Cafe Reviews

Cafe review: The Cupping Room, Sheung Wan (Hong Kong)

The Cupping Room is the best cafe in Hong Kong. Hands down. I think the most amusing part is the signage about the place that says 'Second best in the world'. It always begs the question 'so who is the first?' This is a distraction from the fact that the head barista, Chiu Ka Po, came second in the 2014 World Barista Championships - no small feet. (The first prize winner was Hidenori Izaki of Japan. I'll get there soon.)

It's all in the presentation.

Tasting kit at The Cupping Room. And my friend's finger.

With a massive Nuova Simonelli WBC-standard brewer dominating the bar and a Mahlkönig EK43 for their specialty blends, The Cupping Room is well-equipped to do anything right, all the time. They serve coffees from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, a roastery based in Lakewood, Colorado, who do excellent work.

They've won some awards. Great packaging on the beans, too.

This isn't any old supplier-cafe relationship. This is a close partnership. The beans are roasted for The Cupping Room, and the cafe takes note of each bean in preparing the drink. Every drink I have had there (all of them v60 pour-overs) has been brewed excellently, really outstandingly, with incredibly brightness of flavour and minimal bitterness or sourness. In fact, the Aricha I've had there on two occasions has been a punch in the face of fruity flavour that I haven't seen replicated anywhere else. The closest has been at home, using their beans - but again, not quite. (Maybe 70% of the way, which I was quite happy with.)

Behind the McDonald's on 299 Queen's Road Central.

They also offer tasting sets, which are a great way of comparing different beans using excellent brewing methodology.

The official address is 299 Queens Road Central, but if you go there you might be confused by the location of a McDonald's. No, it's not there. Go down the path to the left, and it's the first place on the right, right behind the McDonald's.

Opening hours (updated Nov 2014): Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat/Sun/Public holidays 9am-6pm.