Welcome to the latest entry in Build-Outs of Summer,’s exclusive series that takes you behind the scenes, during the construction phase, at brand new cafes and roasteries around the world. So far in 2013 we’ve featured Blueprint Coffee Roasters in St. Louis, Coffee Bar’s new FiDi cafe in San Francisco, and Beansmith Coffee’s exciting brew bar, “The Lobby”, in Omaha, Nebraska.


Today’s a little different, as we turn our attentions to Hong Kong and The Cupping Room, who are preparing to open their second cafe at the end of July 2013. We first learned about this cafe through our coverage of the 2013 World Barista Championship in Melbourne, where The Cupping Room’s owner, Derek Chiu, represented Hong Kong and placed 15th internationally. Mr. Chiu’s new shop will be the first independent cafe in all of Asia to serve Counter Culture Coffee exclusively. Let’s learn more.

The following interview is as told to Sprudge by Betty Liu on behalf of The Cupping Room. 


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Can you tell us a bit about your new space?

The design aesthetic of the new Cupping Room draws inspiration from Scandinavian materials and Japanese minimalism, and uses a blend of woods and industrial materials to create an environment that is aesthetically clean, but feels warm and welcoming. The space will house all wood furniture, with two communal tables as its center piece, as well as a six person bar table looking out on the to street. The walls will display logos of the various varieties of Counter Culture Coffee served in-house. The Cupping Room team believes that quality design should carry through in every detail, and have sourced elements from around the world to showcase their obsession with design, including handcrafted ceramic mugs from Thailand, rugged waxed canvas aprons from Hardmill in Seattle, and a Synesso Hydra, custom painted in matte black. 

What’s your approach to serving coffee?

At Cupping Room, it’s all about exploring the flavor of coffee, learning how origin, variety and processing affect the taste. We change our coffee offerings weekly depending on what’s in season. We will always have two espressos and three filter coffees on bar, so there is always something fresh and new to try.

In our menu, we provide a taste descriptor of each single origin coffee or blend. Customers will order a single origin espresso, a cappuccino or a filter. We want to keep our menu simple and focus on taste, so there will be no flat whites, macchiato, etc… We want the customer to feel our appreciation for the beautiful simplicity of coffee right when they look at our menu.


Any other gear lined up? 

Aside from the Hydra, we’ll also be working with two Mazzer Robur-E grinders and a Mahlkonig EK43 grinder.

What’s your hopeful target opening month? What’s your street address?

Late July, and we’re located at 299 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.


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