Alving Cheng: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #69

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Alving Cheng: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #69

Coffee Insurrection
Published by Tanya in Coffee Insurrection Hero · 27 April 2023
Tags: Alvin_ChengSpecialty_CoffeeHong_KongAsia
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.

Hello my name is Alvin, I live in Hong Kong. I’m self-employed and also do freelance marketing among other things. Many people call me a social media influencer, although I consider myself to be more than that. I’m a passionate coffee enthusiast fortunate to have built a good reputation based on honesty and directness. I also have a strong global network of coffee friends from varying fields, and the ability to help connect these people using my unique relationships.

2- When and why did coffee become important to you?
I believe it was back in 2008 when I first heard the term “specialty coffee” which got me very curious and interested. Before that, coffee was just another beverage for me.
3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?
Wow it’s been many years, but I believe it was an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe that truly opened my mind and palate back then. Up until now, I always make sure to have a bag or two on regular rotation. I love their jasmine florals, sweet and bright citrus notes and juicy light body.
4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?
Being self-employed, my work schedule is quite flexible. This allows me more time to discover about different coffees and processes, producers, roasters and brewing methods. Choosing which coffee and brew method each morning is always a fun challenge.
5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?
My long time favourite is the Aeropress for its versatility and ease of use. I’ve brewed with the Aeropress in planes, trains and outdoors. I also competed twice in our Hong Kong Aeropress championships before. As much as I love the Aeropress, I do constantly rotate between different to try to unlock more from my coffees. Some of the brewers I’ve been enjoying as well are Kōno, MK Dripper, Orea and Tricolate.
6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?
That’s a difficult question… I’ve had many mind blowing coffees over the years it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two. Perhaps may I say this instead, many of the amazing coffees that’s really impressed me have been from Panama. To be more precise, the Gesha / Geisha variety grown and produced in Panama are some of the best coffees I’ve had. What makes these coffees even more special to me are the personal relationships that I have with some of these wonderful producers.

Alvin Cheng
7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?
As I have mentioned above, Panama has some amazingly good coffees produced by talented and passionate producers. They are blessed with fertile volcanic soil, high altitudes and great micro-climates. The biggest and most important coffee event in the country each year is the famed Best of Panama competition. Winning coffees have consistently set record prices at this coveted competition.
8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).

. They are one of my favourite Nordic roasters who I truly admire, for their ethos and consistently good coffees.

9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?
A good and honest relationship in any business is very important to have. Building a strong relationship takes time and trust from both parties.
10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?
Covid has definitely affected many around the globe. I am fortunate to not have been affected as much since I’m self-employed and have various work interests. I do miss the way it was before Covid, the freedom and less worries about catching something nasty. I think the industry will be fine since most countries have now relaxed or even scrapped restrictions. Better days ahead!
11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?
I think the specialty coffee scene will continue to evolve and improve in terms of farm level all the way to consumer level. However, I hope the trend for overly processed coffees will end by then so that more focus on variety, origin and terroir characteristics return.
12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I’ll be happily travelling and visiting my producer friends in Panama, Colombia, Ethiopia, etc Travelling to origin is on my bucket list.
13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that want to start this path?
Stay honest and be yourself. Do the things you love, enjoy the moment and try to make a positive impact to make a lasting impression on others.

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