Seoul’s Must Try Latte Trends

Seoul was the host city of the 2017 World Barista Championship competition as well as the World Aero Press competition. It was a real pinch me is this really happening moment for me when I got to interview the winner – read the article here.

Seoul was named the World Design Capital Of The World in 2010. So you can only imagine what happens when you merge innovative creativity with world class coffee… A CAFE BOOM!

Here is the YOUTUBE Vlog. You can find the full article, below the video.

 

Many of the competitors as well as the attendees commented on the vast and developed coffee scene in South Korea. To be honest, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I moved to Seoul. To be tempted and indulged by this city’s best baristas, it’s the dream of a coffee lover come true! I desperately wanted to be part of the boom (coffee is my one weakness) and report on it via video and film.

Fast forward a few years, and I am still witnessing just how incredibly creative the coffee scene is in South Korea. I’ve spent the last 2 months (NO JOKES) researching and visiting some of the hottest cafes and trying out their coffees.  So many cafes in Seoul are offering innovative and uniquely Korean coffees. Cafe owners are infusing Korea’s history and traditions with the modern and the new. In every aspect of life and culture, it’s a fascinating melting pot of old and new. The quality of a Seoul’s cafes reveals much about its inhabitants –the importance of their traditions and their openness to new ideas.

Here is a list of the lattes that you MUST try when in Seoul.

First on the list is a fusion style latte; it incorporates a traditional Korean drink that has made a very big come back.

Grain latte,구곡라떼, or, 미숫가루; “Misutgaru”. If you’ve ever tried Horlicks, it’s similar in texture and flavour. It’s a comforting beverage. 

Misu is made of glutinous rice and other ingredients such as barley, brown rice, black rice, black soybeans, corn, white bean, millet, and sesame seeds, which are ground, roasted and mixed together. This latte is a non espresso based drink. It’s super refreshing in summer when served with ice, but equally comforting when served hot in winter. It’s enjoyed as a “diet drink” in Korea, as it is high in protein, but low in calories.

The P’ter, located in Jung-Gu, has a 5-grain latte on their menu. The cafe itself is a perfect amalgamation of traditional Korean style and contemporary technology. 

Adress: 63 Hwangin-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul (Shindang Station)

Open: Mon-Sat 11am- 10pm

Instagram page: The P’ter

 

 

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Next on my list is an espresso based drink, the Black Latte.

Korea not only has an ever-growing number of “cool” cafes, there are also many established chain cafes, one of which is A Twosome place (TSP). I barely visit these chain cafes, as my concern is that you skip out on the quality for the quantity. However, A Twosome place has now opened a “Premium Cafe” in the heart of Itaewon. TSP 737’s counter top brims with some of the world’s best coffee equipment. Add equipments name. Their menu offers unique espresso and no espresso based drinks. They even have a coffee and spirits menu. The extensive menu boasts the following categories; Espresso black, espresso white, espresso fun, espresso booze.

I was curious about the black latte (in the espresso fun category). It’s a latte infused with black sesame. It appears black when served, and you pour your shot of espresso into it. I was worried that it would be just another sickly sweet flavoured latte, but the taste was nutty and only slightly sweet. The espresso is a bold one, which pairs well with the sesame.

If you have a sweet tooth you have two reasons to visit TSP 737, they have loads of pastries as well as unique coffee on offer.

Yongsan-Gu, Han nam-Dong, 737-37 (next to the Itaewon International Clinic | Open every day. Sun-Thurs 08:00-23:00 Friday and Sat 8:00-24:00 | Instagram : @tsp_coffeevibes 

Black Latte

 

 

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Espresso Ale

Nutty Chocolate Latte

 

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Next on the list is a non espresso based drink. I stumbled upon it when I read a menu and recognised a word that I’d seen in a medical market, “” pronounced Ssuk. This green leafy herb is used in soups, salads and most likely the emerald green rice cakes you see in Korea. In the English world we call it Mugwort. Mugwort has a long history in Korea and is believed to have a multitude of medicinal properties. So, I was vastly intrigued when a very hip cafe added this to their menu. At first sip, it reminded me of a matcha latte, just a little more grassy and fragrant.

Center coffee offers Ssuk lattes at all three of their cafes. Be sure to try this and sip on a piece of modern and historic Korea.

Center coffee has three locations. Seoul Forest,Myeongdeong and Samseong. Instagram for address of each


 

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The next espresso-based latte is, in my opinion, probably the most delicious and addictive… a Peanut butter latte. (I’m nuts about all things nutty). Somehow, J Hidden House has managed to combine the deliciousness of peanut butter and espresso without either one overpowering the other. There are no chunky bits, just smooth and creamy yumminess. The VERY impressive Victoria Arduino ‘Adonis’ espresso machine (valued at about $14,000!) sits impressively on the counter top. The cafe is housed in a beautifully restored Hanok style house (built in 1915) and is conveniently only steps away from Dongdaemun station. Fairy lights and bamboo add to the Zen experience in the beautiful courtyard. The carefully crafted menu reflects a creative balance of traditional Korean with the International. Sublime Jeju croissants are made from the finest quality French butter. Yummy! And, if that’s not enough to get you drooling, the croissant is then topped with green tea powder from Jeju Island. Can it get more exotic than this?

Address: 94 Jongno 6-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul | Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Tues – Thurs), 10am – 10pm (Fri – Sun). Closed On Mondays. | Website: www.jhiddenhouse.com | Instagram: @j.hiddenhouse

South Korea is fondly called the ‘Land Of The Morning Calm’, for so many good reasons. For me, all is calm each morning after a good latte, and it doesn’t get any better, I’m sure, than the lattes brewed right here in Seoul.

 

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