Urban Coffee Roaster
“There’s a scientific, logical aspect to coffee roasting that my engineering side gets excited about.”
The start of Urban Coffee Roasters goes back to the days at Hong Kong University where by chance, Horry and Gary, the founders of UCR, were assigned as dorm mates while attending the university. Whereas others bonded over food, sports or fashion, they found a common interest in coffee.
In 2014, they turned that hobby into a business, starting off initially with just coffee roasting, before taking it on the road (literally) by serving coffee at pop-up markets out of their mobile coffee cart. Shortly after, they gave up the nomad life and made themselves at home in Shum Shui Po in a collaboration with the creative, art inspired hostel Wontonmeen. Here, the cafe doubled as the common area where guests from around the world and locals could meet for a coffee. Behind the counters, you can often find Horry and Gary filling the shop with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee with their bright red Giesen 6kg roaster.
The duo has since opened a second location in Tsim Sha Tsui with a cafe that not only serves and sells the amazing coffee they’ve become known for, but also offers a menu of Australian brunch inspired food to match.
We had a chance to sit down with Horry and ask a few questions:
What is your favorite way of making coffee?
We believe that the brewing method is secondary to the roasting itself but my usual go-to is the Aeropress.
Which region’s coffee do you prefer?
I’m a fan of coffee coming from east Africa. Love the juiciness of Yirgacheffes in particular.
What is it about coffee that captivated your interest?
Its deep history and the ways that it’s able to connect people from around the world. Also, having studied engineering, coffee roasting follows a very scientific and logical process that reflects the way I’ve come to solve problems.
What were you doing before UCR?
I studied in engineering but was working in accounting.
What’s your favorite suburb in Hong Kong?
I find myself in Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town a lot these days. There are so many independent boutiques to explore and it has a more relaxed pace.
How do you spend your days off?
Trying new restaurants and cafes or playing basketball with friends.
If you could do anything not related to coffee, what would it be?
Maybe something related to sneakers. I’m a big sneakerhead.