UPDATE: The Coffee Academics has just opened its second branch in Wan Chai! Full address at the bottom of our review…
A tad slow out the gates, we finally got around to properly checking out Caffe Habitu’s The Coffee Academics in Causeway Bay – which has been causing a significant caffeine-related buzz ever since it opened last year!
With its massive floor space, high ceilings, exposed brick walls and low-hanging lights, The Coffee Academics has an urban loft feel that’s very different to any other café setting in Hong Kong to date. It’s definitely the kind of environment you’d be happy to while away a few hours with a great brew – and there’s even a cute terrace area outside for prime people-watching opportunities.
There is no denying the coffee here is good – very good, in fact. The beverage menu is extensive and totally worth exploring. After downing a lovely latte (my standard brew), I tried an ice dripped coffee, made using a technique that takes an incredible eight hours to produce 800ml. Smooth, refreshing and perfect for summer, I was a big fan – especially as it came served in a wine glass!
The Coffee Academics also roasts their coffee beans on-site, in a dedicated room literally steps away from the café area – meaning the team can create signature bean blends especially for you, completely customised to your individual palette. It’s an amazing process to watch if you’ve never seen it before and a custom-made blend would be a great gift for any coffee connoisseurs in your life!
If you’re interested in learning more about customisation, coffee in general or just need some added direction as to what to order, The Coffee Academics staff definitely know their stuff (and in fact, host regular workshops on-site). However, I personally found sourcing information from the team of baristas rather challenging. The place was completely packed when I visited at 4pm on a weekday and the staff were pretty swamped and hard to pin down… and apparently, there aren’t many times during the week when it’s less busy! Based on my experience, be prepared to hunt for information, wait for a seat and chat over the noise of the crowd.
For those who aren’t big fans of coffee, there are plenty of other beverage and food options on offer to spin your wheels. Rach sipped down on the Grimm tea – an ah-maze-ing blend of white tea and coconut that’s perfect for summer.
Meanwhile, The Coffee Academics’ cabinet of sweets are especially enticing; the desserts here definitely seem a step up from Caffe Habitu’s usual offerings. Our faves included the chocolate walnut tart (cocoa-rich and not too sweet with a yummy nut crunch), the crème brulee cheesecake (as delicious as it sounds!) and a wonderfully light walnut and banana crepe cake. The afternoon tea for two, which includes a selection of eight mini sweets and savouries for $128 per person, was an especially popular choice at the rest of the tables around us.
It’s a good job that the cakes are good because there’s also a rather cheeky $70 minimum spend per head here – meaning each member of your party would definitely need to order more than just the one drink during their stay. Nevertheless, the cool space, scrummy desserts and extensive coffee selection mean The Coffee Academics is still well worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood – if you manage to find a seat, that is!
The Coffee Academics G/F, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
2156 0313 www.the-academics.com
The Coffee Academics 35-45 Johnston Road Wan Chai
2154 1180 www.the-academics.com