Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hong Kong Espresso Run

visited 1/12/07
Considering that population of Hong Kong is almost 7 million people compacted in 1,104 km² of space, a quality coffee shop is extremely hard to come by. Big chain companies such as sturbucks dominate the coffee market and is extremely popular among the locals. Despite this sad factor there are just a few coffee shops that are worthy of mentioning.

My favourite Zambra café (G/F., 239 Jaffe Road, Wanchai) it is located on Hong Kong island and is convenient to walk to from Wan Chai ferry or Wan Chai metro station. They have another location close to this shop, however I’ve been told that it is not as good as this one, so I never got a chance to go there, the address is: 13 O'Brien Road Wanchai

The owner of the shop is a New Zelander so you are guaranteed to find few surprises on the shelves. They have a large variety of pastries and healthy lunches. I had a meat pie for lunch, I must say that the quality of the pie was rubbish and I don’t recommend it to anyone. They occupy a large space – downstairs and a large upstairs area, clean cut interior. The best thing about this place is that it is on the courner so it gets a lot of sunlight coming in and believe me among all the monster buildings that is indeed a rare treat anywhere in Hong Kong.

On the bar you will find a LaMarzocco FB70 machine with a couple of Mazzer grinders. They pull a decent shot of espresso. The coffee is rosted in their own facility, I believe that they have a Probat roaster and roast for both of their stores. The baristas are knowledgeable and are very friendly. I made friends with a really cool guy El, he is really into his latte art and can do swans and all sorts …

I strongly recommend this shop as it is the only thing to good espresso in Hong Kong.

The only other espresso bar that is worth mentioning would be Crema Coffee (67 Mody Road, Shop G36 Peninsula Centre, Tsim Sha Shui East) A very tiny coffee shop in a relatively busy area. These guys have a LaMarzocco Linea with a mazzer grinder. They cook some lunch foods such as pastas and fresh sandwiches so it does get busy around lunch, I recommend going there before lunch or after.

They roast in house on a small microwave oven like roaster. I am pretty sure that it is an electric drum roaster and it is made in Korea. The roast itself is very dark so it is hardly impossible to taste any fine flavours. The coffee itself was overextracted, toasty and dusty in texture.

As the shop itself is not very big I felt like a lonely sardine in a can with vast amounts of people trying to cramp in for a take-away cup of coffee.

I think Hong Kong coffee market will keep progressing and there will be more and more specilised coffee shops in the nearest future. Paul Pratt is doing a great job with supplying Marzocco equipment and he has just started roasting so hopefully sooner or later there will be an overall higher standard of espresso in Hong Kong, until that day …


alexander said...

great post!
I love Hong Kong and I love coffee. sadly my love for the two is hard to combine!
I wrote about finding Zambra this summer at:

thanks again!


Hua said...

Did you come to Taiwan when traveling in Asia? You won't be disappointed.

Kiril said...

thanks for the comment Alexander, it is really good to see that you thought as much about Hong Kong coffee :)

hua, i havent had time to travel to Taiwan, but i am sure that one day i will :) ... any interesting spots that you might recommend?

Quella said...

Wow.... coffee. Shopped at Dean and Deluca for coffee flavors.