Place: Hay Fever / Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Coffee: Hay Fever / Ethiopia / Sidamo G1
Varietal: Heirloom / Natural
Drink: Siphon brewed
Roaster notes: Raspberry, floral, chocolate.
“It’s clean. I’m getting red apple and redcurrant,” I said. “What notes do you get?”
“Drinking coffee is about relaxing,” the barista replied. “Stop worrying about what the tasting notes are supposed to be and just enjoy it.” And at that moment I knew that this guy was legit.
Hay Fever is a unique shop located on Flower Market Road in Mong Kok. Flower Market Road being literally a road that has almost exclusively flower shops all along it. Hay Fever is both a flower shop and, for some reason, a specialty coffee shop.
I have to admit that I was initially sceptical when I looked at their menu. It was the usual lattes, cappuccinos, etc. with a small entry saying “Specialty Coffee………. $50.” So I went for it. I became more optimistic when I discovered that they had two specialty coffees on offer: an Ethiopia and an El Salvador. I chose the Ethiopia with the promise that it would be acidic (in a good way).
So, as I sat waiting for my drink, the barista approaches me with the grinds and encourages me to smell them. He would approach me three more times to see how I was doing and aggressively engaged me in #coffeechat. I know most people would probably hate this but I ate it up. Being able to chat to him about coffee that he roasted himself and made using his favourite method (Siphon) really added to the experience.
It was an incredibly clean brew, helped by the siphon method and his brew ratio of 18:1. There was a really pleasant acidity to the cup and it immediately made me think of red apples and redcurrant jelly. The barista told me that he roasted with the very goal of bringing forward these acidic characteristics of the coffee.
P.S. I left not before buying some of his beans to take home with me. They are simply the best beans I have had all year. He seriously just nails the roast perfectly and my first attempt with a V60 and a 16:1 brew ratio came up with the single best cup I have ever made myself. I can’t believe how low key Hay Fever’s roasting business is. People need to know about this place.