Given Hong Kong's tradition of amalgamating cultures and cuisines, it's no surprise that it's embracing the craft coffee movement. In the quirky residential neighborhood of Sheung Wan in the Central district, I happily stumbled upon one of the city's newest coffee shops, Knockbox Coffee Company—a three stool cafe with an intensely serious passion for java.
The space is tiny, and shared with gown designer Cerise Yip, with odds and ends for sale ranging from Delta Blues Audio's Tuba iPod tube amp to books and sunglasses. Occasionally hosting the work of local artists, Knockbox acts as an ambassador for Hong Kong's hip.
Owners Patrick Tam and Frances Lam are young entrepreneurs dedicated to making the perfect cup. Our passionate barista Jonathan walked us through the coffees available that week—a global who's who including La Ilusión Bourbon from Has Bean in Stafford, England; an Indonesian Blue Batak from Taiwan's Caffé Artigiano (not to be confused with the Vancouver-based purveyor with the same name) that I ordered; an organic Bolivian Anjilanaka from Chicago's Intelligentsia; and Panama's Carmen Estate. The staff knows many of the roasters personally, and are extremely knowledgeable about the coffees they serve without being pretentious.
Coffee selected, Jonathan asked which brewing method I preferred—in addition to espresso they offer a range of manual brewing methods, including AeroPress, a Hario Halogen Beam Heater syphon, and Hario pour over drip cones. The entire process—from beans to brewing—is taken very seriously at Knockbox. Water is heated and its temperature taken, beans appropriately ground, and once brewed tested by a refractometer to ensure its optimal preparation—and enjoyment. After you enjoy your cup you can head out to explore the neighborhood's developing indy retail shops and restaurants.
Shop B, 14 Tai Ping Shan Street
Central District, Hong Kong