Brenton Brownell has carried a heavy burden all these years by harbouring one of Hong Kong's best-kept secrets. To ease his conscience, he has finally decided to come clean and share it with the city's coffee lovers, or at least the cheapskates who never venture into a Cova or even a Starbucks for a cuppa.
I include a picture of Mr Brownell in case McDonald's ever wants to impose a lifetime ban on one of its most loyal customers, who is the only person I know of who celebrates its coffee.
"I live in Disco Bay and just love McDonald's coffee in the morning. My stomach is pretty weak so the more established coffee house brands make my insides gurgle," he wrote. "Each morning at around 8.30am I buy my coffee with my Octopus card for HK$7.80. This single cup of coffee is a perfect starter as it lets me get through the SCMP while slowly sipping during my ride to Central on the ferry.
Then, when I get to Pier 3, I promptly march up the stairs, across the covered walkway and into the IFC. Once in IFC's main forum, I make a left and head to the McDonald's and to the head of the line.
"With a smile and saying `More coffee please!', someone in the attentive staff drops whatever they are doing, pours my refill and snaps a new lid on to boot. After a smiling `Thank you', I hoof it to my office in Sheung Wan, while peeling the tab and sipping the fresh brew.
"When I'm at my desk, I browse through the day's e-mails and try to answer those not requiring much attention. But when 15 minutes has passed and I notice my coffee is again low, I jump in the lift and hit another McDonald's around the corner for another free refill.
"The reason I'm letting folks in on this little trick is I'm starting to feel kind of guilty for having been doing this for so many years. If you should consider doing the same, please keep a lid on it so McDonald's doesn't put a tracking system on their cups!"
It boils down to HK$2.60 a cuppa.
LoDown SCMP 27 Jan 07