For Sam Chan, co-founder of NOC Coffee Co., the search for the perfect cup of coffee is an art form and a science. He works to hone his belief, lifestyle and values into everything he does – bringing minimalism, sustainability and calm to the city. As a championship-winning barista and co-owner of one of Hong Kong’s favourite coffee shops, Sam manages his business and his personal life with intention, clarity and, of course, a little kick of caffeine.
I’ve always wanted to open my own coffee shop. It’s been six years since it all began and coffee is still my passion. I enjoy every step of curating the perfect cup of coffee for my customers, from cherry- picking the best seasonal green beans to cupping, roasting, and brewing. I work closely with my team of roasters and baristas to bring out the best. In my downtime, I work out, hang out at other coffee shops in town, or wind down at home with my wife and our two adopted cats.
I’m kind of an introvert. When people first meet me they usually think I’m quiet and timid, but once you get to know me, I’m actually really chatty. I enjoy goofing around and making other people happy.
My wife. She’s the person that I enjoy having my coffee with the most.
Minimalism is living with less and enjoying freedom from modern mania. When you are a minimalist, you prioritise clarity, purpose and intentionality in life. When you give more thought to your lifestyle, it helps you make better choices as a consumer and a human being. You begin to dedicate your time, money and energy to what really matters. I manage by giving myself more time to think, whether it’s what I buy or what I do to help me achieve what I want out of life. Helping the environment is very important to me. I have been vegan for 14 months now and I only purchase items that I really need. I haven’t felt this good in a really long time. It aligns with my values and it also definitely helps me better manage my finances.
Following your passion can be daunting but remember that you are not alone, and that you can’t do it all by yourself. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek help and advice from people around you. You’ll go further and faster when you team up with others and form a supportive circle that shares the same goals as you.
Much like myself when I was younger, many passionate, young baristas in the industry dream of owning their own shop someday. But from my observation, many of them haven’t quite understood how important financial planning is if they want to make their dreams come true. If you’re interested in opening your own coffee shop, it’s better value for money if you invest in good coffee equipment on day one. You will need more money than you think when you start off. My advice is to look into the initial capital you will need for your shop, keep track of where your money goes, save and look into different investment tools that can help you grow your savings.
When I took part in the Barista Championship back in 2011, I was under a lot of stress. I overcame by praying and focusing on the practice of intentionality. I focused on the rehearsal sessions I had one day at a time, instead of obsessing over whether I would win. This was how I managed to stay calm and eventually win the championship.
When I first started NOC, I spent most of my time at work brewing and serving coffee and interacting with customers. As NOC grows, I find myself spending more of my time working and interacting with our team of roasters and baristas. I feel that my role has transformed from a barista into a mentor. Every day, I’m excited to share my knowledge and past experience with passionate young people. I look forward to witnessing their growth and congratulating them when they open their own coffee shops someday.
Growing up, I believed money was…
something I could exchange for virtual weapons on my mobile games.
Now, I view money as…
a tool that is essential for myself and other baristas to open our own shops and serve delicious coffee to customers.
To me, financial empowerment means…
keeping track of and being intentional in what I earn and spend.
My favourite Mox feature is…
monitoring real-time account activity and balance with instant categorisation.
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Remarks: The views expressed by individuals featured in this interview are the personal views of such individuals and do not necessarily reflect, and, should not be taken as the views of Mox Bank Limited.
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