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pstam
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pstam
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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 8:31am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

For sure, we all have to learn and follow the market rules.  And the market will show the results.
       For me, those so-called Third Wave Coffee espresso were not drinkable, neither for most clients which can be seen from its sale statistic figures.
       For the mainland market, the things are not so sure.  But for HK, an internationally populated city, good espresso should have a better sale than those cappuccino and caffe latte.  If the sales for pure espresso are not so good as cappuccino neither caffe latte, the quality of the espresso should be doubt, I think.

 
Peter in Beijing
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boblam
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Joined: 13 Mar 2011
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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 9:14am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

I think the opposite can be said for traditional coffees among enthusiasts these days also.  To say which is good/bad for everyone/all, I won't assign it.  Everybody has preference and it might change over time.

I want to put Giorgio Milos' articles here.   See how the article changes the tone from preaching strongly like saying "A real espresso."  to accepting more toward the end of his term in the US.  This shows through Illy too as Illy finally ended up launching Single Origin espresso in the US too and this raised lots of eye brows over there.  So things change.

http://www.theatlantic.com/giorgio-milos/#bio

Milos' short bios is here
Giorgio Milos is Master Barista for Trieste, Italy-based illycaffè. With barista training dating to his teens, Milos, 36, is one of the world's foremost experts on coffee. He is a past winner of the Italian Barista Championship, a Specialty Coffee Association of Europe-certified Master Barista, and on faculty at illy's Universita del Caffè (UDC), where leading restaurants and cafes come for master coffee training.

For sure, the growth of Indie cafes/roaster in the US at least over the past five years has been strong.  For this part of the world, I heard people starts asking where to have good coffee in Beijing (by good coffee they mean third wave coffee for these people) and I heard Ritual, a west coast Indie, is having some cooperation with some cafe in Beijing, I can't recall the name of the local operator there.  Social Company Company of Canada, a 2012 SCAA's Roaster Guild winner, seems to have some cooperation with partners in mainland too but I don't remember which part.  I don't know whether these cooperation will be sustainable or whether these operators in mainland China are any good but I think it's a good start for a new choice.  And I'm not familiar with mainland China coffee so this is roughly from what I read/heard.

The market in this part of the world just starts to open up for those who appreciate more of the taste of the origin of the coffee vs the traditional style.  For HK, after 2009, it has been explosive and remained with new concept cafe toward the third wave style one after another.  Those with entrenched Italian, ie "a real Italian neighborhood cafe" even wants to join the bandwagon.  I have not seen a grand stand on traditional coffee during this period ie those traditional cafe opening up shops after shops.  Please tell me if I miss something.  This new trend could end up disappear too; it could kill traditional product, it could co-exist and all opinions count as long as one realizes each has his own preference.

Oliver Strand of the New York Times said black coffee drink, ie espresso, is 5% of coffee drink sold in the US.  But that does not always mean the quality of the espresso is not good.  It could be the preference or anything.   For this part of the world, this is a tea country after all even the coffee country like the US milk still outsells.
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santunoo
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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 10:24am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

Well said, Bob.

"Normal people" can get their "normal" espresso (whatever that is) at Pacific Coffee Company or at any number of mediocre cafes throughout HK. The "third wave" cafes (I don't think any cafes actually refer to themselves with that term anymore) are making some seriously "good" coffee. And when I use the word "good" I am not referring to "delicious" because as you say, everyone has their preferences and taste is subjective. I mean "good" in the sense that they take seriously the kinds of beans, equipment and training that goes into their coffee. 99% of the time, this all translates into an excellent cup of coffee or espresso.
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pstam
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pstam
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Posted Thu Sep 13, 2012, 7:17pm
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

In Italy, there is never master barista.  Every barista makes his own coffee, and most are very good.

Also, most Italian espresso are not perfect, but rather good, and good enough for people to drink.  While in US, there could be some perfect espresso, but most clients have no chance to enjoy it.  Most cafes in US have only very poor espresso, so no one can drink it.  In this case, that is almost no good espresso exist, how can one imagine to develop some thing better?  It may never be better, but poor.  The market can never follow the idea of so-called coffee professionals, but only their tastes.

