Header image courtesy of @f.o.v_ (via Instagram)
Most people say that the world is obsessed with Australian coffee culture, but Hong Kong comfortably holds its own with a roster of outstanding cafés. Small as the city may be, our neighbourhoods are brimming with boutique coffee shops, and new openings are popping up across Hong Kong every week. Join us as we follow the irresistible waft of freshly ground coffee beans to the latest and greatest café and coffee shop openings in Hong Kong.
We may have a few months left before M+ officially opens, but you can get a sneak peek at the highly anticipated art museum by checking out its newly opened café, Curator Creative Café. Find it next to The Other Store, the museum’s new retail space comprising a gift shop, florist, and bookstore—despite being more minimalist in style than its sister café in K11 Musea, you can still spot Curator Creative from a mile away by its artsy printed coffees.
The café offers a few colourful patterns with which to adorn said coffees, but you can also customise your drink with a photo of your own, including portraits (although those inevitably get a little weird once the foam dissipates, so be warned). A food menu of fusion snacks and light bites is also available, including pork siu mai with Thai pomelo salad, takoyaki, Vietnamese-inspired summer rolls, as well as salads, sandwiches, and soft-serve ice cream.
Curator Creative Café, B/F, M+ Museum, 38 Museum Drive, Tsim Sha Tsui
Get your coffee fix and wash your sheets all in one go at Clean, a brand-new coffee shop and laundromat on the border of Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun. Informed by their passion for sustainability, the founders have strived to make every aspect of the shop as eco-friendly as possible, from the locally roasted, ethically sourced coffee to the compostable cups and straws.
The short and sweet drinks menu features standard drinks like the house black (starting from $28) and house white (starting from $38), as well as specials like the house grey (starting from $40), a dramatic-looking swirl of white coffee and charcoal powder, sesame lattes (starting from $38), and Feeling Dirty ($45), a frozen ball of double espresso in cold milk. Note: the standard milk used at Clean is oat milk, though you can get dairy milk for an additional cost.
Clean’s sustainability efforts extend to the washing machines and dryers themselves, which have extra-large drums, energy-saving settings, and self-dispensing detergent. Unlike old-school coin-operated laundromats, you don’t have to worry about making change before putting on a wash—Clean is fully cashless, so you can use PayMe, Octopus, WeChat Pay, or AliPay.
Clean, 100 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan
Don’t have time to head to West Kowloon? Don’t fret—there’s another buzzy new art café in town courtesy of Hong Kong-based roaster Colour Brown (who also brought us one of Sham Shui Po’s most photogenic cafés). Occupying a two-storey space just a few paces west of Clean, this new concept comprises a café on the ground floor and a gallery space on the top floor, the latter of which will showcase the work of popular Japanese illustrator Keigo from 8 September until 30 November.
The ground-floor café serves up a colourful menu of light vegetarian-friendly bites and art-inspired drinks, including a trio of drinks inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red Blue and Yellow—Red, a yuzu and hibiscus flower tea, Yellow, a ginger latte, and Blue, a cream soda latte featuring a pastel blue ombré. The food is just as bright and eye-catching, with fuchsia smoothie bowls, lemon-yellow caramel biscuit cakes, and artfully arranged open-faced sandwiches.
Artzbrew, 118 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
For a thoroughly invigorating cup of coffee, pop by Yau Café (休), a social enterprise café and massage parlour operated by the Hong Kong Blind Union. Besides the obvious benefits of patronising a business that employs visually impaired baristas, masseurs, and bakers, visiting Yau is a lovely experience in and of itself. The café, which takes its name from the Chinese word for rest (休; yau1), is designed to be a relaxing, zen space with Japanese-inspired décor—think tatami seating, blond woods, and minimalist booths where you can enjoy your massage in privacy.
The drinks menu covers all the standard espresso-based drinks you can expect, as well as special items like espresso tonic ($45), orange latte ($58), and lots of teas—English breakfast, honeybush & rooibos, chamomile, etc (all $48)—while handcrafted cakes, tarts, and cookies from non-profit bakeries are also available. As for the massages, Yau offers head, shoulder, and neck massages in 20-, 30-, 50-, or 60-minute sessions.
