desserts and an enticing lunch menu.
Several locations, including 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, 2156-0313.
While the bustling streets of Causeway Bay are abundant with options for coffee lovers, Café Corridor is one of the best in the business. checking out for its fresh coffee and all-day breakfast. This tiny café is truly a hidden gem, tucked away down a nondescript corridor just a minute away from the Causeway Bay MTR station. Inside, seating is sparse but if you manage to grab a table, you’ll be rewarded with carefully sourced beans, all-day breakfast, homemade cakes, and silky smooth lattes, which are among the best in Hong Kong.
G/F, 26A Russel Street, Causeway Bay, 2892 2927.
Located along the charming stone steps of Shing Hing Street, The Mixing Bowl is a café-slash-bakery opened by two avid bakers, one from England and the other from Canada. The locally roasted coffee beans hail from from Kenya, Ethiopia, USA, and Mexico. While the coffee is worth a trip alone, the café also doles out a scrumptious lineup of freshly baked goods — ranging from scones to cinnamon rolls, cookies and cake. If you’re curious about how all the delicious bites are mate, ask about The Mixing Bowls’ cooking classes.
5 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan, 2524-0001.
Part of the growing coffee culture in Wan Chai, Mansons Lot is a trendy café serving up quality brews in a cozy spot with laid-back vibes. An Australian café franchised in Hong Kong, Mansons Lot’s award-winning coffee is flown in from Australia and roasted locally in Hong Kong. The baristas specialize in artisan coffee, and they’re well-known for their flat whites, long blacks and macchiatos. Along with quality coffee, you’ll also find an assortment of homemade baked goods here.
15 Swatow Street, Wan Chai, 2362-1899.
Hazel & Hershey
A tiny outfit on Peel Street, Hazel & Hershey has been a stalwart spot for quality coffee, MasterClasses and cool contraptions since it was first established in 2009. The retail shop-cum-cafe stocks beans, cups, barista tools, scales, and everything in between. All of the beans are sourced directly from farmers and estates, and Hazel & Hershey roasts them locally in Hong Kong for maximum freshness.
Shop 3, 69 Peel Street, Central, 3106-0760.
If you’re looking for a top-notch caffeine fix, 18 Grams is the place to go. Co-founded by Australian born Jason Moses and Gloria So, 18 Grams sources its coffee beans from all over the world. The coffee fanatics here are dedicated to consistency, precision, and quality to ensure that each cup is made with the correct ratio of espresso, milk and foam. The café has grown significantly since its early days as a premium espresso bar on Cannon Street in Causeway Bay, and the brand now boasts eight locations across the city.
Various locations, including Unit C, G/F, 15 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, 2893-8988.