Michael Yung - General Manager
Use thisI didn’t really have a serious coffee drinking habit until I read some articles online about specialty coffee, around 2004-2005. I’ll always remember the first cup of filter coffee that blew my mind: Kenya Karogato, roasted by Novo Coffee, brewed at Elysian Coffee in Vancouver. With specialty coffee and the industry, the aspect that I love most is the storytelling. I think that coffee quality, flavour, value are highly personal, but storytelling is something that everyone can appreciate no matter their personal preferences or drinking habits. For me, professionally, it’s marrying a great cup (quality) with an authentic story on how it got to be as good as it is.
My start in the coffee industry began in 2006 as a part-time barista (well, I started by washing dishes and grilling panini) while completing my university studies in Vancouver. I was a regular at a coffee shop owned by four-time Canadian Barista Champion, Sammy Piccolo. He recognized me as a habitual espresso drinker, and after a few months convinced me to join (promising me all the espresso I could drink, plus training from him).
In 2007, I went to the WBC in Tokyo as a team member of the Canadian champion, and after winning my own title in Canada and competing at the 2008 WBC in Copenhagen, I was hooked on this “international coffee community” – but I didn’t want to compete again. I began judging in 2008, first in Canada and then certified in time for the 2009 WBC in Atlanta. Since then, I’ve served as a technical, sensory, and head judge at the WBC and gotten involved with the volunteer roles ranging from rules & regulations, judge certification, judge calibration, equipment testing and certification, and also serving on the board of directors as its president in 2015. It’s really been an amazing way to continue growing professionally while being a part of a dynamic global community.
What are your thoughts on the Hong Kong coffee scene and how has it evolved?
By leaps and bounds. I moved here in 2010 and the quality and variety and quantity of shops and offerings around town available now is on par with any big city. I couldn’t say that in 2010.
How do you brew your morning cup?
My wife likes drinking a 6oz single shot latte before leaving home for work, so I usually have “the other shot” in the form of a 5oz americano – brewed using the short EK43 LE and a La Marzocco Linea Mini.
What’s your pour over recipe?
I usually start with this basic recipe: 15g coffee, 230g 95°C water in five pours: 50g (circular), 50g (circular), 40g, 40g, 50g (circular) in about 2:20-2:40.
What’s your favorite region for coffee?
I feel like saying “washed coffee from/around Guji, Ethiopia” would be a really boring answer, but honestly, it’s my go-to for coffee, especially when traveling. But I also really like trying interesting varieties from Colombia, the first origin country that I visited.
Can you tell us a little about what Cupping Room has been up to and what we can expect next?
There are a lot of things “in the hopper” so to speak, and we’re excited to share the fruits of our labour over the next six months. We’re refreshing our brand, but the changes will not just be skin-deep. We’ll be celebrating our 10th Anniversary in December, and it’s going to be a fun year. Keep your eyes on @cuppingroom.hk and join us for the journey!
If I wasn’t working in the coffee industry, I would want to be a _____________.
Pilot (though that might not be the best career move at the moment).