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The Cupping Room

 
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
文章: 294

發表發表於: 星期六 十二月 24, 2011 12:37 am    文章主題: The Cupping Room 引言回覆

引言回覆:
I find openrice.com these days delay the editing beyond the reasonable basis. It's 48 hours after I post and nothing happens. Also, I don't see any new English writeup over the past 24 hours except those 'senior' who posted a lot.

While this makes the website feel 'sacred', it's a waste of time for consumers to just wait and wait. Beside, there is actually no editing on the language at all and they just policed the word to fit the rule.

As such, I put my post on The Cupping Room up for your perusal at the link below, Please feel free to comment/contrast, etc.

PS: I posted this one in the early hour today and openrice finally comes thru and put up this writeup at 5:44am in the morning. However, I do add some more pic in here that was not exactly the same as on openrice due to picture limitation so I will keep it here vs. my initial thought of deleting the redundancy

The Star in the Making!!! Smile

I typically don't visit a cafe right after its opening. I believe each operation needs some fine-tuning say at least a month or so before they settle in. One needs to give some time for it to mature and this is what I agree with words I got from one of the world-renowned coffee luminaries who is based in Hong Kong.


Busy shop front even on its 1st week. Nice!

Nevertheless, the first Synesso in Hong Kong and the award winning barista are temptations that drew me there today. So I decided to make a pilgrimage to the other side of the island, surviving the winding road and jerky motion that usually make me throw up and, finally, was glad I made this visit.


Well stocked shelf

Showing the true color of serious coffee people even at its entrance, the cupping room is well stocked with goodies for coffee enthusiasts on the shelf, be it the popular consumer grinder Baratza Maestro Plus, Aeropress, Hario Vac Pot, Chemex, some beans though I wonder why some "pre packaged pre ground coffee" is there Shocked


The 1st Synesso in HK. Superb clarity. I'm a fan! notworthy

This is one of the main reasons I wanna drop by the cafe early in its operation. Let me tell you upfront that I am a fan of Synesso and have been waiting for a cafe in Hong Kong to install this high-end machine in a real cafe setting for so long. Finally, my dream comes true so I can't wait.


While some will say that they can adjust any machine to deliver the coffee in any certain taste profile, my experience with Synesso has been consistent across the board whether the machine is in Taipei, Toronto, Hong Kong and Bangkok with an unmistakably superb clarity like one lifted the veil up from espresso you tastes from any other machine. And cups from The Cupping Room definitely showed this exact same trait. I can’t say of all coffee machines in this world but as far as my experience goes, this is an excellent trait one should watch out for cups from Synesso. Be careful, this cup clarity is really addictive Laughing


Trial setup, merchandise arrived, installed and the real thing about 1+ week before the Cupping Room opened its door notworthy

One may wonder how come it takes so long for Hong Kong to get its first Synesso! AFAIK, Synesso is relatively new to this part of the world; Synesso only appointed its agent in both Thailand and Hong Kong in 2009. In addition, the current operation and aftersales service of Synesso's major competitor, La Marzocco, is second to none in Hong Kong. For any cafe operator, the downtime of the machine is what they scare the most. While Synesso itself was renowned for its 'built like a tank' and ease of maintenance, which are major goals in Synesso's machine, to have a great and knowledgeable support makes all the different and easy for cafe operators to pick up a comparable machine and run its business knowing there is a helping hand around the corner if there is a need. However, on the other side of the coin, I admire the cafe that is willing to take some risks like The Cupping Room on the back of the pursuit for the great and unique cup quality. Besides, lots are willing to operate Synesso elsewhere despite the support, showing a degree of trust and belief ont he reliability Synesso machine has been demonstrating since it came to the market in 2004.


The Cupping Room is serious about coffee!!!

Another sign that you are likely to get a good cup of coffee here. The Hong Kong Barista Championship (HKBC) is a big league event of which the winner will represent Hong Kong for the first time in this heavyweight circuit competing against barista all over the world and, in case the winner can’t make it, it will be the barista at The Cupping Room who will represent Hong Kong. With this in mind, I actually consider the top three in the 1st HKBC to be equally capable of making a great cup of coffee. On top of that the Cupping Room is also a member of a Specialty Coffee Association of America.


