Jihye Chang

January 2010

Dropp Organic Cafe in Seoul

droppschreierSeoul is bursting with many artsy coffee boutiques. Hand-drip coffee is still the most favored method for drip coffee, and more and more small batch coffee roastery and cafes armed with Clover machine and top line espresso machines (La Marzocco and Dalla Corte are favored) are popping up everywhere. There are some really fantastic cafes and roasters, but many of them are just following the “trend” to make money. I feel as though about half of them will not exist the next time I visit Korea.

Anyways. Buam-dong is the “Seo-rae-maul” of the Gangbook (northern part of the Han River). There are so many little coffee shops and restaurants in this quiet area near Bookak mountain. Club espresso began the trend a few years back, but that coffee shop has lost its touch. Instead I found a newer gem called “Dropp” – a cafe near the Buam-dong office with minimal decoration and sophisticated atmosphere that serves small batch roasted organic coffee.

Young baristas working here seem to be very well trained, and I really loved their espresso macchiato. Silky smooth, sweet, and well balanced. Their drip coffee is also superb.

To go here: Take the subway line #3 (orange line). Get off at the “Gyungbok-gung” station. Go out exit # 3. Walk about 10 meter, and then wait for a bus. Take bus 7022, 7018, 0212,1020 and take off in front of the Buam dong office. The Dropp is on the right side of the three way fork, and it’s near the “Bom” photography shop.

Photo courtesy of Jinho Kim (blog.naver.com/schreier)

Favorite Espresso bean (for now) – Belle from Klatch

belle1

belle

Last year I stumbled upon the “Belle” espresso by a micro-roastery in California while browsing the internet. There was a “coffee guru” guy (Kenneth Davids) and his website called “coffeereview.com” and the Belle espresso beans from the Klatch Coffee in CA got the highest ever score (94 points) by him. Davids described the bean as ”

Woops. I think I posted it before it was finished..! I can fix it on my blog, but not on this page..so here it goes:

“Intense aroma: brandy, chocolate, caramel. In the small cup medium in body but smooth in mouthfeel, crisply pungent yet caramelly sweet, with a tightly knit, understated complexity: brandy, caramel, cedar and flowers, hints of See Morewhich persist in the roundly rich finish. Masters milk with a gentle, brandied chocolate authority.”

So I ordered just to see how good it was and it turned out to be the best choice for my Ascaso machine. Ever since I bought that machine in 2006, I have used many different kinds of beans – Intelligentsia’s Black Cat, Barrington Coffee Roasting company’s Gold espresso, Peet’s, Gimme! Coffee’s Leftist, Counter Culture’s Toscano and Rustico, Batdorf & Goodman’s, etc. So far the Toscano from Counter Culture was my favorite, but this one provided a bit more depth and body than the Toscano. (Also the price and the shipping method used to be nicer.) It really tastes like chocolate and brandy, with really sweet smell of caramel.

The package used to look like the picture on the right side – now they have changed the packaging and their website outlook. Sure, the bag looks more modernized, and the website has a lot of useful information and cool facts about the company. The sad thing is that the price changed (upward), too. The Belle used to cost $12.95 for 1lb (about 450g), but now 12oz (350g) costs $11.95, which is similar to the Counter Culture Coffee’s pricing. Klatch still ships via USPS, and it’s much better than the usual UPS ground shipping.

Next beans to try are – Stumptown Hair Bender and Terroir. 🙂