House-roasted specialty coffee & sociable all-day cafe entices discerning Hong Kong coffee lovers
January 7th, 2014
As the appreciation of an enhanced coffee experience has taken a firm grip on Hong Kong urbanites, recent years have seen a flourish of independent speciality coffee cafes open in neighbourhoods across the city. One of the leading protagonists of the speciality coffee scene has been the locally founded caffe HABITU group which launched their first cafe back in 2003. Evolving from the success of their caffe HABITU brand, they took the local specialty coffee scene to the next level in 2012 with the opening of their new concept, The Coffee Academics, in a flagship cafe within the pulsating heart of Causeway Bay. Offering discerning enthusiasts an exceptional coffee experience that embraces the latest state-of-the-art coffee equipment and techniques, The Coffee Academics also allures as a comfortable and sociable, chic neighbourhood cafe.
Located on the street level of a busy commercial street, The Coffee Academics occupies an expansive 2,000 sq ft space that combines indoor and open-air sections. Designed in-house, the interior features an attractive blend of industrial chic and contemporary influences, with high quality finishes and comfortable settings at rustic timber tables outside, and inside at the more luxurious long black leather banquette that spans one side of the interior. The interior is anchored around the central “L” shaped counter where the in-house baristas interact with customers as they prepare the coffee. Adjacent to the main entrance to the cafe is the stand-alone roasting facility- daily coffee roasting demonstrations are conducted in the afternoons.
The Specialty Coffee
Showcasing the finest in coffee making equipment, The Coffee Academics team work with an impressive Probat Coffee Roaster from Germany, and also a La Marzocco Volcano Grinder – a masterpiece of Italian engineering with its hi-tech conical grinding system. An Italian espresso machine completes the array of industry-leading coffee making equipment. Complementing the espresso coffee, The Coffee Academics entice connoisseurs with a further three coffee making techniques. Of the three techniques, the most intriguing is the Ice-Drip coffee process, where an apparatus of glass flasks facilitates ice-cold water dripping onto coffee powder for six hours in order to make one litre of coffee. Subtle flavours of more fruity beans are enhanced with this technique. The other two featured techniques are Chemex- where coffee is brewed in custom designed glass flasks with conical necks (featured in MoMA New York’s modern kitchen collection)- producing a clean, full-flavoured coffee with an absence of fat and bitter elements. And the Aeropress is a recent invention popular in the USA and Europe- utilising air pressure brewing with a manual press process to produce strong aromas and multi-layered flavours.
In addition to its specialist coffees, The Coffee Academics serves a wide selection of delicious international comfort dishes from its all-day cafe menu. Menu offerings include platters for sharing, salads, gourmet pizzas and pasta, and main plate dishes such as Academics Breakfast of pulled pork belly with baked beans, Cumberland sausage, sunny-side up egg, bacon, toast & mini salad; and Beef Tenderloin Taco with beef tenderloin, cheddar cheese, guacamole, onions, baby spinach, sour cream and cherry tomatoes. Sublime pastries include home made cakes such as Sizzling Chocolate Brownie a la Mode, The Ultimate Black Forest Cake, and Caramel & Coffee Mousse Cake.
The Coffee Academics flagship cafe in Causeway Bay is open daily- Monday to Thursday from 10am to 11pm; Friday & Saturdays from 10am to 2am; and Sundays from 12pm to 9pm. Daily coffee roasting demonstrations are held in the afternoons- weekdays between 12pm and 5pm, and weekends 2pm to 6pm. Special workshops on coffee making and appreciation are held regularly- check the Facebook Page for details.
A second The Coffee Academics cafe was recently opened at 35 – 45 Johnston Road in Wanchai.
Inside the cafe
A substantial “L” shaped serving counter greets guests on entry to the cafe. In addition to its headline specialty coffees, the cafe also serves a wide range of comfort dishes, cakes and sweets.
The spacious interior has a comfortable, relaxed demeanour- raw brick walls blend harmoniously with the dark timber finishes and black leather banquettes. Enthusiastic and convivial in-house baristas working behind the open counters engage with customers, passing on their knowledge and recommendations.
A large square slab of polished brown marble serves as a comfortable communal table – an elaborate chandelier overhead contrasts with the essentially industrial chic decor.
An open-air section of tables across the front of the cafe provides a close connection with the bustling local street scene.
Specialty coffee selections
The impressive German-made Probat Coffee Roaster stands in a room adjacent to the entrance of the cafe. The double drum construction ensures a stable roasting process and aromatic beans. Coffee beans are roasted every afternoon.
Ice Drip coffee- a cold brew using pure ice water features a unique 8-hour flavour extraction process that results in a well balanced brew- velvety smooth with vivid fresh flavours and low in acidity. (Price range HK$58 – 300, depending on type of coffee beans selected)
Caffe Latte- 6oz cup HK$38, 9oz cup HK$42.
Banana Hazelnut Brulee Crepe Cake HK$52
“Inspired Coffee”- Okinawa- dark brown artisan sugar from the Okinawa Islands. HK$48
Chemex- Decanter-shaped flask with conical neck for fractional extraction- produces a clean, full-flavoured coffee with an absence of fat and bitter elements. HK$68
Coffee & Food Menu 2013
The Coffee Academics- specialty coffee & cafe- Hong Kong
Address: 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay. Hong Kong
MTR: Causeway Bay station – Exit A (Times Square)- 5 minutes walk.
Enquiries: +852. 2156 0313
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TheCoffeeAcademics
Monday – Thursday 10:00 am ~ 11:00pm
Friday & Saturday 10:00 am ~ 2:00 am Sunday 12:00 pm ~9:00 pm