Top rated award winning barista!

That’s the basic background and now it’s the thing I was there for, coffee.

I like how the bean looked in the hopper as it’s relatively dry indicated a lighter roast of the bean which allows the origin of the bean to shine vs. those darker and more oily bean, a sign of darker roast which not only suppresses the origin taste with roasty tone of the roast but also increases the risk of the bean turning rancid due the reaction of the oil on the surface of the bean with the air. You see them everywhere with imports coffee done by most cafes, particularly the Italian ones and you can estimate how much care they put into their coffee... Sad

The roaster is Fahrenheit Five-Hundred (F500) which may be a new kid on the block in this part of the world but brought with him experiences in roasting coffee elsewhere including from the land down under.

I was not told whether this blend is off the shelf from F500 or a blend tailored just for The Cupping Room though coffees inside are a blend of Brazil, Guatemala and El Salvador. I’m already ok with the blend just looking at the component; at least there is no Sumatra, a darling bean among local coffee drinkers as it gives a big body and "strong" coffee whatever they want to call at the expense of the earthy aftertaste with, sometimes, funky off-note that is not a thing for some coffee lovers including me.


Dry bean surface = good prospect

Let start with my usual which I have not had it for a long time as I haven't visited new cafes for long I almost forgot how to address/focus in the cup when I drank it. Very Happy


Highly dominated by coffee tone

One good thing about The Cupping Room is that it does not employ any chocolate powder or things to do the cover up job for its milk drink in case something goes wrong with the drink. This gives an undivided attention to how well its barista prepares the drink, froths the milk and the real taste of well froth milk with coffee to shine.

The cup came very close the highest level of my acceptable temperature range. While I prefer the temp lower than this level but this was acceptable. The texture of the milk drink was reasonable, not as luxurious and velvety as Crema Coffee in TST East for sure though this is not a light cup or fragile foam one gets from chained cafe, ie good but not impressive. The cup has a very strong coffee overtone and, apart from the coffee itself, chocolate tone is pretty much what is in the cup, so much so that it drown out other tasting notes that might be there. On the thing that I don’t really like, this strong coffee tone pretty much killed any milk sweetness that might be in there and is very common for the level of milk coffee delivered to me by any award winning barista I know of, be it on regional league like Grand Barista Championship or other top ranked barista from HKBC.

Nevertheless, this is not quite a fair comparison as The Cupping Room is only into its second week. You need to give some time for any operation to settle, even those opened by an experience one. The Cupping Room is no exception. With this in mind, the cup was really good and, to me, will likely to improve further with a bit of a fine-tuning. The important thing is I can recommend people to drink this coffee and that's not what I do all the time for any cafe out there.


Too balanced/commercial. Can be better

As a black coffee, the house blend in an espresso form is very 'regular' vs. my initial expectation of 'wow' in the cup I have been getting from coffees out of Synesso elsewhere. The cup has some acidity with relatively low in body and I would rather have this cup a bit sweeter than what it was served. Nevertheless, this cup reminded me of the tone of those house blends by Barista Jam, ie more of a front and center though they are much clearer in the taste likely due to the signature taste from Synesso. To me, the coffee was good but had a feeling of almost there, ie it can be further improved. Still I get a very nice layer of acidity and very clear cup profile while I love its aftertaste of spice. Not bad at all.


Flat vs. its COE status

As an aside, I have a sip of this coffee which was via manual drip brew and served to the other customer. I was told the coffee is a Cup of Excellence (COE) level. Nevertheless, I was totally newshocked with what I got in the cup for the level of coffee I was told. The overall cup was very subdued unlike other COEs I have had and I wouldn't know if nobody tell me this is COE which should be easy for coffee drinkers to detect the clean and complex tasting notes. I happened to have the similar kind of coffee from a Toronto based roaster with me which is Social Coffee Company Costa Rica La Montana 2011 COE#16. I asked the barista to brew a cup for me and it was a night and day with ton of bright acidity/passion fruit/stone fruit forward, a prized possession of this COE coffee. I have no answer for this but it is less likely to be a problem of its barista.


