Forget the stereotypes, Hong Kong coffee culture is about more than just showing up to work 15 minutes late with a Starbucks’ latte. Despite the popularity of traditional Hongkie drinks like nai cha and yin yang, our city is home to an increasing number of coffee connoisseurs. More and more speciality cafés are popping up around town to cater to different taste buds, and not just to cater to demand for espresso and a flat white but locally roasted brews and nitro coffee, too.
This guide will lead you to all the best coffee shops in Hong Kong, all the way from Sheung Wan to hidden gems in Cheung Chau.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
A recent addition to the already stacked and packed array of coffee shops in Sheung Wan, Amber brings to town eccentric coffee creations by award-winning barista Dawn Chan, a two-time champion at the Hong Kong Barista Championship. Serving everything from pineapple juice-infused cold brews to speciality house black served in hand-painted cups, Amber also turns into a wine bar in the evening if you’re looking for a nightcap or two.
Barista Jam’s signature drip coffee is a must-have at this compact coffeehouse. From Japanese siphon coffee and french press to hand grinders and Aeropress, not to mention Moka pots, you can find almost every method of brewing imaginable at Barista Jam. Try their flat white and small batch roast coffee for the perfect caffeine fix.
This hole-in-the-wall offers Sheung Wan residents Melbourne-style coffee. Made from coffee beans delivered direct from Melbourne’s Market Lane Coffee, you can order anything from a cappuccino to their signature 21-hour cold brew, plus a great selection of teas including prana chai and matcha with soy milk. Grab a fresh pastry to go if you’re in a rush or sit down for a full breakfast. Be prepared to wait, though, as the café only seats around 10 to 15 people.
Surround yourself with the fragrant aroma of fresh flowers in Sheung Wan’s secret garden café. Quaint and quiet in equal measure, Café Bauhinia doubles up as a flower and coffee shop. The walls and terrace are dripping in bloomers, creating an almost rural atmosphere while you munch on items from the tea-set-inspired menu that offers coffee alongside Hong Kong’s first ever s’more buffet.
This chilled venue is one of the coolest settings in town thanks to its charming al fresco seating and open layout indoors. Coffee brews of all kinds are available here including dirty (a shot of espresso with cold milk) and iced espresso soda. Their menu is split between before 12.30pm, when they serve breakfast options, and after 12.30pm, when more hearty options are available.
Best known for serving its coffee in vintage Hong Kong porcelain cups – their takeaway paper cups also feature porcelain patterns – Halfway Coffee is a dinky joint tucked away near the antique shops on Upper Lascar Row. They serve all the classic coffee options and a wide selection of tea. We recommend trying the Okinawan black sugar milk for something a little different.
More spacious than the entrance suggests, Lof 10 is a laid back venue, quieter than many coffee shops in the neighbourhood, treating diners to a range of Java and flavoured coffee, including a rose latte. While not the most affordable café in town, the cold drink selection is great for hotter months – we recommend the iced citrus matcha tea – and an ice cream cookie sandwich is perfect for satisfying any sweet cravings.
This artisan café opened in 2015 serving smooth coffee with cute latte art and pies from Tai Tai Pie Pie. The coffee beans at Steam are a mix of South American blend and imports from Asia, and they offer dairy-free options too – coconut latte, anyone? Its relaxing atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle and the friendly staff always manage to put a smile on your face.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
The go-to spot for the hipster crowd, Artisan Garden Cafe boasts an outdoor patio area and a cosy indoor space with a wall completely decked out with Fire-King mugs. The charming Aussie-inspired gaff has a great menu featuring finely-brewed coffee and waffles – the buttermilk fried chicken is a must-try. Stop by and it’s sure to be a g’day, mate!
Sleek and chic, this is an artisanal coffee shop in Shek Tong Tsui that combines finely crafted drinks – whether it’s coffee, organic tea or juices – with a purpose-built social ambiance. The joes are masterful and the crowd is cool. However, for us, the food is king. Enjoy a sweet or savoury éclair or a delicate quiche at a table on the outdoor terrace or at a seat on the communal table. Take in the adorable wall art as you sip your coffee and tuck into those tasty bites.
