With a buzz that’s not been seen for a while, Arabica opened up it’s first Hong Kong outlet over at the Star Ferry entrance at TST. For those of us on the Island side, it means a little bit of a journey, either by ferry or MTR (followed by a decent walk). On a nice sunny day, taking the ferry from the Hong Kong side is a lovely trip, well worth taking, especially if there is a gentle breeze to keep you cool.
I got a little lost the first time I went looking for Arabica, but once I orientated myself, it was quite easy to find. Appearing like a vision on the horizon as you walk up the stairs to the ferry terminal, Arabica is all clean lines and shiny white; a beast of a Slayer espresso machine dominating the entrance. What’s very cool is the Slayer is branded with the sleek logo of Arabica.
Little more than a hole in the wall coffee joint, there is a few seats along the side wall to wait for a coffee, but it’s mainly standing room only; and stand you will, with the constant queues and coffee fanatics standing around taking their IG snaps. Arabica is without doubt one of the most photographed coffee shops in Hong Kong.
But please note, it’s all take away!
A beautifully appointed and modelled Slayer three group head machine, customised to proudly display the company’s logo; matched with two shiny white Mazzer Robur electric grinders.
The team at Arabica were quite mean with details when I asked about the beans; in fact, the barista I asked was completely cagey about the blend. Advised it was a secret blend (come on, really?!), my best guess of the blend with be a mix of Brazil, Ethiopia and Colombia.
I actually really like the coffee at Arabica, and have travelled to TST many times to enjoy their take on coffee. With a mild and nutty aroma and a light chocolaty colour, the Arabica flat whites and lattes are quite visually appealing. Usually with very simple little art consisting almost exclusively as hearts, the coffees probably lack some of the visual pizzaz of many other coffee joints.
There is an overarching nutty flavour with the Arabica blend, mild acidity but a relatively full body ensure a very well balanced coffee. I also note a subtle caramel flavour with the blend, which alternates between chocolate and caramel, depending on the barista on the day. I’ve noticed that when the milk is cooked just right, there is more of a caramel hit from the natural sweetness from the milk. On other occasions, when the milk has been a little too cool (but within acceptable limits), there is more of a chocolate hit. But, it could also be subtle variations in their ‘secret’ blend on different visits.
Which brings me to a key point; when the Arabica coffee is on point, it’s probably the best in Hong Kong… But I have noticed a bit of variation, depending on the barista, which takes the brew down a notch.
I really like the concept, but it can get a little crowded at times, with cameras and phones aplenty as people get their perfect Insta-shot. I will be glad when the IFC outlet finally opens, it will split the crowd and make it a little easier for the Island folk to get a delicious Arabica coffee.
Where: Shop KP-41, 1/F, TST Star Ferry Pier, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Cost: Very decent for the quality of the coffee
Visit: If you’ve not already been then make a bee-line to go….. RIGHT NOW