18 Grams Specialty Coffee
“Back when I was 20, I was already roasting my own coffee at home.”
With humble beginnings in their first coffee shop tucked away in Causeway bay 8 years ago, 18 Grams has become a staple in the specialty coffee scene in Hong Kong. Leading this journey alongside founder John So is Kammie Hui, a World Barista Championship judge and 18 Gram’s head roaster, lead trainer, green bean sourcer and a general doer of all things.
“I’ve had a strong interest in coffee from a young age,” says Kammie. “Back when I was 20, I was already roasting my own coffee at home with a little hacked popcorn air roaster, 50g at a time for my own consumption. It wasn't the greatest but I loved the process. I’d buy my green beans from these old school coffee guys in Hong Kong and they were really the first people who guided me in my coffee journey.”
Before working in the coffee industry, I was a pet groomer. It was actually very lucrative but I couldn’t see myself doing it forever so I left and jumped around to a few roles in the food and beverage industry. I also did a working holiday in Australia during that time and met some great people in the coffee scene who gave me an inside look at the operations of some of the big roasters down there. Coming back to Hong Kong, I worked with the team at Glory Coffee as their head trainer before moving over to 18 Grams.
What does the name 18 Grams mean?
When we first started, we found that our style of roasting produced the sweetest and more aromatic shots when pulled using an 18 gram filter basket so we decided to name the café after that. Also, for those who are familiar with Chinese culture, the number 18 represents good luck.
What roaster are you using and what’s your roasting style?
A 12kg Diedrich. I like to keep my roasts short (between 8.5 – 10.5 minutes). I believe that if you fully develop a batch in the shortest amount of time possible, the flavors will be maximized.
What is your v60 recipe?
15-16 grams of coffee to 240ml of water. I have my water at 89-92c and start with 40ml pre-infusion for 30 seconds. I then pour another 80ml and when the water level drops by about 1.5cm, I’ll slowly pour the remaining 120ml for a total of 240g. Remove the filter dripper before it’s drain completely and the total brew time should be around 2:00-2:15.
What does your ideal day away from the roastery look like?
I’d make myself a big breakfast and a big pot of coffee and spend the day hanging out with my son and cat. Or if my friends come by then we’ll cook and drink coffee and wine from day til night. If it was just me, I’d just want to put on some good music and do some housework.
What’s your favorite city for coffee?
Fukuoka. I like going to old cafes that have been around for decades run by someone who has been making coffee for most of his life. The coffee there were all dark roast but very sweet and not burnt at all.