Barista Interview #4: Feel at home in Ma Wan, Hong Kong

Think about the last time you had a conversation with your neighbour - a real conversation, not “hi-byes” or small talk about the weather.

It’s been a long time, isn’t it?

The lack of platforms for people to interact in modern cities has caused us to grow apart despite living in close proximities. 

Sol Committee is a new café in Ma Wan Island of Hong Kong. The café sets out to rekindle the lost closeness between the residents of Ma Wan Island, by creating a platform for the community to interact. 

Today, we speak to Barista Joe, who is new to the island, about Sol Committee and how it is helping him move towards his dreams.

Magic of Coffee - Decoded!
To achieve his dreams of owning his very own coffee shop, Joe took up a diploma in design when he was younger, so that he can build and personalize his future café according to his ideals. To get one step closer to his dreams, he started working in a café. After a few years of experience in the coffee industry, he finally decoded the magic of coffee.

Barista Joe brewing cup of coffee.
Credits to: @solcommittee

“I was amazed at how coffee is like a new language between people. When I communicate with the customers, I keep them in my mind when I make their coffee, and they in turn feel my thoughts when they drink the coffee, and no words are required between us.”

This led him to join Sol Committee, a café that values the community spirit, when it opened in October  2020.

A café that’s a community hub
Sol Committee is one of the rare cafes in Hong Kong that encourages the human touch in coffee. As most of the customers are regulars living nearby, Sol Committee is not only a neighbourhood café, but it is also a community hub for all residents to gather. A variety of workshops, including yoga and martial arts classes, are held weekly at the café. This gives Joe plenty of chances to interact with the customers and find out their preferences. 

Neighbourhood children playing in Sol Committee
Credits to: @Solcommittee

“Quite a lot of our customers are the elderly who are not used to specialty coffee. It is our challenge at Sol Committee to find out what is acceptable to them and introduce them to the beauty of craft coffee.”

The most recommended menu item
The most recommended item in Sol Committee is Hand-Drip Coffee crafted upon each order using the Hario V60 Ceramic Dripper. 

Credits to: @terrywpm

“The Hario V60 Dripper brings out the peach and lychee flavours of our Columbian coffee beans perfectly. As these beans are of medium roast, they have a stronger flavour, which is more acceptable among the folks around here.”

Baristas in Sol Committee communicate with their customers and pick a suitable coffee  between the 3 types of single origin beans available in the café. Each cup is then carefully dripped with Hario V60 Dripper  to bring out the best in the coffee beans.

The SOL Committee Pour Coffee Recipe
If you are interested in trying out the recipe from SOL Committee. Joe has very kindly shared his precious secret recipe with us!

What you’ll need
・Hario V60 Ceramic Dripper
・Pouring kettle
・Scale (optional)
・16 g Coffee
・240 g Water

1. Bloom: 0-45s / 60g water
Pour 60g water over the coffee grounds within 7 seconds. Gently shake the dripper for 20 times. Allow 45 seconds for the bloom to finish.

2. The first pour: 45-60s / up to 120g water
Starting in the centre of the grounds, pour in a steady spiral toward the outer edge and then back toward the centre. 

3. The second pour: 1 min 20s / up to 240g water.
Slowly pour at the centre of the dripper over the grounds.  

4. Finish in 2 minute 40 seconds
Allow the coffee mixture to drip through the filter to extract the precious brew. Remove the dripper at 2 mins 40s.

 

V60 Ceramic Colour Dripper
There are so many different colours for the Hario V60. Which colour does Joe, who has a design background, think fits him best?

“Definitely the matte black dripper! It is the first colour to have caught my eyes because of its unique colour and texture. It also looks very cool! I think the Turquoise dripper matches very well with the interior of our shop as well!”

Indeed, with the many different colours available, it’s hard to just choose one colour!

Sol Committee 
Thank you Joe for telling us about your café.

If community spirit is what you treasure, Sol Committee is a must go when you are in Hong Kong!

Sol Committee
Shop 1A, Level 2,
Beach Commercial Complex
Park Island, Ma Wan

Opening Hours: 
11AM - 6PM
Closed on Tuesday