The espresso's tastes are too strong to the US people's tastes?  I doubt.  European people almost never eat spicy food, but the spicy food are very popular in US.  95% in Italy and 5% in US, does so big difference make any sense?  You are talking about what you believe, but it can be far from the market.

Anyway, we are insisting to survive the traditional espresso, not because it was from Italy, but it was a great coffee only.  Your so-called the Third Wave Coffee is not good, so I do not believe that the market will accept it.

 
Peter in Beijing
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boblam
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Joined: 13 Mar 2011
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Posted Fri Sep 14, 2012, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

The Holly Brown incidence

Holly Brown pulled out all of its contestants from 2012 Hong Kong Barista Championship (HKBC) and 2012 Hong Kong Siphonist Championship (HKSC) in the semi final round.  The winners of these competition will represent Hong Kong in the 2013 World Barista Competition (WBC) in Australia and 2012 World Siphonist Competition in Japan.

In addition, on Tuesday, September 11 (semi final round of HKBC) and September 12 (Final round of HKBC), Holly Brown placed an ads on page 3 of the local newspaper called The Standard.  The link the to the ad which is the same as on The Standard is provide below.  It linked directly to Holly Brown facebook

Holly Brown's withdrawal ad from HKBC and HKSC on The Standard

You can see the real ads in the Standard in Hong Kong on respective dates mentioned above in the link below.  Once the file is open, flip to page 3

The Standard, archive

For the ads, while the larger print talked about coffee and seemed like just another regular advertising, the finer print below told more story about this ad.  I copy it below for your convenient

"...Unfortunately, Holly Brown had to withdraw our baristas Nick Yick, Enoch Li and Peggy Ling from participating in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Barista Championship and the Hong Kong Siphonist Championship.  We have made this decision after careful consideration.  We believe the issue of conflicts of interest had not been adequately addressed so we feel it will prevent the competition from being run in a "fair" manner.

We hope that Holly Brown by taking this stance will somehow bring about positive changes to this competition in the future."


I bold and underline what I think are the main point of this ads.  Whether this indicated the state of cafe in Hong Kong, be it competition and anything else, I have no comment on this issue.
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Paul_Pratt
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Paul_Pratt
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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2012, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

Bob thanks for posting the link about Holly Brown, I had not heard about this storm in a tea cup. It is probably one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in HK.  A newspaper ad???   At first I thought it was quite arrogant to do that, I mean seriously who are they?, but then I realised it is probably taking advantage of the situation to get some advertising going.

All this time I thought the big stumbling block for most people would be the STS coffee thing!  

Exactly 10 years ago we held the 1st competition at the 1st ever rest and Bar show.  We struggled to get half a dozen competitors and one company turned up with pre-ground coffee.  Pretty cool  to see it take off properly now.

I think once the dust settles and companies realise it is for the baristas and not for their company promotions or benefits then I think it will be smooth sailing.  Or not!
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pstam
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pstam
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Posted Sun Sep 30, 2012, 9:23pm
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

I think, like WBC, after decades of years, only some winners of the competition got something from it, but not the local market neither the local industry developng level.

 
Peter in Beijing
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http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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boblam
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Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 59
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

Paul, you're welcome.  Also, thank you for the story on STS coffee thing.  Hong Kong coffee scene is amazing, isn't it :D

pstam:  I have no comment on WBC.  But as Paul implied, HKBC just started and the competition has lots of company promotion phase in there and lots of other agenda too.  Whether it will sail smoothly afterward, who know?  I'm talking from a customer point of view only and if a customer feels this much, you can judge the industry yourself.
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easy_henry
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 11:58am
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

After a few quite years on posting in this forum, I'm surprised to see pstam hasn't changed a bit. Still have exactly the same mind set as you first join, haha...

Long time no see Paul, hope life is good in hk for you :) I've heard about the 1st HK comp from someone else (from Blair D perhaps) before and I reckon its really no different to other places around the world. I remember the first state barista comp I watch in Melbourne close to 10 years ago, one of the competitor served his coffee with a packet of sugar and burning hot foamy milk!

