In hopes of attracting more like-minded coffee geeks, brothers Ko Tae-young and Ko Young-soo have expanded to Seoul’s Sinsa-dong with Vinter Coffee Bar, which soft-opened in late November and features five single-origin coffees roasted by the brothers themselves.
“We wanted to focus on coffee,” said Tae-young, 32, of their newest perch.
Brothers Ko Tae-young (right) and Ko Young-soo put the spotlight on small-batch brews at Vinter Coffee Bar. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
The brothers started roasting coffee as a hobby and gifting it to peers. Their hobby blossomed into a business with the opening of Vinter Coffee Roasters in the summer of 2015 in Seoul’s Dunchon-dong.
Vinter Coffee Roasters is still the heart of their operations, where blends and single-origin coffee are roasted with the aim of providing cafegoers with brews that showcase what Tae-young refers to as a “clean” flavor profile.
A second location opened in Seoul’s Gil-dong in 2016.
In the meantime, Tae-young and Young-soo were itching to further experiment with single-origin coffee, to see what brews would emerge from various beans sourced from one farm and also what differences would emerge when comparing the same varietal sourced from different farms, Tae-young explained.
The brothers also wanted a space that would spotlight their single-origin brews. The idea for Vinter Coffee Bar was born.
Sporting a washed burgundy exterior and antique lettering, Vinter Coffee Bar has 14 seats in a minimal space with warm walls the color of adobe bricks.
All the brewing magic happens at an L-shaped bar the color of soft caramel, located in the back of the space.
Vinter Coffee Bar features five single-origin coffees roasted by the brothers themselves and sold as pour-over coffee. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Coffee geeks can vie for the two seats located right where baristas brew pour-over coffee. If there are not too many cafegoers around, they might even be able to convince the barista on deck for a whiff of the freshly-ground beans before the brewing process begins.
Single-origin roasts like Columbia El Paraiso Maracuya land strong and bold on the palate with acidic notes of lemon peel and an end note of cinnamon before quickly tapering off into a clean finish.
Other roasts like Nicaragua Finca Libre unfurl a delicate floral bouquet before transitioning into a juicy finish reminiscent of yellow peaches and nectarines.
Both brothers roast the beans for Vinter and have their own preferences when it comes to flavors.
Tae-young likes stone fruits like peaches, while Young-soo, 30, prefers the acidity from berries.
The duo, however, agree on the overarching flavor profile for their brews, which Tae-young describes as coffee that balances acidity and sweetness.
“We go for coffee that tastes clean and has clear characteristics,” said Tae-young.
Vinter Coffee Bar plans to continue showcasing new brews. According to Tae-young, its single-origin coffee lineup will change every month.
Vinter Coffee Bar soft-opened in late November in Seoul’s Sinsa-dong. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Vinter Coffee Bar
101, 524 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Single-origin, pour-over coffee costs 5,000 won to 7,000 won, espresso-based coffee costs 3,500 won to 5,000 won
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org