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Learning about Coffee in Hong Kong: A Cupping Journey

EatPost Category - EatEat - Post Category - Date NightDate Night

When I came to Hong Kong from Sydney where coffee culture is a way of life, the search for a  great cappuccino was  on. Caffé Habitu was one of the top  go-to cafés on my list.

Although I know the type of coffee that I like to drink, I am certainly no connoisseur, so it was with great anticipation that I accepted an invitation from Caffé Habitu to join them on a mini coffee cupping journey. This is the coffee equivalent of a wine tasting.

The cupping journey consisted of a taste test of three very distinct types of coffee. The coffee is made by using a french press, where the beans are crushed coarsely and then steeped in boiling hot water to develop the flavour. The espresso style of coffee making is not used, as some coffee varieties from places like Asia were not traditionally made this way. Our coffee was then poured into espresso-sized cups for us to taste.

The way to taste the coffee is first to slurp it. Forget good manners, the noisier the better! This way, the coffee meets your tongue in a burst of flavour as it mixes with the air that you draw into your mouth. After the first slurp, you can then sip your coffee, testing for body, acidity, flavour and aftertaste. Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds, but our cupping journey leader, Carol, explained words and sensations that are used to describe and differentiate the coffee.

We tasted three different types of coffee and even had the opportunity to taste the rarest coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak. This coffee comes from Indonesia and is eaten by the Luwak, a civet, that eats the berries from the tree. The berries pass through the digestive tract, where the flesh is digested. The enzymes in the civet’s stomach break down the proteins of the coffee that gives it its bitter aftertaste. Once roasted,  Kopi Luwak is a smooth tasting coffee with a mild to bold flavour with little acidity (you see – I’m an expert already!).

Our cupping journey finished off with some latte art, where we were taught to draw Hong Kong’s symbol, a bauhinia flower, in milk atop their signature specialty, an oolong tea latte. This drink was inspired by a HK tradition, cha chaan teng, mixing tea and coffee together. We even got creative and managed to draw a cat in our latte!

The journey was held at Caffé Habitu’s new Coffee Academy and Roasting Studio, located in bustling Causeway Bay. The Studio is a converted tong lau, or walk-up flat, giving us a view as to how people lived in HK half a decade ago.

The Explore Hong Kong cupping journey is available for groups of two or more at $388 per person and is a great idea for an event or for visitors. You can book online at

Caffe Habitu, 1/F, Haven Court, 128-138 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 3104 0075

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