Tucked away inside Hong Kong’s trendy PMQ compound, Café Life is continuously bustling with customers looking for a great cup to go or one of its decadent homemade baked goods. Each batch of beans is made to order and roasted with a compact in-house roasting machine in the corner of the shop. The beans are picked from the best terroirs around the world such as Tanzania, Costa Rica and Columbia, giving customers a wide array of premium choices.
This hole-in-a-wall coffee joint in Kennedy Town is one of the neighbourhood’s few dedicated coffee shops. Serving a selection of great coffee freshly made by a ‘handsome barista’ – their description, not ours – grab delicious homemade pastries, muffins and cakes (coconut walnut, rose pistachio, pumpkin pecan) with your coffee for a filling breakfast or snack.
A minimalistic café slash concept store located on the slopes of Hill Road, Ethos’s specialty is its pour-over and ice-drip coffee. The café is also one of few places in Hong Kong where you can find a decent Vienna coffee (two shot espresso with whipped cream). Aside from java, Ethos does some pretty great sweet and savory crêpes. Nip next door while you wait for some retail therapy.
With its giant roasting machine by the window, it’s hard to miss this neighbourhood café on Caine Road. All the coffee beans are locally roasted and their menu, though simple, are all hits and no misses. The drip coffee is a standout. Filters Lane also serves up daily freshly baked good and the comfy atmosphere makes for a great spot to hang with some friends.
Freshness Coffee is serious about coffee beans. Selecting and importing their favourite beans from all over the world, the friendly owners are keen to share their love and knowledge of coffee with patrons. Small and quaint, Freshness brews up a mean cup of joe and sells a plethora of coffee beans from all corners of the globe catering to all tastebuds.
Japanese drip coffee is a must here and if you’re into variety then you’ll be pleased to note they have a different coffee of the week to keep things fresh. Proud brewers of green coffee, Hazel & Hershey roasts their beans locally and are one of the major coffee bean distributors in Hong Kong. When you’re not rooting around for the latest coffee tools and accessories, sit back and enjoy a cuppa in the hidden alleyway seating area.
In among the hustle and bustle of Sai Ying Pun is a two-storey coffee house where you can find fantastic handcrafted coffee, homemade muffins and desserts including a wicked espresso Bailey cheesecake. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to work in the attic or seeking to enjoy a breeze in the upstairs outdoor area, The Hideout is the perfect urban getaway for a coffee break.
Tucked away on the slope behind the bustling Graham Street Market is a modest coffee shop that always greets customers with a smile. NOC has perfected its signature pour-over coffee, alongside other great caffeinated choices. Grab your morning java to take-away if you’re looking for a quick caffeine fix or enjoy a sit-down – if you can nab one of the limited number of seats – and pick from a great selection of cakes and salads. The earl grey and figs cake is a popular choice.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
Originally from Japan but now with branches in Europe, the US and Middle East, % Arabica take their coffee seriously. This second Hong Kong branch, in the Star Ferry Terminal, finally brings them nearer the masses following the brand’s original opening in Hong Kong in Discovery Bay. For a coffee on the go between TST and Central, there’s no better option.
The major appeal of this minimalist coffee house is its adorable shiba inu mascot. Though the cute doggy is not always around to greet customers, you’ll find glimpses of the pup everywhere from framed photos on the wall to coffee-table books on shibas. Pairing white tiles with sleek, minimalist furniture, Black Sugar is the perfect place to go with your laptop to complete an afternoon’s worth of work, accompanied by a cup of coffee and some killer eggs benedict and avo toast.
It’s worth getting hay fever just for a trip to this quirky botanical café. With curated farmhouse decor, potted plants and giant bouquets, your senses will feel as if they’ve taken a well-deserved break from all the air-pollution in our sometimes hazy city. The café is spacious with plenty of seating and a florist downstairs. The specialty ice drip coffee is made with freshly roasted beans – perfect with a slice of lemon cheesecake.
Hidden away inside JCCAC in Shek Kip Mei, Café Golden is a hipster heaven with vintage décor and furnishings. Enjoy a cuppa surrounded by an eclectic collection of silk cheongsam from the 50s, a seat recovered from an old cinema, vintage sewing machines and television stands. The coffee selection is none too shabby either, offering customers everything from hand drip and siphon brews to espresso of all kinds.
