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I Thought I Knew Coffee – Lessons from Knockbox

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Let me start by saying that I love my coffee and for sure I’ve drank more than my share of it, I am from Finland after all; we drink more coffee per person than anybody else. No seriously, we drink over twice as much coffee as the Italians, which some consider to be quite the coffee country.

But as they say about lies, damned lies and statistics; statistic don’t really tell the whole story. Yes quantity-wise we drink the most coffee in the world, but it’s just because we like drinking filtered coffee all the time, no seriously, I could easily have five cups just at work and quite a few more at home.

On this around the world trip I have had few times some truly great coffee. I tried weasel coffee in Hanoi Vietnam and found it incredibly smooth and nice. And I had a cup of coffee in Paksong Laos, which I still to this day consider to be one of the best ones I’ve ever had, but the situation might have also impacted my judgment on that.

So like I said, I know coffee, well I thought, I knew coffee.

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As you might have picked up, I’m always on the lookout for amazing/new eating or drinking experiences, so when I met a girl from Hong Kong in the Philippines who told me of Knockbox Coffee Company, I was intrigued. A tiny café in Hong Kong set up by few seriously passionate coffee hobbyists. Originally open only at weekends when they could get away from work, but recently they’ve started keeping it open also on the weekdays.

So yes I know a bit about coffee, but I was not prepared for what I would encounter here. Just because I can navigate my way through the Starbucks coffee selection process, didn’t mean I could do it here. If you were looking for one of those milk based beverages favoured by Starbucks and the like, you might want to look elsewhere. Here, it is just about the coffee, you can forget espresso.

The first thing to decide is which beans I would want. The barista was happy to tell me about the different ones they had on offer, how they differed and what they were like. After I had chosen the beans, I was presented with a question I’ve never encounter before in a café, “How would you want the coffee to be brewed?”

Eh?

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The barista then showed me the various equipment they had on offer, all the different ways of how to brew the coffee. I asked for his recommendation, what would suit the beans that I had chosen, and went with that. He obviously seemed to be the expert and not me.

Now, if you want a quick cup of coffee, this place probably isn’t for you. I think it took 15 minutes to make my cup of coffee; starting with measuring the beans and grinding them. Then he boiled the water and made sure it was exactly the correct temperature, before he started pouring it thru the beans; a delicate process which required the water to be poured at a constant even pace for a long period of time.

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Then he tasted it first to ensure it was as it should be. After he was happy with it, he finally presented me with my cup with the instruction to drink it slowly so it could cool down a little as coffee changes in taste depending on the temperature. And he was right; it started off strong, but turned a little sweeter as it chilled down.

And it really was an excellent cup of coffee, one of the best I’ve ever had. So, my top three coffees from my current trip are now (in no particular order) Knockbox coffee, Laos coffee and weasel coffee.

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It seems that proper coffee is like whisky or wine. Sure you can just drink any cheap stuff, but if you really get into it, you can really find differences and nuances you did not know existed.

It was a quiet day at the café so the barista was brewing some other coffee for himself, which he then shared with me. This was very different, much darker.

Then somebody turned up and brought along some Turkish coffee, which we then proceeded to brew also; by making it in a small pot that we hovered for ages over a heating element. The barista wasn’t quite happy with the end result, but new coffee apparently  requires experimentation to make the most of it.

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In the end I stayed there for good many hours talking with the barista and the other patrons about coffee. And you know what, I learned a lot.

If you happen to be in Hong Kong and looking for a good cup of coffee, I would definitely recommend trying out Knockbox Coffee Company, check out their Facebook page on how to find them.

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What’s the best coffee you’ve ever had?

15 Comments

  1. I don’t know why, but I think coffee is so overwhelming! I’ve only recently started enjoying it, but I can never remember the difference between lattes and espressos, or dark roast and light roast. So many options!! 😛
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Prague versus Budapest: An Eastern European SmackdownMy Profile

    • hehe, yeah coffee can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming when you have to answer half a dozen questions just to get a cup! :)

  2. I have just found a recent passion for coffee! Have you had any in New Zealand? I think they have the best in my humble opinion although that set up looks amazing.
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Living like a local in Amsterdam with RoomoramaMy Profile

    • I’ve heard some other people mention NZ also in regards to coffee, but no I didn’t for some reason try much the coffees there. I’ll have to explore that side of NZ when I go there the next time :)

  3. And here I thought Norwegians drank the most coffee in the world. Looking at Wiki, though, I see we’re number 2, after you Finns :)
    Sophie recently posted..Travel photo – Brimstone Hill Fortress, Saint KittsMy Profile

    • Hehe :) and we consume over 2kg more per person per year than you guys! Wooo, go Finland :) But it is funny how coffee consumption is so ridicilously high in all the Nordic countries…

  4. Oh haven’t have a chance to visit here. Looks great!
    Juno recently posted..Yuanyang Rice Terrace in Photos – Xinjie, Yunnan, ChinaMy Profile

    • Something for you to visit the next time you’re going thru Hong Kong!

  5. I wish I would have read that post 4-5 years ago. :) We were in Hong Kong and I was looking for a fab coffee. We didn’t find any & had to visit Starbucks. :(
    Melvin recently posted..My Epic Adventure – Going On A Treasure Hunt In OmanMy Profile

    • Ah, the infamous starbucks! There is no way I would’ve found this place unless I had heard about it from a local :)

  6. Looks like an amazing place to try coffee. If I ever make it there, I’ll be sure to try Knockbox.

    And poor Melvin got stuck with Starbucks. That really sucks!
    cheryl recently posted..The New Jewish Cemetery in Krakow.My Profile

    • It was a pretty sweet place to try some really nice coffee, you’ll definitely have to try it when you get around to HK. Yeah, being stuck with Starbucks is no fun, but I know how sometimes you have no choices…

  7. I like coffee a lot, its a great drink although i never know of Finlands place in the world rankings I always assumed the French were the winners here.

    While I like coffeee and am a fan I am not of the obsessive level some people are a nice cup is a nice cup but I know some people will tell me that this statement on its own is enough to take away my status as a fan!