We love traveling to different places around the world, but traveling back home to Hong Kong is always slightly different than going anywhere else. There’s something about the rush and vibrancy of the city that stays in our hearts long after we have left. In a city where it’s the norm to work overtime and to always be in working mode, we can’t help but wonder, where do people get their caffeine fix to help them through the long day?
Of course there are the more traditional Hong Kong Style cafes where office workers like to frequent to have something quick to eat during the morning or lunch hour rush. It is at these local cafes where the HK style coffee, milk tea, and lemon tea gives them a real boost of energy. It’s not hard to understand the lure of sweet and smooth milk tea when it also boasts a dose of caffeine that equates to 3-5 times the amount of caffeine in a can of coke. When people in a city is expected to function for such long periods of time and be at their optimal, almost everyone is in need of one these drinks.
But what about the kind of coffee and tea that is more about the beans, the leaves, and the ambience? A place where it can be an escape from the busyness of the city, to take a breather to recharge. Or a place to study and work while enjoying the atmosphere and a nice cup of coffee or tea? As we are people who love the atmosphere and working in cafes, we decided to go on a little trip in search of our favourite cafes where we feel will be good for a quick escape or to stay for a while to study or work.
In a city where every square foot can cost an arm and leg, it was quite difficult to find cafes that had enough space for their customers to have a place to sit comfortably. Many cafes are designed only for their customers to buy their coffee to go, while other places only has room for 2-3 people to sit at a small bar table by the window. There are big coffee chain stores that have more seating, but we wanted to find smaller chain cafes or independently owned. We went to multiple locations only to be disappointed upon arrival at how small the cafe was. There were a few that we thought was really worth our time and ones we kind of fell in love with. So here are the 5 cafes in Hong Kong that we love…and has enough seating.
(in no particular order or ranking)
1. Omotesando Koffee
Located in Wan Chai, this coffee shop is in the middle of a European style pedestrian shopping street. With a cool grey and glass exterior and minimalistic wood interior, it is a sleek and modern looking cafe. This cafe is split into two half levels with a barista brewing area on both levels and the seating area on the upper level. This seating layout is designed more to have quick conversations rather than a place for studying or working. There are a good number of seats here, but it does tend to be quite full due to the popularity of this coffee shop.
2. Elephant Grounds
Elephant Grounds is a local micro roaster in Hong Kong and they have about 6 different locations all around the city. We decided to visit their location on Starstreet and their design using wood and lots of greenery made the cafe feel comfortable and warm. This cafe not only has an outdoor barista bar area, it also has large windows lining one side of the wall that can be opened during the cooler months. Elephant Grounds is a bit of a cross between a cafe and a casual sit down restaurant. While they have a full lunch menu as well as afternoon tea sets, they also have some pretty interesting coffee and tea combinations that were hard to resist. At this location, you’ll expect to hear mainly English being spoken amongst its customers with its main demographic being expats or Asians who have lived abroad.
NOC or Not Only Coffee, has 3 locations in or around the Central area in Hong Kong and we love their location on Gough Street. A tall white building with a minimalistic interior, it gives off a very clean and crisp feeling. There are a few seats on the first floor, but if you want to spend more time studying or working, you’ll need to go to the second floor. The second floor is a long rectangle room with a large window overlooking the street on one end with a long communal table in the centre.
4. Artisan Room
Traveling a bit farther out into the outer parts of the city, we went to Artisan Room in Shek Tong Tsui. This cafe is by far the largest we have been to in Hong Kong and if it wasn’t for the beautiful mural on the wall of the trams in Hong Kong, we would have thought we went to a different city. Aptly named the Artisan Room, this place is not only a cafe, but it is also home to various art exhibitions. We love the high ceilings, the interesting art pieces, and how spacious it feels. In addition to the indoor area, there is also an outdoor sitting area with large umbrellas and sofas for people to relax. This is definitely the place to visit if you want a cafe with plenty of space and seating along with beautiful and interesting designs.
Close to the Artisan Room, there is also another cafe that is loved amongst the locals. Ethos is located in Kennedy Town, an area that is becoming increasingly popular. This cafe has an industrial and minimalistic design using steel chairs, wooden tables, and interesting light fixtures. With floor to ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural lighting, it warms up the otherwise cold looking room. In addition to the regular coffee and tea, they also have a food menu for the hungry customers. As this cafe is quite close to the University of Hong Kong, we believe there are some students who choose to spend some time here studying or working.
We chose these 5 cafes because we liked their design, their coffee or special drinks, and their overall ambience. There are definitely a lot more cafes available around the city, and new ones are constantly opening up. In a city where stores close and open at an astounding rate, perhaps we’ll fall in love with other cafes the next time we are back in Hong Kong.
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