Although Sham Shui Po isn’t exactly known for its coffee as much as its electronics stalls or cheap eats, Sausalito exists as a coffee mecca for javaholics in the district. You’ll find all the usual suspects like lattes and cappuccinos, but Sausalito also serves single origin pour over coffee and a cucumberano – a cucumber flavoured coffee and soda water concoction. Stop by during the weekend for some awesome live music.
A lifestyle concept venue that’s an art gallery, independent bookstore, makerspace and coffee shop all rolled into one. Enjoy single-origin beans and learn about different brewing methods and ice drip preparation, all while browsing through a curious collection of books and artisanal products. Common Room is the perfect oasis to escape the hectic pace of Sham Shui Po.
A Stanley Kubrick-inspired café neighbouring local arthouse cinema Broadway Cinemathèque, here is where you can find a multilingual selection of books and magazines with topics ranging from the history of cinema to Russian folk tales. A popular meeting spot for students and entrepreneurs alike, the menu features options for those who are lactose intolerant with organic soymilk coffee and vegan ice cream available.
This place isn’t just a coffee shop, it doubles up as an antique store and a coworking space, where they sell pretty much anything: teacups, typewriters, bags, you name it. Its food and beverages are served on fancy china and they serve hand drip coffee from staples like Ethiopia, Kenya and Colombia. As well as ice drip coffee, you can order up an ice drip ‘sparkling’ coffee, which comes in a special lavender flavour.
As the name suggests, the concept behind this Mong Kok café is to provide a space for people to take a pause while sipping a quality coffee. Pause It sources coffee beans from Ethiopia and Columbia, so the java tends to have a stronger citrus aroma. Aside from great flavours, the baristas here use natural colourings to spice up your coffee orders including the charcoal latte – which has been a huge hit on Instagram already – purple taro latte and red velvet latte.
The folks at Barista HK are true java heads. From the moment the beans start sprouting on the tree to when the time comes to perfect each and every brew in-store, the team here are experts and keen to share their knowledge with other avid coffee fiends. The staff physically sift through raw coffee beans by hand before roasting them on-site, so every bean is as perfect as can be. For those interested in learning the basic steps towards creating a great cup of coffee, there are also workshops on how to best discern your morning brew.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
With branches in Wan Chai, Mong Kok, Sheung Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui, it’s hard to believe that 18 Grams first started out at this small espresso bar in Causeway Bay. Managed by a world-class barista judge, 18 Grams believes in fresh, locally-roasted coffee beans. Their espresso-based coffee has helped create and dominate the Hong Kong coffee scene. Pop along to Canon Street to see where it all began and sip a perfectly ratioed cup of coffee.
Starting out as a simple tea shop in Tokyo in 1968, Brook’s Café is the go-to place for Japanese-inspired drinks and desserts. We’re talking deliciously rich Blue Mountain drip coffee and matcha floats and smoothies. Escape the busy streets of Wan Chai and pop along to this underground café for a delectable sweet treat or two.
Established by Ambrose Peter Law after he learned the art of coffee roasting in Melbourne, Espresso Alchemy is a small institution that specialises in sourcing and roasting superior Arabica coffee beans from select origins. The Quarry Bay coffeehouse is the only wholesale coffee roaster in Hong Kong to have a Licensed Coffee Grader and a Barista Championship Judge amongst the staff to provide unparalleled roasting quality control, coffee training and bar management. Impressed? Wait till you try the cold brew or any of the barista’s choice.
A venture started by three French entrepreneurs, La Station offers an authentic European coffee experience in the heart of Wan Chai. The interior decor is a mashup of a European train station and a Hong Kong MTR station – think curved walls and red tiles – which lends the space an intimate vibe. Enjoy their signature coffee, a secret recipe, and desserts provided by Paul Lafayette, who happens to be the patriarch of two of the three owners.
This Aussie-inspired bohemian coffee joint is a far cry from Wan Chai’s seedier corners, flaunting its rustic vibe, both inside and out. Selling a speciality espresso, which was awarded Australia’s Best Espresso, enjoy your java with a lunch cooked freshly on-site. A helpful set of descriptions aids the amateur coffee-taster discern the best choice, while connoisseurs can simply enjoy a fortified brew in a stylish setting.
