Brew Note Coffee Roaster is a specialty café in North Point. The owner Vincent Hung values coffee quality and strives to shape its brand identity. Last year, he co-organized a cultural salon with Prof. Chow Po-chung of CUHK’s Department of Government and Public Administration. This August, he opened a new branch Paper&Coffee at the Pommerenke Student Centre. As it could get quite crowded at lunch time, I decided to pay a visit at tea time.
Entering Paper&Coffee, I first noticed the simplistic and elegant interior design. There was a syphon coffee maker at the end of the bar counter. Clients could sit back appreciating the aproned barista’s brewing technique. I was attracted to the tatami platform which is rare in local cafés. Having removed their shoes, the clients sat cross-legged on the mats enjoying coffee and reading a poem handwritten on the glass wall nearby.
I discovered the thoughtfulness of the owner in providing a space for dialogue. Both booth and tatami seating accommodate four people. Students can discuss classwork with their mates or sit alone at the corner. The owner once said, ‘Fine taste should be cultivated young.’ It aroused my memory of studying at the University of Toronto. It was snowing. I shivered in the piercing cold and entered a campus café to order my very first cup of mocha. Since then I have been used to combing my thoughts in a café filled with brewing aroma and melodious music.
I ordered a cup of hot mocha as usual. Amazed by the coffee base after my first sip, I immediately read the introduction on the menu and learnt that they brew the espresso with notes of citrus acidity and hazelnut flavour, before processing cocoa powder with steamed milk. The creamy rich cocoa worked perfectly well with the hazelnut scent. I took another sip. The floral cream on the surface still remained intact, no doubt due to the latte art of the barista.
Looking at my companion enjoying his cup of syphoned coffee, I felt the bliss as part of the CUHK community. The specialty café can be a comfort zone for the restless souls catching up with their learning progress, where they can enjoy the scent of light-roast coffee beans, appreciate the brewing of the barista and chit-chat with their mates. Or they can simply leave the café with a cup of coffee and look at Lake Ad Excellentiam leaning at the window. Such a humanistic landscape is the privilege of our community.
This article was originally published in No. 527, Newsletter in Nov 2018.