Competition blend from Mojo

I jumped back to espresso and asked for any special offering that the Cupping Room happened to carry. I was lucky this was the coffee the barista used in the HKBC that landed him the second place. The coffee was roasted by Mojo Coffee, the renowned roaster in Taiwan and was very peachy/stone fruit forward, very intense with a very sweet finish. Again, the body is on a thin side, not as thin as the cup I got from Barista Jam in the past but probably the thinnest one among all the cups I had via Synesso.


Best of the bunch notworthy

It is very interesting coffee but more of a hit and go with not much of the charm left in the cup for me. Still, I would drink this coffee anytime if it's on the offering.


Good pedigree beans from CoffeePro but...

I asked for his filtered coffee and this is what was recommended. It is as if all the professional people loves something very forward and strong in taste I think most of them loves Kenya. Laughing However, I don't.

Nevertheless, I will drink it if anybody recommends it. To avoid one, one will miss an important chance to open one's eye.... Before the coffee, let touch a bit about its filtered coffee program. At the moment, the way the Cupping Room approaches the program, IMHO, seemed to be inspired by what Barista Jam started, ie offering quite a few decent coffee choices via various brewing methods, including French press, Aeropress and V60 manual paper drip, that fit such coffee. For my visit, there were four coffees offering at the time. The Cupping Room's customers can choose any which brewing method they like or they can just leave the choice in the hand of the barista which should know how best each coffee bean will perform in the cup which is what I did for my coffee. Though the program does not have the same breath like what is offering at Knockbox Coffee Company, this provides a good way to educate consumers in that particularly area which, I was told, remains relatively new to the world of good coffee but definitely has a wherewithal and purchasing power to pick up anything to their heart's desire if they begin to appreciate such offerings. This is a good combination of nice crowd and nice cafe offering, credited the idea to the owner of the Cupping Room, IMHO.


Lemony but not outstanding vs what it should be

The cup is very Kenyan, a strong note of lemon all over the place but with some complexity that does not seem to match the high score it shows. Nevertheless, I think Kenya lovers will be happy with this cup but you know Kenya and me... Sad


Flip the cups up and you know they are serious

One can easily sense the care and love of coffee the owner puts into this cafe. These cups were from his own collection and, to me, this tiny detail made visiting a cafe even more interesting.


The Cupping Room joins renowned cafes that utilized Synesso such as (from left to right and top to bottom) 1) Mercury Espresso Bar, Toronto, 2) Crema Coffee, Toronto, 3) Ristretto, Bangkok and 4) The Cupping Room, Stanley, Hong Kong

In all, the Cupping Room is definitely a highlight for coffee lovers who plan to visit that part of the town. As the operation is only in its second week as of this writing, some rough edges remain to be worked out, particularly the bean choices and the cooperation between roasters and the barista to bring the cup to another level. I was told that feature beans going forward will be from F500 and Mojo Coffee though I’m sure this was not set in stone considering the duration the café is in business. With time, I have no doubt this café will improve considerably on the back of its superb equipment choice and the professionalism and enthusiasm of the operator shown to me during my visit.
Recommended Dish(es): Espresso,particularly guest blend from Mojo Coffee from Taiwan
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)

Dining date: 2011-12-17
Overall Rating:
Taste 4 | Environment 5 | Service 5 | Hygiene 5 | Value for Money 4
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HonSon



註冊時間: 2011-01-07
文章: 175
來自: Great Britain

發表發表於: 星期三 一月 25, 2012 11:13 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

Derek's honey project is truly great for espresso! Cool

gave me goosebumps Razz
_________________
"We all like a mediocre cup of coffee, relish a good cup of coffee, and inevitably go into ecstasies over a superb cup of coffee."


Coffee with LOVE
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