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From Korea, with love.

As a Barista, i think communication is a vital skill. Not only between customers but with other Baristas. This can also be translated to networking, knowing other Baristas will lets you experience and learn other areas unexplored by ones self.

The reason i have mentioned this is because, i myself have gained many benifits from networking with other Baristas in London and around the world.

Recently, i had the chance to trade coffee(Square mile for Jong Hoon’s coffee)  with my other fellow Korean Barista: Jong Hoon Lee. Many of you might already know him. He was one of  finalist in WBC 2009, he has proven to the world of his talents and recently has decided to open a espresso bar in Seoul, Korea.

Jong Hoon roasts his own beans, making his own blend for espresso and cappucino, he does not hold back on the components used in his blends, he uses cup of excellence coffees as his components which is rare in Korea. Korean cafes tend to go for average quality beans to produce one of many mediocre blends.

Today at work( Taylor st Baristas, Bank site) , i dialled in the espresso blend Jong hoon sent over which arrived 2 days ago. The components of the blend are just below:

40% Brazil Fazenda Passagem Funda COE 2009 # 7

Variety: Catuai

Process: Pulped natural

50% Guatemala Alfonso Anzueto - Isnul COE 2009 # 13

Variety: Pacamara

Process: Sun and dryer

10% Kenya AA Peaberry Mchana Estate

Variety: Bourbon

Process: Fully washed and sun dried

As you can see it consists of 3 different types of beans. Honestly i thought it would be the same old case where, Brazilians giving body and sweetness, Guatemalans with balanced sweet acidity and Kenyan for the extra fruit and juciness. I was wrong( always the case) big time, this espresso blend was like no other. It was explosive in the mouth, gentle on the nose and so smooth and juicy on the pallates. I could taste and feel how much time and effort Jong hoon had put in.  I was able to  taste the love.

The blend was dialled in using a Synesso Hydra, this is what i did:

Dose: 20~21g

Temp: 95 C

Pre-infusion: Yes, 5 sec

Extraction time: 23 sec excluding P.I

Brew weight: 30g

Extraction yield: 66%

Aroma notes: Lemon tea with honey

Taste notes: Pleasent bright acidity upfront, notes of blood orange and red berries, hint of white grapes. Gives way to muscovado sugars and sweet chocolate finish, hint of 'Terry's chocolate orange' aftertaste.

Body and mouth feel: Extreamly juicy and light  body with almost silky, refreshing mouthfeel

It tasted brilliantly, everyone liked it, every single person told me how much they have enjoyed it. Also i decided that,all the money from selling espresso from this blend was going towards the charity 'Coffee kids'. It was pleasing to see people enjoying the coffee and doing good deeds towards the coffee industry.

I’m sure i’m not the only one networking with other Baristas oversea, i just wanted to tell you guys the benifit of having a blend from another country, sure UK has excellent choice of beans to chose from, but as a Barista, we should teach our customers about coffees outside of UK and how it differs between them, and learn how we can improve what we already have.

It was an honor having Jong Hoon’s blend in the hopper today, and i’m sure it won’t be the last. I also think Jong Hoon should get lots of credit for what he does in the Korean specialty coffee industry, he has improved the quality of coffee in Korea vastly, i believe. I’m sure his start on improving the quality, rather than quantity will act as a catalyst among the specialty coffee industry, and will continue further more.

Well done Barista Jong Hoon Lee, well done Republic of coffee.

Once again Jong Hoon, thank you for the lovely coffees from Korea, with love.