The city’s newest pit stops for a cuppa are more than just Instagrammable hot spots for coffee lovers

There is no shortage of new cafes in Hong Kong, and this trend of openings—on a scale not seen since bubble tea parlours took over the town—is welcome to stay. These new cafes, some trendier than others when it comes to their décor, can be petite in size, or as expansive as a restaurant; the only commonality they all share is that the proprietors are all passionate about coffees. In the food and beverage business this drive is everything, and in the direst of circumstances with Covid-19 and social distancing practices in play, these cafes offer an outlet for everyone to escape from the rest of the city’s happenings over a fresh brew—a getaway from the real world, even just for a short period of time.

Among the biggest opening of the past few months, here are five of our picks you simply cannot miss.

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Between Coffee

What: It goes without saying JIA Group knows how to run restaurants, as they do so brilliantly from Chachawan to the new Bibi & Baba. Between Coffee, the group’s first Japanese-style café is a revamp of the Tai Kwun space that once housed Old Bailey. The 3,000 square-foot cafe at the JC Contemporary wing of Tai Kwun is where guests can relax over hand-drip or milk-based coffees. It is worth noting that non-coffee beverages are equally impressive, from the black sesame mountain, where coconut milk is topped with homemade black sesame puree, to teas from earthy warm golden latte. Save room for casual light refreshments as the café’s egg sando is simple yet amazing, as is the Japanese choux filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruits. Outdoor seating is prime at Between Coffee, where guests can feel the breeze with an open view of the city.

Where: Between Coffee, 2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2877 8711

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TIL—Today Is Long

What: TIL, abbreviated from ‘Today Is Long’ is a new café that opened early November. Located around the bend in Sheung Wan in the old neighbourhood where Chinese medicine shops flourish, TIL’s bright terracotta shade and floor-to-ceiling windows is a youthful addition. The interior blends shades of burnt orange with white walls, while guests share communal seating on one side of the café. The Australian-style café uses Candyman espresso blends for its main blend, a small batch and sustainable brand that imparts nutty notes in its flavour. The menu is divided into two parts: Short Day (lighter in caffeine ), and Long Day (more caffeine) beverages with an option to enjoy a complimentary switch to plant-based dairy alternatives. Besides coffee, TIL also offers home-baked Earl Grey tea cake and Basque cheesecake by the slice.

Where: TIL—Today is Long, G/F, Kin Hing Building, 172 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong; @til.todayislong

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The Third

What: Similar to TIL, The Third is a petite café in Yuen Long, most celebrated for its bespoke coffee drinks which are as fine in quality as its black and white coffee options. You cannot miss the forest green façade, with the café name painted in gold spread across the front. The café seats 10 at most, though takeaway options are popular as well. Aside from baked banana bread sold by the slice, The Third also offers pancakes served by the stack, with savoury (smoked salmon and Hollandaise) or sweet (blueberry and cream) options. Our favourite drink at The Third is The Bomb, a variation on the popular espresso tonic. The drink fuses hot espresso with ice-cold ginger ale with a slice of lime, a wonderful contrast in temperature and flavour, where nutty espresso clashes with sweet and spicy ginger ale. Its Dirty (cold milk with espresso) is a shorter drink but certainly one of the best in the city.

Where: The Third, 71B Kin Tak St, Yuen Long, New Territories; Hong Kong; +852 9682 6565

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Mad Three

What: One of three cafes along Ap Lei Chau’s main street, Mad Three is a popular coffee hot spot in the area. Located one city block away from the popular Ap Lei Chau market, Mad Three excels in its impeccably made single-origin hand-drip coffee, best enjoyed in the afternoon when the lunch crowds subside. Mad Three roasts its own coffee beans and offer a good deal for coffee lovers who prefer to brew their own. Its espresso-based beverages also excel with a nutty blend. Mad Three’s Taiwanese egg rolls and lunch bentos also come highly recommended, as are the occasional lot of Taiwanese chocolate bars which are often sold out soon after the café restocks.

Where: Mad Three, Shop F, 132 Ap Lei Chau Main Street, Ap Lei Chau; +852 6773 4386

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Nodi Coffee Mart

What: Nodi Coffee Mart’s third location is on the Kowloon side. After a successful launch in Central, Nodi’s next move is on the ground floor of the Kerry Hotel, overlooking the ferry pier of Hung Hom. The interior as an industrial chic vibe to it, where shades of green weave through slick black surfaces, where combined with dim lighting, resembles more a speakeasy bar than a cafe. The best part of Nodi is its array of coffee beans available for purchase. Nodi’s hand drip coffee is impressive, so are chilled drinks such as espresso tonic, among the many popular choices here.

Where: Nodi Coffee Mart, Shop 2, G/F, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, 38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom, Kowloon Hong Kong; +852 2819 3098

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