Just around the corner from the TST MTR exit N is an interesting little cafe that sits opposite a massive Starbucks. It’s no secret that TST is tourist central for Hong Kong and many coffee hunters might make a b-line for the well known US coffee brand. So, if you find yourself at Bristol Avenue in TST and you see that Starbucks, turn around.
Looking every bit its namesake, the cool facade of old school white window panes and a set of short steps take you up to Urban Coffee Roaster. Copper topped tables with stools adorn the cement floor, one of the walls holds rough looking shelving with Urban Coffee Roaster paraphernalia and the all important coffee equipment is tucked away in a little alcove at the front of the shop.
There’s a cool vibe about the place, with some of the hip young residents of TST taking shelter from the hot and steamy day outside. Music plays from speakers I can’t locate and it feels like a place where I could spend a few hours reading a book while enjoying a brew.
A red Astoria Plus 4 you 2 group head automatic espresso machine and a black Mahlkonig EM 43 grinder.
As a roaster, Urban Coffee Roaster sources beans from just about every country that produces coffee; the house blend is Nicaragua Matagalapa.
My first latte was presented to me in a short glass and was a light roast with a pale brown hue and a simple heart pattern. The aroma was pure caramel and really quite strong and my anticipation of a great coffee increased. My first sip highlighted a huge problem though, the milk was not hot, in fact, it was only luke-warm.
There was quite a robust body to the coffee, with a very acidic and fruity flavour that was nice initially but left a sour, fermented taste of apricot on the palate. After an initial hit of sweet fruitiness, the after taste was not that pleasant and I didn’t finish off my latte.
Instead, I ordered a latte to go, hoping that the second coffee would be an improvement, and it was, ever so slightly. The milk, while not the correct temperature, was a little warmer, improving the balance of the coffee and leaving sweet aftertaste that still tasted fermented, but not overpoweringly so.
I could sense a good coffee in the making, but it just never eventuated. The balance of both coffees was out, in my opinion largely on the back of the incorrectly prepared milk.
Where: 7 Bristol Avenue, TST
Cost: Very Reasonable
Visit: If in the area and don’t want Starbucks