Tuesday, 17 July 2012

18 Grams, Hong Kong

18 Grams, Hong Kong

It's been 2 years since my last visit to Hong Kong, and in that time a number of third wave cafes and roasteries have sprung up across the island. I had a chance to visit some of them last week, starting with 18 Grams, in my old neighbourhood - Causeway Bay.

The cafe itself is quite small, but that hasn't stopped 18 Grams from coming up with a good selection of coffees and deserts. The use of space is clever - a countertop along the outside of the cafe gives it the feel of an Italian stand up espresso bar, while the table and stools in the laneway outside remind me of a Hong Kong da pai dong, but with a contemporary feel. 

As for the staff, I noticed that they are quick to notice and to serve customers. They also know their product, suggesting a ristretto as a follow up after I had ordered an espresso - this may seem like a small detail, but it's one of many things that are done well at 18 Grams.

One of everything please

Their espresso shots had a gorgeous thick, syrupy mouthfeel, and lacked the bitterness that some shots impart. There was no burnt or oxidised flavour - this makes a huge difference - a burnt or oxidised flavour suggests that the roasting profile for the coffee beans in question is incorrect, or that the beans have been ground, stored in a non airtight container and left to oxidise for a period of time (something that I notice in shots from franchise chains). The lack of a burnt flavour is something that I associate with third wave cafes, or independent roasters - it's what separates average cafe's from really good ones. It means that the staff are paying attention to quality, rather than to quantity, and guarentees a return visit.

18 Grams is definitely a place that I would recommend, both for the standard of coffee and for the staff. They have since opened cafes in Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui - two places that I plan on visiting on my next visit.  

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