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Cafe Society: A cup of history at the island’s original coffee roaster Hock Hoe Lee

Cafe Society: A cup of history at the island’s original coffee roaster Hock Hoe Lee

A charming coffee shop located on Wiset Road heading south to Rawai, Hock Hoe Lee is a popular favourite amongst expats and locals in the neighbourhood as well as with tourists. Well known for its robust coffee drinks, the brand has a long, interesting history.

Community
By Amy Bensema

Saturday 26 October 2019, 10:00AM


Hock Hoe Lee was founded in 1958 by Cheng Long, a Chinese immigrant to the island. The original store was located next to Phuket Town’s fresh market. Cheng Long first started selling fresh roasted coffee to workers of the tin mining industry, but word about his “magic coffee bean” soon spread, and the coffee quickly became a favourite amongst Phuketians.

Flash forward a decade to the late 1960s when Ko Boon, the eldest son of the family, began producing tea using Ceylon tea leaves. Much like the coffee, the tea rapidly became popular with the local people.

The development of the Hock Hoe Lee brand continued, and 40 years later, Ja Ea, the eldest daughter of Ko Boon, started roasting espresso coffee. Her efforts evolved into a modern-day coffee business. Today, the legacy of Cheng Long lives on in the full-bodied coffee that is served at Hock Hoe Lee.

The shop has been a favourite of mine for a very long time. The ambience is nice, the staff are welcoming and friendly, and the coffee is rich and strong. There are a variety of coffee drinks available on the menu, including the normal favourites such as Americano and espresso, as well as bottled cold brew coffee. Whole beans and grounded coffee are available to buy on-site, and I must say that the packaged organic coffee is some of the best that I have ever had.

Hock Hoe Lee recently revamped their menu, and it includes many all-day breakfast favourites such as omelettes, eggs Benedict, baked egg skillets, muesli bowls and a variety of sandwiches. For those with a sweet tooth, there are a wide variety of baked pancakes to choose from. If coffee isn’t your drink, make sure to try the cold-pressed juices which are made fresh daily with local fruits and vegetables.

Innovation drives the team behind Hock Hoe Lee, and they are always striving to find better ways of doing things, whether it be reducing plastic within their shop, roasting unique coffee beans together for distinct flavours or serving up an array of interestingly crafted coffee drinks.

tile-it - Phuket’s Quality Tile Boutique

The shop will soon start selling biograde aluminium foil coffee capsules with their signature coffee inside, which is sure to please those who adore the convenience of coffee capsules and pods but without the unnecessary plastic waste.

Hock Hoe Lee features indoor seating as well as a cozy outdoor terrace surrounded by lush greenery. It truly is a great place to sit and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. The shop is open daily from 8am until 5:30pm.

To learn more about the history of Hock Hoe Lee, visit www.hockhoelee.com where it’s also possible to buy coffee online at their webstore. Follow along on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HockHoeLee for the latest updates in the shop, including specials and new products.


Written by Amy Bensema, Cafe Society is a monthly column which chronicles one girl’s search for the perfect cup of coffee. Have a cafe to recommend? Contact Amy via email at bensema.amy@gmail.com or follow her caffeinated adventures as @phukestagram on Instagram.

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