Coco Expresso, Anton Street

Five years on Anton Street marks Coco Expresso as a reliable stalwart of Queens Road East.

This lower shophouse is a tight squeeze, so you aren’t going get to hang out and look cool. But for a quick hit and run — with a dab of delicate humanity thrown in — it gets the job done. A solid range of the basics, zippy service, and few enough nibbles to ward off browsers. Coco is focused and stays on point. Hopefully, not unlike this review. Coco Expresso

2 Anton Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Bambito Gesha

Not a place, not the name of a mid 1970s Bond girl, nor even a line of heroin, although perhaps it should be. Bambito Gesha is a lavender resonant extravaganza of a washed coffee, manicured to perfection, and served in Pour Over style, at Hong Kong’s Cupping Room (review to follow in a future edition).

We are informed it hails from Panama. It certainly has hints of the sweet aromas of that sticky clime. On the sip it tangles and feels a tad naughty: more Hungarian dessert wine, than the Riesling of its description. Its pristine complexity is just reaching for a romantic entanglement in the early evening, more one suspects, than the attentions of this sole late afternoon workaday correspondent. Suggest enjoying while the going is good. The Cupping Room

The Cupping Room, 32 Swatow Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Vive la France, à Wanchai

It’s basically a place for the ‘Ladies who Lunch’. But get there at the right time (8-9am) and you can enjoy this puppy relatively undisturbed. Kick back in one of the leather arm chairs, sit at the wooden social table, or just hide away surfing the decently okay internet. This locale is technically a bakery — and one might debate the Belgium / French angle here — but one with range. Although this author, unadventurous Englishman that he is, prefers to stick to the Pain au Chocolate, or the occasional waffle, there’s baguettes, tartines, croissants,… and the jams, if you can actually nab them, exude fabulousness. For coffee think ‘Big Bowl Belgium’. It’s just the thing for a relaxing Sunday morning. Get there early though: this place fills up, and when it does the sounds from the riffraff, bouncing off those refined glass doors make Barnes Wallis’ invention look pedestrian by comparison. Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien, Shop No. G40-41, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wanchai, Hong Kong

The Coffee Academics, Wanchai

Yes it’s expensive. Yes it’s a chain. Yes I know they are trying too hard. But dude, at least they are trying. A fantastic set of choices: from the standard latte fare of the Classic Menu, through to the more experimental and to be recommended, sugar rush of an Okinawa, to be found in The Signatures area. This recovering management consultant is tempted to point out that the ambiance, 1980s Spotify music run though a DAC, the funky uniforms, and hand crafted coffee range is just meant to drive up prices on the basic products. Well it’s Hong Kong: get used to it. The staff are great, and who doesn’t miss 1980s music? Coffee Academics

35-45 Johnson Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

New Starbucks concept in HK

Indeed. Yes. Absolutely. Starbucks Reserve is a cynical attempt to get a jump on the rapidly growing high-end coffee segment. But the urban minimalist concrete cool of this new Wanchai branch is great. It’s enough to make us emerging oldies feel cool just being here. Hosted on a walk up, the counter is spacious and frankly once one bypasses the standard latte cup aka milk shake menu, the new Reserve range is pretty good, and the pour over precisely delivered by a well trained staff. Talking of which, for those wishing to quit their day jobs, the Starbucks training centre is right upstairs. Starbucks Reserve Wanchai

No 77-79, Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

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