29 February, 2012
Eat & Drink

Spilling the beans: The best coffees on Hong Kong Island

29 February, 2012

I have a confession to make: I am a coffee snob.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to be an expert; I just appreciate a well-made latte and don’t have time and dollars for slush made by cowboy baristas that’s burnt, boiling and tastes like chemicals… You get my drift?

When I first moved to HK from Auckland (a little city, yes, but one with a fab café culture), I found myself pining for the perfectly poured flat whites and lattes I had taken for granted back home.

That is until the caffeine kicked in and I decided to set out to explore HK’s best coffee joints – which there are plenty of, so there’s no pining required!

Coco Espresso G/F, 197 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan
2542 2228

Large takeaway coffee: $35

I found out about this little hole in the wall from a coffee-loving friend who lives nearby – she swears by it. Although it’s nothing flashy on the outside, the team behind the Coco Espresso counter takes their coffee pretty seriously. I’ve found that the flat whites tend to be especially good, while the lattes are ok. With a small selection of quality cabinet food to boot, this is a perfect place to grab a coffee and bite to eat on the go if you’re ever in the area.

Barista Jam Shop D, G/F, 126-128 Jervois St, Sheung Wan
2854 2211 www.baristajam.com.hk

Large takeaway coffee: $33

Cool, modern and minimalist, Barista Jam is definitely worth venturing into Sheung Wan for. Although the actual café interior itself is quite cold and empty, the quality coffee, fresh juices and thick smoothies (not to mention the sandwiches, salads and pastas) are what you go for. In terms of coffee, I find the quality here really consistent. Something I’m sure early birds will be pleased to note too is that Barista Jam opens at 8am most weekdays (all except Monday when it opens at 10am).

[Barista Jam is also one of our top picks for sweet treats and hot chocolate!].


Agnes b. Cafe L.P.G. G/F (major Portion), 8 Gough St, Central
2915 2382 www.agnesb-lepaingrille.com/…

Large takeaway coffee: $34

There seem to be Agnès b. Cafés sprouting up all over the show at the mo but, given its quaint Gough Street setting, this one is especially lovely and gets my vote. The standard of coffee has been great so far (it only opened recently so I’m crossing my fingers this continues to be the case) and the staff are always up for a bit of a chat. Worth dropping by if you’re in the area.

Other places worth trying:

Sidewalk G/F, Chung San House, 10 Gough Street, Central


Oolaa G/F, Centre Stage, Bridges Street, Soho, Central
2803 2083 www.casteloconcepts.com/…

Large takeaway coffee: $30

When it comes to HK cafés, Oolaa is one of my firm faves. Nestled in the heart of Soho, it’s quite ‘Melbourne’ with its open trendy look and feel. As well as boasting top notch Illy coffee (which is served with a piece of biscotti = winning), the café section is also home to a great range of counter food like muffins, toasties, cakes and slices – probably the best I’ve come across so far.

If you’re not grabbing a coffee and bite to eat on the run, Oolaa also does great sit-down food. Unfortunately that isn’t much of a secret as the restaurant section tends to book out each and every weekend (especially on Sundays). You can take your chances by turning up on the fly to snag a spot in the café part for breakfast or brunch; however, I recommend booking (you know, just to be safe).


Wagyu Lounge 3-5 Old Bailey St., Central
2522 1438 www.casteloconcepts.com

Large takeaway coffee: $30

Despite the dimly lit interior, Wagyu Lounge – along with its big sister Wagyu around the corner on Wyndham Street – often gets my day off to a bright start with its Illy coffee, which never fails to be smooth, velvety and just the right temperature (along with another free piece of biscotti). Personally, I think it’s a place more suited to sitting down and dining in rather than taking away. When it’s busy – and believe me, this place has a possie of regulars – it can be quite awkward standing at the bar waiting for your takeaway cup while dodging the bustling staff. If you’ve got time, grab a seat, get comfy and chow down as it’s far more enjoyable.

[We also love Wagyu Lounge for their sinfully sweet breakfast!]

Other places worth trying:

Fuel  8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
2295 3815  www.fuelespresso.com

Shelley’s Yard 14 Shelley St, Central
2810 9326 www.shelleysyard.com

Brunch Club & Supper 1/F, 13 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay
2890 2125 www.brunch-club.org

Large takeaway coffee: $30

Tucked above a tidy brick staircase, Brunch Club delivers on coffee as well as atmosphere. Although located along busy Leighton Road, the above ground location cuts out a lot of the outside noise, making for a cool cosy setting that’s impossible to resist kicking back in.

An added bonus is that the Brunch Club is also home to Marie’s Patisserie & Boulangerie, an on-site bakery that produces handmade bread, cakes, pies and tarts most days each week. Team your latte with a freshly baked pastry and you’ll be sorted!

Classified G/F, China Tower, 1-9 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang
2857 3454 classifiedfoodshops.com.hk

Large takeaway coffee: $34

I’m a big fan of Classified’s Graffeo coffee. There are a fair few Classifieds sprinkled around HK now but the joint in Tin Hau has become my number one. If you’re dining in, then it’s worth noting a large size coffee is especially big – you’re probably best to stick with a regular if ordering with food.

Please note: All coffees bought in the making of this post were purchased by me personally!

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