You can tell that Barista Jam is owned by a coffee obsessive. The beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine is constantly tuned, the portafilters are naked and there's a constantly rotating selection of fresh, single-origin beans from around the world to choose from. The talkative owner/barista, William, is always tinkering with the blend used for the milk coffees, but the ones we've tried have had a nice acidity that goes well with the sweet, perfectly frothed milk. Try a HK$16 ristretto to get the full impact of the espresso. The tiny HK$21 piccolo latte doesn't overwhelm the coffee with milk. If you want to chat with the baristas, there are stools along the espresso bar, but there are also a handful of tables on the quiet second floor.
126-128 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, tel +852 2854 2211 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 2854 2211 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Who would have thought that one of Hong Kong's best cafés is in out-of-the-way Kwai Fong? Tucked inside an obscure corner of a teeming neighborhood mall, Soulmate is a tiny place, not really much more than a counter with some stools. The savings on rent are obviously being passed on to the customers: at just HK$19 for a takeaway cappuccino, this is definitely the best-value café in town. The coffee is locally roasted by Coffee Assembly, and its flavor profile is fairly simple and accessible. But what sets it apart from other cafés using the same beans is that Soulmate's baristas are thorough, disciplined and meticulous. The espresso is expertly pulled and the milk is velvety smooth and heated just enough to bring out the sweetness.
Shop C20, 2/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong, tel +852 6252 5551 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 6252 5551 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
We've got to give Raymond Tong credit for turning what could have been just another mediocre pasta-and-sandwich café into a destination for coffee lovers. With a hand-operated espresso machine, house-roasted single-origin espresso and a delicious Italian blend used for milk coffees, Tong has got all of the basics right. He has also spent serious time training his young staff of full-time baristas. The attention to detail pays off. Café Golden's HK$22 cappuccino is one of our favorites -- the milk foam is thick and creamy -- though we're not pleased with the fact that it is usually served too hot. The tart Tanzanian Peaberry espresso is nothing short of spectacular. And the café's small outdoor terrace is a nice spot to relax after a hard afternoon of looking at JCCAC art.
Shop 5, 1/F, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, tel +852 2408 8255 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 2408 8255 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Kwun Tong's artists and office workers finally have an espresso alternative to Starbucks and McCafé. Felix Wong, the man behind Coffee Assembly and Café Corridor, opened this slick coffee shop in the lobby of One Landmark East last year. The HK$14 ristretto we had was superb: smooth, bittersweet and understated, with only a slightly acidic finish. The HK$24 latte was poured beautifully, with excellent latte art, but the coffee blend used was slightly too passive and didn't quite stand up to the milk. The building's bright, minimalist lobby is a great place to linger, so it's a shame there are only two tables.
G/F, One Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, tel +852 2950 0130 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 2950 0130 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Coming as a bit of a surprise on Staunton Street -- better known for bars and trendy restaurants than for good coffee -- Forest Bird is a fashion boutique-cum-café with a small espresso bar in the front and a cute glass-walled balcony in the back. We stopped in just two weeks after it opened and had an exceptionally well-made HK$36 cappuccino. The barista is a chatty Italian guy who moved to Hong Kong just a few months ago. His coffee-making technique leans, as you would expect, towards the more traditionally Italian, with light foam and a mild blend of coffee from Australia's renowned Single Origin Roasters. The coffee here is excellent, but we can only hope it continues to live up to its rather steep price.
39 Staunton Street, Soho, Central, tel +852 2810 1166 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 2810 1166 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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