STORY

From tin mining workers to upscale hotel and restaurants.
Over 50 years of coffee roasting for 3 generations. There is an amazing story.


HISTORY

It was dated back to 1950s when Cheng Long, a chinese immigrant fleeing from China, settled his life on Phuket island. Where the main industry in Phuket was tin mining, Cheng Long with his knowledge how to roast a coffee saw an opportunity and finally found his own shop in 1958 and named it "Hock Hoe Lee", located in Phuket town next to fresh market.

The coffee was mainly sold to workers which the drink itself is very well known among mining workers as an energy boost. And later, when words of mouth spread, his coffee was famous among restaurants too. Cheng Long's coffee firstly relied on coffee bean supply shipped from Penang, Malaysia. Later when transportation was more accessible he started to use coffee bean from southern province of the country which was closer to Phuket.

'Ko Boon', Cheng Long first son, continued his farther business. Boon was familiar with coffee roasting since he was young. In Phuket town, Boon's reputaion as King of Coffee is not far from truth due to his exceptional coffee roasting skill which he has been mastering for decades. While Hock Hoe Lee coffee was at top of the chart, like his farther, he saw a new opportunity expanding his family business. Boon started applying Ceylon tea leaf and other teas to make his signature tea. Boon's Phuket(Thai) tea is famous across an island thanks to its strong aroma and distinctive taste.

Like other business, not all is about success. There is a difficult time as well. In late 2000s, demand of traditional coffee was slowing while modern(western) coffee was becoming more popular. It was the time Boon's first daughter, 'Jaea' studying master degree in electrical engineering in Los Angeles, California USA.

'Oh', Boon's son in law who married his first daughter, took part in Hock Hoe Lee business and branch out to set up another coffee business. In 2010, Oh and Jaea have started roasting espresso coffee. Setting up new shop in Rawai, south of island, it is the second shop for Hock Hoe Lee. The feedback was poor at first as it confused many customers, later it has been gaining more and more momentum as people get to know Oh's coffee. In 2013 Oh built a small roasting factory behind the coffee shop to answer a steady growing demand. To this date, Hock Hoe Lee has been supplying quality coffee & tea to numerous shops across the island. Its coffee contributes into millions of cup of coffee to locals, guests, tourists, everywhere on island.

CONCEPT

Hock Hoe Lee coffee is purposely made for Phuket. Hock Hoe Lee coffee gravitates to buyers and other coffee drinkers who looks for an appealing local identity presenting in an preserved-traditional style with an exceptional high standard quality. To achieve this goal, all signature coffee are made of domestic coffee beans; one is grown from far north and the other is right next to the island. Its taste will comprise of a smoothly gently touch from arabica bean and an eartly feel from robusta bean.

Phuketians are known to drink dark roast coffee, whether drink with sweeten condensed milk or with pure fresh milk. Hence to present Phuket living culture, we decide to apply a little dark roast to our signature coffee. The most important thing of Hock Hoe Lee coffee is that it has to be able to capture Phuket's identity, maintain an familiar & accessible taste to most if not all coffee drinkers.


The logo we use is not something randomly coming up. Instead it is the final version out of intensively iterations. The chinese boat represents key facts; it's how Hock Hoe Lee founder arrives the island. Also the mean to transport raw coffee bean and goods. The boat itself in chino-thai culture also means wealth, well-being and prosperous. The curve waves, on top and below, represents how business has changed, successed thru decades of 3 generations.







PRESS ARCHIVE


CNN Travel

"Phuket's 7 coolest cafes and coffee shops"

5 April 2013, Famous for its sun, surf, skin and sin, Phuket is home to a growing collection of great little hangouts
click to read more


Lonely Planet Traveller Thailand

"Made in Phuket"

Issue April 2013, แน่ใจหรือว่ารู้จักไข่มุกแห่งอันดามันเม็ดนี้ดีพอ เรามาสำรวจภูเก็ตมุมใหม่ไปพร้อมๆกันดีกว่า


epicure

"The Perfect Roast"

Issue January 2013, Phuket's original coffee gets an updated boost by founder's granddaughter


Phuket Bulletin

"Special report: Coffee, The ever pleasant aroma"

Issue December 2011, รายงานพิเศษ : กาแฟ สุนทรีย์แห่งความหอมที่ยังอบอวน


FAHTHAI

"Brew Horizon"

Issue July 2014, Fine coffee is available across Thailand




Phuket News
"The Perfect Roast"

by Simon Ostheimer
Before too long, Cheng Long (who later on would take on a Thai surname, Tanpacharapisuit) was the king of Phuket coffee, his roasted beans – which he made every day to ensure quality – supplying restaurants and streetside vendors across the island. The sacks bore the simple yet proud stamp “A1” (there are actually three ‘A1’: the best, good and normal).