The ongoing situation in Hong Kong hasn’t been the most ideal for business owners in the city, but fortunately for Moses Chan, his cafe Blooms Coffee, which recently opened at the swanky K11 Musea mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, has been doing quite well.
In fact, things have been much better than he thought, especially for a budding enterprise. “I honestly expected it to not be so busy, but since the day of our soft launch, there have been queues for hours, which makes me feel bad,” said the actor, who was in town with Hong Kong actress Ali Lee and Taiwanese actor Derek Chang for a meet-and-greet session as part of promo activities for StarHub Night of Stars 2019.
While having such a famous lou ban - especially one who drops by whenever he can - might play a part in drawing such an impressive crowd, the 48-year-old modestly refrained from taking all the credit for his caffeine joint’s success.
“It’s in a new shopping centre with not many cafes, the coffee is okay, the prices are friendly, and it’s a pretty nice place, if I’m being honest,” he mused. “So if you take all these factors into consideration, perhaps that’s why there are so many people lining up for my brand.”
That said, business hasn’t exactly been unaffected by the protests either, albeit in a more indirect way. “People in Hong Kong don’t really want to go out at night these days, and sometimes the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) closes early, so the number of visitors drops significantly after around 6pm,” he said. “But things are normal during the day.”
Unlike some other celebs who just lend their face and name to a product, Moses is extremely hands-on. For instance, he personally acts as the cafe’s trouble-shooter.
“When you own a business, it’s all about solving problems,” he said. “If a customer says something doesn’t taste good, I will go down to the shop and try every drink on the list until I find out what the issue is. The coffee business is very competitive, so it’s important to make your customers happy, but of course you have to judge whether a comment is rational or not.”
Wow, talk about being a dedicated boss. So then, we wonder out loud, what’s the most coffee Moses has consumed in a day?
With a chuckle - and presumably some unpleasant memories flooding back - he shared that since he has to taste-test the brew from his own brand, also called Blooms, he’s had to drink so much that it has generated some not-so-fun-sounding side effects.
“Sometimes, [drinking too much coffee] can give you a tummy ache, bad breath, and make you feel so sick that you want to vomit,” he reported. Still, the dedicated “Coffee Prince” (as some fans have fondly dubbed him) seems unfazed by the unfortunate by-product of his passion.
When Moses isn’t checking up on his F&B baby, he is, of course, focusing on his day job as an actor. After a two-year hiatus, he will be returning to the small screen with two upcoming TVB productions, Death by Zero and Amelia’s Rhapsody, both of which also star Ali.
With the latter being a comedy, Moses was completely in his element. “At first I thought it would be a challenge trying to approach the drama in a fresh way because I’ve worked with the producer for a decade and with Ali for quite a few times as well, but luckily, it was a comedy, which is kinda my thing, so it was easy for me to pull it off,” he said. “There were a lot of chances for me to improvise and explore the craziness I have inside me.”
Craziness? Really? “Usually I look kind of mellow on the outside, but actually, I have a crazy mind!” he guffawed. “I just have to pull it out from time to time, but in a controlled manner. Comedy is not easy: you can’t overplay or underplay it - it has to be just right. But I guess it’s easy for me because I always see myself as a joke. (Laughs)”
Jokes aside, there will also be some romance between Moses and Ali in Amelia’s Rhapsody. “I don’t want to give away too much, but the producer did a really good job in making our relationship different from the other dramas we did before,” he teased.
When asked if his wife, actress Aimee Chan, had anything to say about his onscreen love affair, Moses assured that he always tells her whenever he has any “kissing or love scenes” with other women.
“She’s an actress too, and I would support her all the way as well because I want her to be worry-free and do her job well,” he explained. “If you’re kissing [someone for a show], you shouldn’t fake it, because it’s an actor’s job to convince the audience that it’s real. She does the same thing to me anyway! (Laughs)”