Tastefully brewed

by TERESA CHOW on Dec 20, 2011 in Interiors , Lifestyle
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 With its new coffee academy and roasting studio, Caffè Habitu extends its ‘home-away-from-home’ approach with warm, natural ingredients

You would be excused for assuming that Caffé Habitu is a European brand – it is, in fact, a home-grown Hong Kong venture, and its success at positioning itself as an import is testament to the vision and drive of founder Jennifer Liu.

In the decade or so since Caffé Habitu was founded, it has contributed towards – and capitalised on – the territory’s growing ‘coffee culture’. Now, with the launch of its Coffee Academy & Roasting Studio, Liu aims to cater to both the training of her staff and to improving public knowledge about coffee via fun, creative workshops.

Situated in Causeway Bay, a neighbourhood Liu describes as being full of character, the Caffé Habitu academy and studio sits side-by-side with high-end shops and local culture, epitomised by the area’s tong lau, independent shops and small, affordable restaurants. This, she says, is the perfect setting, Caffé Habitu is considered both a higher-end café and a lifestyle-driven brand.

The spaces afforded by the nature of the tong lau – older buildings which often have their lower levels converted for retail and restaurant tenants – are more open and flexible, but the downside is that they often require a full update. For Caffé Habitu’s academy and roasting studio, this meant installing a big open kitchen, an office space and three toilet units.

Fortunately, Liu’s background is in architecture; she has therefore been behind the design of all Caffé Habitu’s outlets. “The concept behind our interiors is ‘eclectic-vintage’ – very boutique and kind of European. They’re all my own design vision,” she explains. “A lot of my inspiration has come from Europe; that’s how the Habitu brand came about.”

The new Causeway premises for the Caffé Habitu Academy & Roasting Studio were originally a chess club. The space in the tong lau unit was already quite open; however, the walls and floors needed some serious attention, while a lot of paint and polish jobs were required in general. “I wanted the new studio to be warm and welcoming, cosy and just comfortable. It definitely is my home-away-from-home,” says Liu.

 Read the full story in the January 2012 issue of Perspective magazine! 


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