Hong Kong cafés have more to offer than just a cup of great coffee. Top coffee shops, from local chain The Coffee Academics and indie darling Knockbox all the way up to industry giant Starbucks, have begun to cater to coffee geeks and aspiring baristas alike with a wide range of small-group workshops. Ever wonder what the right grind size is for your beans, or what temperature is ideal to brew the kind of coffee you prefer? Sign up for one of these workshops and you’ll be whipping up latte art like a champion barista in no time. By Anna Kam
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6 coffee workshops every coffee lover must try
A pioneer of speciality coffee in Hong Kong, the Coffee Academics offers a one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to sample different types of espresso and detect their unique tasting notes. They share insights into all the factors that make a good cup of coffee, from the temperature to the proper brewing method for every type of bean, from grinding the beans to creating latte art. Classes start at $498 a session.
The most popular workshops at Habitū dive into the details of producing perfect latte art. The workshops focus on milk – specifically the perfect temperature and technique to recreate those photogenic hearts and tulips at home – and are available as large-group sessions or private lessons for one or two people. Habitu also offers sessions on home-brewing as well as cupping and blending. Most are in Cantonese, but other languages are available upon request. Classes begin at $398 a session.
Boutique coffee store Lov Lov doesn’t just teach you how to make barista-quality coffee and latte art – it also teaches you some party tricks, like how to create 2D and 3D figures from meringue cookies that you can float on your latte. The basic courses last about 90 minutes and cover espresso making, coffee appreciation and basic latte art skills, including how to create a tulip or heart with your steamed milk. Workshops can be arranged privately for small groups, too, and they cost between $398 and $528, per person depending on the number of people who join the class.
Knockbox Coffee provides a range of workshops teaching espresso making, latte art, brewing at home and hosting cupping sessions. The centrepiece here is the state-of-the-art La Marzocco Strada EP, the commercial-grade espresso machine of your dreams. But not only do you get to learn how to make espressos from it, you also learn everything from grind size to dosing, tamping and pressure application. There’s a fixed schedule every month, with workshops held every Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm. Prices start at $480.
Coffee geeks and newbies alike can relish in the workshops put on by Wong Chuk Hang’s Sensory Zero. The café offers everything from the basics – introduction to espresso workshop, latte art and cupping – to deep dives into the origins of coffee. There are even official Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) courses that aspiring coffee professionals can join, including SCA Barista, Brewing, Roasting and Sensory training, as well as the Q Grader certification programme managed by Coffee Quality Institute. Those will cost you around $2,500 each, but the basic workshops start at around $450.
Of course, global coffee giant Starbucks runs its own workshops. At the East Asia Mansion location in Wan Chai, the Starbucks pros offer two in-depth classes: one on hand-brewing, and the other on latte art. During the former, you get to learn the four fundamentals of making coffee and practice a few different methods that might help you break out of your usual French or pour-over press routine. Classes begin at $495 for a session.