Bear with me, coffee art at Cafe Corridor
Longing for the strong brew in Hong Kong? Donna Mah points the way to the best places for an aromatic cuppa.
Hong Kong residents drink about 1.1 kg of coffee per person, per year according to the 2008 World Resource Institute report - which places Hong Kong far behind Finland, which hogs the top spot with 12kg of coffee drunk per person per year.
In spite of that, there are plenty of places in Hong Kong to tempt the coffee connoisseurs. The warm and welcoming aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts from every street corner in the city, and there are plenty of coffee franchises contributing to a vibrant coffee culture.
Whether you are looking at location, the atmosphere or the coffee itself, there is plenty of choice for the true coffee lover.
For some, coffee must meet a set of expectations including where the beans come from, how and when they were roasted, when they were ground, the acidity level, the finish, and so on.
Coffee drinking can be much like wine drinking - tastings have become both art and science.
In busy Causeway Bay across from Times Square is Cafe Corridor, aptly named since you do have to go down a narrow corridor to find this small cafe.
The wait staff is friendly and the latte here rich and creamy - and beautifully presented with coffee art. There is also a sister shop called Coffee Assembly in Soho.
If you are really into coffee, head for Caffe Habitu, which has locations throughout Hong Kong. The chain offers a Mini Coffee Cupping Journey for coffee lovers.
During the "journey," participants taste a series of four coffee beans from different origins and are taught to evaluate and compare. You need to book a day in advance.
On Hong Kong Island, there is Caf Zambra in Wanchai, which offers a good selection of fresh-baked pastries and cakes, sandwiches, salads and light meals. The coffee beans are roasted on site and the aroma is enticing.
There are a lot of choices to get your caffeine hit in Central, and one name on many lips is Fuel Espresso, originally from New Zealand, in the International Finance Center. To some, this is the place for hardcore coffee lovers: The brew is fresh and the baristas know their stuff.
Across the harbor in Kowloon, Crema in Tsim Sha Tsui is where the strong brew is. The beans are roasted on the premises and there is a good pastry and snack selection. The baristas decorate your latte with coffee art featuring cute cats, cuter bunnies and little piggies.
There are plenty of deliciously rich cups of java available in Hong Kong, and as one coffee drinker puts it: "Coffee is my only vice." And that's why we deserve only the best.