As an opening promotion, the café is offering one-hour massages with a drink of your choice for the flat rate of $250 until the end of September. Make sure you book an appointment (link in Chinese) if you plan on getting a massage—and if you see a guide dog, remember not to pet it while it’s working!
Yau Café (休), Shop 1, 1 Sai Yuen Lane, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 3611 9693
Yet another hybrid café comes to us courtesy of Duet in Whampoa, where you’ll find two concepts—Duet Cups, a coffee shop, and Duet Cuts, a hair salon—coexisting in perfect harmony. The dark and modern space is the picture of sleek sophistication, with all-black fittings and furniture and a smooth grey terrazzo bar.
Perhaps inspired by its location in Pebbles World shopping centre, Duet’s space is dotted with rough, marbled stones which contrast beautifully against its polished interiors. Sip on an americano ($35) or dirty ($45) as you contemplate whether to try the bacon and caramelised banana waffle ($78), whisky ice cream croffle ($68), or a textured 70’s-inspired shag cut.
Duet Cups, Shop 28, Pebbles World, 120 Baker Street, Whampoa, Hung Hom
Those who love exploring the latest dessert cafés will love Tuned, a new café and roastery in Prince Edward serving plenty of light bites and creative desserts in its warm welcoming space. Besides the usual coffee drinks, Tuned also offers special drinks like the passion fruit sparkling ade ($46) and pineapple fruiticano ($55), featuring house blend espresso topped with pineapple shaved ice, dried pineapple, and rosemary—best enjoyed on the outdoor seats on a pleasant day.
The eggy carbonara ($110) and garlic and cream cheese bun ($45) are some of the most popular savoury dishes from the menu, with the latter featuring a garlicky, sesame-studded pull-apart bun encasing a generous dollop of warm spring onion cream cheese. However, their desserts are what most people come to Tuned for—namely, the Earl Grey egg pudding ($45), chestnut Mont Blanc pudding ($76), and finally, the seashell waffle ($88), which comes with a caramelised banana, Chantilly cream, ice cream, and homemade custard.
Tuned Coffee & Roastery, Shop B, Hung Tak Building, 163–163A Sai Yee Street, Prince Edward
We were sad to hear when Garden Meow at PMQ closed its doors earlier this year—but delighted when we recently discovered that the cosy bookstore-slash-café had relocated to a bigger, pet-friendly space in Kwun Tong. Garden Meow’s signature “antique store overrun by plants” look is at full force in its new space, with mismatched vintage armchairs, crystal chandeliers, and derelict pianos, accessorised by lush monsteras, ferns, and banana plants.
One noticeable change that has come with the café’s move to Kwun Tong, however, is its switch in focus from Taiwanese to Japanese cuisine. Instead of Taiwanese-style fried chicken in fermented tofu batter, you’ll find beef sukiyaki ramen ($98), grilled eel with egg don ($108), and pan-fried dumplings ($48) on the menu. Meanwhile, the drinks menu has also seen a revamp, with its newly introduced cotton candy drinks under the Walking in the Sky section being particularly popular—pick from flavours like lychee & butterfly pea, strawberry & mango, pineapple & watermelon, and more ($48), or check out the decadent salted caramel latte ($40).
Garden Meow, Unit C1, 2/F, Block A, Mai Hing Industrial Building, 16–18 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong
Another new social enterprise café has graced us, this time on Wan Chai’s Tai Yuen Street. Opened by New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, So330 brands itself as a café, well-being hub, and inclusive coffee academy that promotes the importance of nutrition, mental health, and social coexistence.
Enjoy a little peace and quiet alongside healthful Japanese fare at So 330’s solo dining tables, or come along for their cooking classes to learn how to make wagashi (和菓子; small tea cakes). The menu, which spotlights whole foods, local seasonal vegetables, fermented ingredients, and mixed grains, has already proven popular at lunch, with meals like the organic eggplant set ($88) and the all-day breakfast ($88) selling like hotcakes. Wash it all down with the house-made cold brew or cappuccino brûlée ($48) and grab a vegan banana bread ($24) for the road.
So330, Shops A–C, Tai Yuen Court, 38 Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2393 0426