It wasn’t all that long ago that finding a good cup of coffee was a challenge in Hong Kong. The city’s local coffee culture has come a long way in just a short few years, in part thanks to Elephant Grounds. Since popping up on Gough Street in early 2014, the independent, homegrown micro roaster has helped to upend the city’s coffee scene.
The popular cafe was founded by long-time friends Kevin Poon and Gerald Li. It started as just one brick-and-mortar store, but now has five locations around the city. Kevin is a fashion and lifestyle curator and Gerald is the brains behind other popular Hong Kong spots such as Spanish tapas bar, Catalunya. With a shared frustration for the lack of artisan coffee in Hong Kong – and coincidentally, a shared love for elephants – Elephant Grounds was born. The name to reflects the strong, social nature of the loveable animals to characterise the social gathering spot.
With time spent in cities including Los Angeles, Toronto and Melbourne, Kevin and Gerald combined elements from some of their favourite coffee haunts around the world to create Elephant Grounds. The result is a culmination of everything you’d want in your neighbourhood coffee shop: relaxed and chilled vibes, friendly service, and of course, excellent brews.
To that end, Elephant Grounds roasts its own coffee in its Wong Chuk Hang headquarters, with single origin coffee beans sourced from small farms across Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Brazil. The team’s insistence on high quality extends from the sourcing the beans, to roasting and brewing methods, and down to the final presentation. The result is a brew that’s rich and smooth, packing a punch whether it’s a shot of espresso or in a milky flat white.
In addition to exceptional roasts, Elephant Ground’s Southside headquarters churns out a slew of freshly baked breads and sandwiches, ensuring that guests are well fed and well caffeinated any time of day. Try the sole filet sando or the classic avo toast with French pea pesto. There’s also the ever popular torched salmon donburi bowl mixed with corn, pickled cucumber, kewpie mayo and a wobbly onsen egg.
Of course, a trip to Elephant Grounds wouldn’t be complete without the famous ice cream sandwich, an item so ubiquitous it could carry its own social media handle on Instagram. Known as Brownie Points, this handheld creation may very well have placed Elephant Grounds on the map. The show stopping dessert features house-made vanilla bean ice cream and roasted nuts, sandwiched between two decadent brownie ‘cookies’. There’s also a selection of rotating weekly specials if you prefer something different.
On sunny days, the icy treat is best enjoyed alfresco or facing the open-fronted facade. The indoor-outdoor vibe of the Wan Chai location makes it a popular spot for office workers in the area, with a bespoke moss garden installation and handcrafted timber and wood used throughout for a cheery, relaxed vibe.
Elephant Grounds is a place to get your caffeine fix at any time of day, but you’ll find more than great roasts here. An intersection of design, lifestyle and creative minds makes Elephant Grounds a cultural landmark, a symbol of Hong Kong stepping up to the world stage in all aspects of gastronomy and dining, excellent coffee included.