Macau’s love of speciality coffee set to rival that of Hong Kong

Macau’s love of speciality coffee set to rival that of Hong Kong

It has taken just a handful of enthusiasts and a couple of years to change the habits of coffee drinkers in Macau.

Once they could find happiness in a cup brewed in a sock at a cha chaan teng, or in a Portuguese-style espresso. But today’s caffeine lovers show the same reverence for origin, processing and preparation as hip Hongkongers.

A city whose inhabitants once viewed coffee as fast and cheap – something which only existed to fill their daily caffeine fix – now has its fair share of speciality coffee bars.

“Baristas have evolved from their traditional role behind the scenes into the equivalent of mixologists. They demonstrate showmanship at speciality coffee bars,” says Keith Fong Chi-heng, a computer science graduate at the forefront of Macau’s new coffee movement.

Fong runs two speciality coffee places, Single Origin and Communal Table. A third project, in which he will be roasting on site, conducting workshops and running tastings, is in the planning stage.

Fong is also the founder of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe in Macau, a place where local entrepreneurs train as baristas. Many have gone on to set up their own coffee bars.

Long-time Macau resident Jeremy Souders, an American, says: “Literally, four years ago, there was no coffee culture here. It’s emerged and erupted like a volcano.” Souders trained with Fong and took classes in Hong Kong, Vienna and London. He now also shares his knowledge at the Macau Coffee Meetup Group.

Fong’s knowledge of coffee comes from some extensive research in Europe. A 2010 trip took him through Stockholm and Vienna – both renowned for their coffee cultures – and Britain, which has seen an explosion in coffee-drinking to match its revolution in gastronomy. He returned to Macau intent on using this newfound knowledge.

Fong roasts his own beans and supplies single-origin beans to other speciality coffee places.

“We saw an opportunity here and brought the whole coffee training system over in 2010. That was the beginning of our coffee company. I was trained and certified in Europe and I wanted to bring this back to Macau because no one else was doing it,” says Fong.

We didn’t have a coffee culture here 20 years ago. People were not interested
GABRIEL YUNG, COFFEE ENTHUSIAST

Training is just the beginning of a long process that’s needed to get speciality coffee right. Speciality coffee emphasises bringing out the “true flavour of the beans themselves”, Fong says. So it’s crucial to have the right beans, along with expert roasters and brewers.

At Terra Coffee House, a speciality venue set up by Kenny Lok Hio-hei, coffee fan Gabriel Yung applauds the burgeoning caffeine scene.

“We didn’t have a coffee culture here 20 years ago. People were not interested in the source of their food or drinks, and certainly didn’t appreciate coffee. The culture has changed today. The focus is now on the bean, not the beverage itself, and speciality coffee is about the way it is prepared,” says Yung.

Domingos Cheong Yau-chong owns and runs Café Philo, which is tucked away behind the Macau Museum. His “slow coffee and espresso bar” opened in March 2014, adding a Taiwanese twist. Cheong was first introduced to Taiwanese coffee in Macau, then went to train in Taiwan.

Cheong started with a booth at food fairs, this prompted him to set up his own shop.

Fong Da is the only coffee spot taking the brew seriously in Taipa Village. This corner shop carries single-origin beans, and roasts them on site, although it doesn’t fall into the category of a speciality coffee bar.

“Fong Da is a singular animal,” says Souders. “It roasts its own beans, but it doesn’t roast them speciality coffee style, and not all its beans are speciality grade.

“They are darker roasts, more traditional, in the Taiwanese style. Speciality is about a roast that brings out the best in the beans. The older generation roasts are robust, and a lot of people prefer them. Also, the coffee is brewed the traditional Taiwanese way, using a siphon,” Souders adds.

Fong Da may not be a speciality roaster, but along with Macau’s other new coffee bars, it offers lovers of the drink another opportunity to learn more about their favourite brew.

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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