Yes! I didn't know that either. A coffee revolution is underway on Lantau and a quiet, unassuming man named Ringo Lam is leading the way.
It all started, as these things seem to do, as a passion project. Back in 2017 Ringo started to home-roast his own beans. His love for roasting grew and he began to travel the world driven by his 'thirst' for more information. Trips to coffee roasters and growers in San Francisco, Taiwan and even Panama lead an inspired Ringo to return to Hong Kong with this knowledge which he is now imparting into future generations of coffee lovers.
When I visited Ringo, he was finishing up lunch with his little team - an apprentice, staff member Mabel and her daughter Balla; the youngest LCC team member. Mabel works with Ringo around school hours, bringing Bella back to the roastery after school. I've never heard a 5 year old talk about Guatemalan coffee beans or how and when to pick for the best quality. It's absolutely brilliant.
Not before long, Ringo had grown LCC into an established business. From here he started to create his own blends with beans from the known coffee regions of Guatemala, Brazil, Peru and Ethiopia, but also less established regions like Yemen, Tanzania and and Papua New Guinea. He prefers to buy direct from the source so he can guarantee provenance and guarantee the back story. "Sourcing the beans directly from the farmers means we can guarantee traceability, but also makes sure the beans are picked ethically," he tells me. All the tubs dotted around the Mui Wo roastery have barcodes. "These have all the information about all the beans; that batch of coffee's DNA," he laughs.
A quick scan of a QR code revels a picture of the farmer and their name, tasting notes (strawberry jam, sweet almond liqueur balanced by dark chocolate...) some details about the growing conditions, the history of the coffee plantation, their growing techniques... Its endless, and very impressive. Ringo's background is in I.T, so this starts to make sense.
Ringo's roasted LCC coffee has been such a success he now runs tasting classes, workshops and, believe it or not, is starting a coffee festival in Cheung Cha, not to mention his own Lantau plantation.
"Bella (the 5 year old) has helped Ringo pick the beans," Mabel tells me. "That's why she's got all this knowledge." They'll need help picking again in September when the next batch of beans will be ready for harvest. "Not the green or yellow ones," Bella tells me, "They're not ready yet." Got it. Thanks kid.
Ringo runs coffee tastings where you get to taste up to 10+ different coffee blends, including, oddly, ones that taste like tea! The tastings are usually $50 per person for an hour tasting, but Ringo has kindly offered to give IslanderHK readers a deal so it's buy one and take a friend for free. Thanks Ringo! Use code IslanderHK when enquiring.
Ringo and LCC also offers an exciting camping coffee workshop combining roasting information, knowledge surrounding farming of the bean plants and also in depth workshops. "It's just like a mini SCA coffee roasting foundation module in Hong Kong." Says Ringo. The next one is 27/28 January. I highly recommend you meet Ringo and his team. Their knowledge is fascinating even to someone like me who isn't a 'coffee person'. Their coffee is delicious, you get to support local (both home and away) and it all smells so good! Thanks for what you're doing Ringo. You're a star! (Sorry!)
+852 9218 2119
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Address
LCC - 19 Chung Hau St, Mui Wo Lantau Island, Hong Kong