Having seen many years of coffee industry evolution, I have changed a lot in the perception of what is supposed to be good/bad. At the end of the day, taste is just too subjective to quantitively definite good or bad. One day a customer might like his coffee sour, the next he might like it bitter. The world evolves pstam, have you not noticed at least one thing you've tasted now that is better than 10 or 20 years ago? Just because it's first doesn't automatically make it best. Would you say the the first ever espresso taste just like the one you make now or the same as what you can get in italy? If so then good on you. Otherwise, would you say that the person who produced that first espresso would think that your espresso taste good? If he is a traditionist, anything that taste different would be no good right?

My opinion is very much the same as santunoo. If you are passionate about the way you make coffee pstam and its to your customers liking, then you are making good coffee for them. At the same time there are also part of the public out there who enjoy your disliked third wave coffee. At the same time theres also segment of the market who just dont know and dont care what type of coffee theyre drinking. I personally enjoy Vietnamese beef noodle soup in Australia more than ones i had in Vietnam, because I could taste more of the individual ingredient in the soup. I knew some Vietnamese agree and some disagree, who can say whether market will accept or not? I find it hard to believe that the entire market all enjoy exactly the same taste. Perhaps it's just your circle of friends who enjoy your taste?

Go easy,
Henry

 
go easy, ride safe and keep brewing,
henry

LMWDP #093
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pstam
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pstam
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
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Location: Beijing
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Espresso: ECM, SAN MARCO, EURO 2000
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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2012, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: Places for Coffee in HK, Pearl River Delta
 

Yes, that is a good point.
As you said about yourself, I do not comment and we all understand.

About me, we started our coffee business and got into the research of coffee and espresso brewing skills and their knowledge from 2000, and registed here in 2004

At the beginning, we were learning and studying together with everyone, including all people here. After a few years, we recognised that we had learnt the core and built the right formula, is that a right or proper word? After around 10 years of our practise, including our Barista Training, it was confirmed by the market and more and more people, both of our clients and our trainees. including their clients because many of our trainees had their own cafes.

Talking about the standards of coffee tastes, specially for espresso, it was the most difficult and magic concept.  I am sure that for those who tasted and made perfect espresso, it was so easy to know what was a good cup of espresso.  But if one try to explain it to other people, it became the most difficult things to do.  And therefore, the right tastes of espresso were the most difficult things to know for many people who had never had the good espresso.  This was seen and knew from all the market around the world.


Had the espresso tastes been changed? Or had the good espresso tastes been changed?
No, I do not think so.
People are still trying to make a drinkable coffee drink, and not get it till now.  How to make a better thing?

Our coffee, espresso is still as better as it should be, no change from many years ago.
It does not mean that we are not improving.  We did it by improving our training skill, and let more and more people to make good espresso drinks.  Through our trainees' cafes, and also our owns, we are trying to have more clients to know what a good coffee drink should be, should taste like.

A good coffee is good for Italians, also for American people, for Australians, for French and German, as well as people from any countries.  People may like different blends, but good coffee is good for all the people, from anywhere.  Some of them may prefer drip coffee, some prefer espresso, but no one prefer badly made coffee.  That is similar to the food, some may prefer beef, some may prefer pork, but they all prefer well made beef or pork, never badly made feef, neither never badly made pork.

I used to say that we had got a fully organized coffee theory and effective brewing skills to help people learn what a good cup of coffee and espresso is and how to make it.
To say this, one has to know and to prove its validity, and to be able to judge its validity.
As the organizer of a theory, I know how to analyze its validity and any other possible conditions and results.  It is not only tasted by some people its good or not, but any possible tastes should be known and analyze.  So, one can know how good it can be.
Before you find out all it can be, you have no result, and may go around and looking for many different possibilities.
When you find it out all about, you know what it can be and what it is good.
For the past years, our results had been proved without any opposite.  And why should we change our mind?

 
Peter in Beijing
-------------------
http://www.kaffa.cn/
-------------------
I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
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