[Hong Kong] Talk about the “best coffee in Hong Kong” or at least the most talked-about coffee shop in the city, % Arabica will be a shoo-in.
The flagship store in Hong Kong is located inside the International Finance Centre (IFC) Mall at Central Waterfront.
It is conveniently located by the entrance/exit to the central piers, facing Victoria Harbour. While there are some seats, it is mainly for takeaways.
There is another HK store opened at Tsim Sha Tsui at the Hong Kong Star Ferry.
The TST store is small but busy coffee counter tucked in the corner of the first floor of Star Ferry concourse.
% Arabica is known to be originally from Kyoto Japan, currently expanding globally under the coffee leadership of Global Head Baristas Junichi Yamaguchi and Shu Konishi.
Currently, there are 16 stores located in Japan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Philippines and China.
Plans for expansion are in the works for China, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, UK, USA and SINGAPORE.
In fact, Singapore is listed under its “Opening Later” category on its website. (Look out here for updates.)
A bit of its origins: Its founder and owner, Kenneth Shoji, established the brand on March 11, 2011. Its mission is to grow % Arabica across unique land and cultures of the world, so that young baristas can “See The World Through Coffee”.
After moving to Hong Kong, an idea hit him to start a coffee business. With a bank loan, he bought a coffee firm in Hawaii and started trading green bean from around the world. He became the sole-exporter of a Japanese roasting machine.
For one year, he persuaded Junichi Yamaguchi (a world champion of latte art) to work with him, and succeeded.
The flagship % Arabica store opened in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong in February 2013. As a location, Discovery Bay proved to be quite challenging in attracting customers.
To reach a wider base, the store then moved to Higashiyama, Kyoto in February 2014 and became recognized as a coffee brand.
% Arabica is known as a great place for excellent coffee, somewhere even coffee snobs would be go to.
It takes pride in using beans from its own coffee farm in Hawaii, and from around the world. The company strives to source all its beans directly from the origins. Kenneth himself, along with his global head barista Junichi, travels to various coffee origins around the world.
Depending on the season and availability, you can find coffees from Japan, Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Panama.
Prices range from HKD110-1900 per 200g (SGD18.36 – 317.15).
The design of % Arabica is a collaboration of Kenneth Shoji and his architect friend Masaki Kato.
Both the HK stores are contemporary and Japanese minimalist.
It is a brightly lit space with a few standing tables, as the business caters mostly to take away orders. There’s a retail section where you can buy % tumblers, % bags, and coffee beans.
% Arabica serves 4 espresso-based coffees: Espresso (HKD30, SGD5.01), Espresso Macchiato (HKD35, SGD5.84), Caffe Latte (HKD40, SGD6.68, short), and Americano (HKD35, SGD5.84, short). Add HKD5, SGD0.83 for a single-origin bean instead of the standard blend.
Caffe Latte and Americano is available iced or hot. To upsize to tall, just addH KD5 (SGD0.83).
The Japan % Arabica Blend (HKD130, SGD21.69, 200g) is an original blend of % Arabica Kyoto, and processed using mixed methods.
It has a balanced depth and richness, with a strong hint of chocolate, and great with milk.
For those looking for decaf, there’s Guatemala Decaf SWS (HKD150/SGD25.03), with 98% of the caffeine removed by Swiss Water Process.
Another key feature of % Arabica is that coffee can be roasted to order on the spot.
Select your preference, and I was told to come back in about 30 minutes to collect my bag. (Not difficult as IFC is a shopping haven.)
You can reach % Arabica IFC via Hong Kong MTR, approximately a 6-minute walk from Exit C. The IFC complex is situated right atop the station. Hong Kong MTR station connects to Central MTR station, the interchange line for the Island Line and Tsuen Wan Line.
The Tsim Sha Tsui store is a 5-minute walk from Exit L6 of Tsim Sha Tsui / East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station. Expect to queue on rush hours and weekends.
If you prefer to shop online, % Arabica sells beans and merchandise like tumblers, canisters, and backpacks too.
% Arabica Hong Kong
IFC: Shop 1050, Level 1, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2885 1312
Opening Hours IFC: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Fri); 9:00am – 9:00pm (Sat – Sun) Open on public holidays
Google Maps – % Arabica (IFC Mall)
Tsim Sha Tsui: Shop KP-41, Star Ferry Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tsim Sha Tsui: +852 2323 5203 (Shop); +852 2809 2380 (Bean Orders)
Opening Hours TST: 9:00am – 7:00pm Daily
Google Maps – % Arabica (Tsim Sha Tsui)