We are habitual coffee drinkers. Not quite addicts—I’m never desperate enough to drink Starbucks. But if hipster cafes exist, we will go out of our way to find them. A month in the city gave us plenty of time to sample a few Hong Kong cafes. They congregate in the Sheung Wan and PoHo neighborhoods; we saw three coffee shops in the same block. The drawback is coffee is expensive. We only paid $2.50 US per cup for quite good Americanos at our hostel in To Kwa Wan. But we never paid that little again. Most often the cost was around $5 a cup, making coffee one of the few items that was more expensive than at home.
Barista Jam was our favorite of all the Hong Kong cafes we tried. Located on the street with three shops, after trying Barista Jam, we never made it to the other two. We found reasonable prices (for the area) and friendly service. Even when you take over the small space with your big backpack. The drawback is 30-minute wifi, although I didn’t see the time limit enforced. My only regret is I didn’t try the lemon tart.
Black Cherry Coffee
This shop is the affordable alternative among Hong Kong cafes, but it’s way out in the Tin Wan neighborhood of Aberdeen. Still on Hong Kong Island, Aberdeen is a suburb on the south side. Since we spent our last week in the city at the Mojo Nomad hostel, Black Cherry Coffee was convenient. We had especially welcoming service and can vouch for both the coffee and the desserts as well as the wifi. At this point in the trip, I had learned my lesson: never pass up a lemon tart. Or an egg tart, for that matter.
One thing that surprised me about Hong Kong was the plethora of tea bags. I guess I thought the British influence would mean loose-leaf tea everywhere we went. I enjoyed both the traditional Hong Kong milk tea and lemon tea served in restaurants. But for something fancier (albeit pricier), try the creative milk teas at Teakha, which are made with whole tea leaves. We got the most out of our visit by parking ourselves for a morning or afternoon. The wifi works well; the variety of indoor and outdoor seating is unique. Order a house-made scone with your tea for an extra $10 HKD (instead of $20 if ordered without tea). On our second visit, I was disappointed the farmers market never showed up, but I guess farmers markets are not quite a Hong Kong thing (yet!).
Hong Kong Craft Beer
Did you know Hong Kong has around 20 craft breweries? While not a morning beverage (for most), beer is only second to coffee for many so I’m adding Craftissimo to my list of Hong Kong cafes. Our budget didn’t allow for much beer sampling, so it’s not the only place to try local craft beers. But Craftissimo is around the corner from Teakha. It offers a large selection of craft beers, both on tap and in the bottle. The majority of their inventory is imported, but for good beer at a better price, go local. Of course, it’s all relative. We pay more for beer in Seattle, but most of our hostel mates thought these beers were expensive.