Tucked along quiet laneways, hidden from street view, located in parts of town you’d never think you could find a decent brew… undercover coffee spots are scattered across the 852.
Nestled in the labyrinth that is Wan Chai, Mansons Lot could be one of the Hong Kong café scene’s best-kept secrets. With fabulous coffee (specific shout out to their flat whites) and a decent food menu to boot, this quaint hole-in-the-wall is one of my favourite Wan Chai discoveries. If you have time up your sleeve, I recommend settling in to enjoy your brew. Although the place isn’t huge, there is enough space and seating to get comfy and happily chow down.
Mansons Lot, G/F, 15 Swatow St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2362 1899, www.mansonslot.com
Situated midway along Shing Wong Street (the stairway that runs from Caine Road, over Bridges Street down to Hollywood Road), is where you’ll find Common Ground. Understatedly cool with a grungy urban, yet chilled out atmosphere, the coffee here is worth traipsing up (or down) the stairs for. With no cars whizzing past, the stairway location makes it easy to forget this café is sandwiched between two of the busiest roads in Mid-Levels. I’m a particular fan of Common Ground’s iced coffees – unlike some cafes around town which serve iced beverages that taste sad and watered down – Common Ground’s version is balanced and delicious, perfect for the hot summer months ahead! Check out our full review here.
Common Ground, 19 Shing Wong Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/Commongroundhk
The Cupping Room
Located directly off Queen’s Road Central along Cleverly Street (discretely below McDonald’s), you will find The Cupping Room. With an extensive beverage menu and a two-time Hong Kong barista champ at the helm, The Cupping Room is all about coffee – serious coffee. The contemporary wooden setting makes for a warm and friendly atmosphere and allows plenty of room to park up and settle in. There are a number of breakfast and lunch options on the menu, however, for me; the coffee here is the main draw card.
The Cupping Room, Shop LG, 299 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, www.thecuppingroomhk.com
Amical pretty much serves as the dictionary definition of a ‘hidden coffee spot’. Apart from one small over-hanging street sign, this undercover café is perched above street level overlooking Wan Chai’s trendy Star Street Precinct. The coffee here is exceptional. The baristas are highly skilled and passionate about brewing coffee in all its forms. I’m a huge fan of Amical’s little al-fresco balcony (a perfect urban escape adorned with leafy green pot plants), but what gets me the most excited is their latte art! From cats and bears to little moustachioed faces – it’s worth ordering a milky brew just to see what shapes they pour into it!
Amical, 1/F, 1 Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.amicalcoffee.intimex.hk
Sandwiched within a dense row of shops is Rabbithole, a modern café and hub for coffee enthusiasts that prides itself on understanding the science behind pouring the perfect brew… The coffee here is fantastic and is made even better with a great food selection (the Korean BBQ beef sandwich is next level). If you’re keen to sit in, I find the best time to swing by tends to be in the morning as it becomes very busy at lunchtime.
Rabbithole, 3 Landale Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.rabbitholecoffee.com
The Mixing Bowl Café
Newly opened on Shing Hing Street (a set of steps that links Hollywood Road to Gough Street), The Mixing Bowl doubles as a baking school and café! Given it seems to position itself as a bakery/baking school first and a café second, make sure you visit with an appetite and not just for the coffee. Trays of freshly baked goods (all made on-site) line the counter top: loaves of bread, cinnamon rolls, scones, pies, and the most insane red velvet cake… no shortage of foodstagram material to say the least. Taking the term ‘fresh’ to a new level, each table has its own toaster to allow you to toast your own bread at your leisure – forget about BYO, these guys are all about TYO! Genius. Beyond the baked goods, my experience with the coffee has been smooth sailing so far. Definitely worth popping in for a visit!
The Mixing Bowl Café, 5 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.themixingbowlhk.com
Despite being located next to an arterial traffic route (one of the last places you’d ever expect to find a decent café), Opendoor Cafe provides a surprisingly tranquil haven from the chaos outside. Sitting on Connaught Road West, opposite Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park (one of my fave public outdoor areas in this part of town), everything about Opendoor Cafe is pleasant: the staff are nice, the beverage selection is good and there is an amazing little courtyard out the back of the cafe. I loved having my iced coffee served in a heavy glass drinking jar (which was a quirky touch) and the fact a Marc Allante exhibition was being hosted by Opendoor when I popped in.
Opendoor Cafe, 120 Connaught Rd West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, www.opendoorcafe.hk
If you’re making a trip on the Star Ferry from TST, swinging by Unar Coffee before boarding is a must. Although this joint isn’t technically ‘hidden’ (they’ve landed a prime location within the ferry terminal), because it only opened recently, stumbling across it was like discovering a real desert mirage (… you know what I mean). Whether you’re in the mood for a heavy-duty caffeine hit or something more fun and flavoursome, Unar Coffee’s grab-and-go bevvy menu covers all the bases. Although I’m loyal to the latte, I thought both the Banana Caffe Mocha and Chocolate Mint Caffe Latte were delicious. Non-coffee drinkers will be pleased to know the tea selection is extensive too.
Unar Coffee, KP41, 1/F, Star Ferry Terminal, Sailsbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/unarcoffeecompany
Okay, okay, okay – before you tell me Nespresso isn’t ‘hidden’, hear me out. Unless you own one of these sleek coffee machines (the best kitchen purchase I’ve made to date, #truestory), you may not realise Nespresso boutiques have tasting bars… and these tasting bars serve free samples. Yes, you read correct: FREE samples. Now, just to be clear – I’m not saying you should hit Nespresso just to snag a complimentary brew, however, if you happen to be in IFC or Elements and need to stock up on Nespresso capsules OR you want to know more about what Nespresso has on offer, you might as well get a caffeine hit while you’re there.
This is one giveaway that all you coffee lovers won’t want to miss. Simply drop your details into the form to be in with the chance of winning one amazing Inissia Nespresso coffee machine that’s worth $1,388! P.S. Don’t forget to like Nespresso on Facebook if you’re a real fan!
Nespresso ifc, Shop 1058a, Podium 1, ifc Mall, Central, Hong Kong; Nespresso Elements, Shop 1093, Elements, Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.nespresso.com
This giveaway has now closed. Stay tuned for future giveaways!
My journey to unearth more of HK’s hidden coffee gems is an on-going one. Stay tuned for more…