There’s a surprising number of Australian-inspired coffee shops in Hong Kong, but Nutsy Coffee Bar is definitely up near the top. Best known for its single origin coffee in the form of espressos and hand-drip drinks, Nutsy brings Hongkongers some intense and sublime coffee. They sell regular seasonal sweet and savoury items – hot cross buns during Easter, for instance – and are one of the few places that serves vegemite on toast. Show some love by leaving messages and drawings on the giant chalkboard.
This once-hidden Tokyo coffee shop, famous for its espresso and cube-shaped baked custards called ‘kashi’, has closed its original premises in Omotesando, at its charmingly minimalist residential premise, and come to Wan Chai. The regular hot ‘koffee’ is excellent but it’s worth paying extra for the hand drip version. And don’t forget to try the kashi. Small and incredibly moreish, you might want to order a whole box...
Despite relocating to a smaller venue from Second Lane and its limited seating, Unar Coffee Company continues to attract local coffee connoisseurs thanks to its refined choice of Italian coffee beans. Aside from the impressive selection of flavoured coffee including banana, crème brûlée and cucumber, Unar also boasts an ‘undrinkable chocolate’. Interested? The outdoor benches are perfect for people watching and lounging in the sun.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
Best known for its mantra of the ‘power of three’ – ‘eat, do and live’ – 3/3rds offers freshly-made salads, pizzas and sandwiches, and they’re all healthy to boot. Aside from the tasty food, diners can enjoy coffee favourites like a scrumptious mocha served with Valrhona chocolate. Almond and soy milk are available too. Tucked away in Wong Chuk Hang with rooftop access, this café makes for a perfect escape from the busier parts of Hong Kong.
Though the coffee shop may be a small and narrow, their java and baristas are the real deal. Black Cherry has all the usual suspects: latte, cappuccino, americano, as well as dirty and affogato. Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted by their selection of muffins and homemade cakes. The highlight though? Black Cherry is the perfect spot to grab that early morning coffee before most of the other shops in Aberdeen open.
Aiming to redefine the coffee house experience in Hong Kong, Coffee Academics has been popping up in various districts across the city bringing high-quality coffee and hip modern venues wherever they land. Their signature TCA espresso, which is blended through different high-performance espresso machines, is a must-try, as are the iced coffees. This Repulse Bay branch has the added benefit of being situated right in front of the beach, so you can enjoy a cup of joe while listening to the waves.
This hipster coffee joint has definitely become the ‘it’ coffee shop in Hong Kong. Originally founded as a kiosk nestled inside the WOAW store in Sheung Wan, Elephant Grounds expanded into a full-service restaurant on opening its second location, in Wong Chuk Hang. The roaster’s house espresso blend is made with a mix of beans from Sumatra, Papua New Guinea and Kenya for a sharp flavour with a smooth and fruity finish. Elephant Grounds also offers select single origin beans that you can take home to brew whenever you need.
Hong Kong’s best cafés
Get your daily jolt of caffeine with one of the blends at % Arabica’s original Hong Kong location. This coffee roaster takes pride in using beans from its own coffee farm in Hawaii, as well as sourcing high-grade speciality beans from around the world. The shop is also a global distributor of, and uses, a high-tech Japanese roasting machine – the Tornado King – that prepares the beans to precision at the touch of a button.
Cheung Chau has long been a longtime street-food paradise but these days hip cafés are gaining traction. Cheung Chau Ice Dripped is a no-frills coffee stand that was opened three years ago by a now award-winning latte artist. The creations here are unique, with coffee served in tin boxes, seashells and even durian. Visit the stall from Friday to Sunday and sip your coffee on the beach.
A hidden-away gem on the far end of the island, Heima Heima is a one-woman operation where you’ll feel very much at home. With Japanese-inspired vibes, every corner here is photo-worthy: handpicked wall art, a small room with tatami-style dining, and shelves of books and souvenirs. Although their focus is more on Japanese tea, Heima does great pour-over and cold brew coffee too.
Tucked away just off the main street on Lamma Island, Lala Mama's a cafe that serves up everything from all-day breakfast and vegetarian food to delicious homemade desserts. Rustic and homely complete with wooden furnitures and shelves lined with bars and ceramics, enjoy a rich and creamy flat white while browsing travel books from the shelf. A perfect little hideaway on Lamma.