Coffee fiends can order espresso variations or pour-over coffee to-go or in-house at the new roaster-cafe after selecting one of the blends or single-origin beans available. (Danil Seoul)
To agitate or not to agitate -- that is the question that baristas perfecting their pour-over coffee may find themselves asking at one point in their careers.
At Danil Seoul, the answer is a resounding yes as one will discover watching a small spoon being used to stir the coffee grounds during the extraction process.
“There are several reasons we use a spoon,” Danil Seoul roasters Ahn Sung-min, 34, and Lee Jae-woo, 29, explained in an e-mail interview.
At Danil Seoul, all pour-over coffee is agitated during the extraction process. (Danil Seoul)
“First, it eradicates clumps in the ground coffee for an even extraction. Second, it facilitates extraction. Third, it sends the smallest particles of the ground coffee to the surface for a smooth extraction and reduces the time coffee is in contact with water which reduces bitterness,” Ahn and Lee explained their thinking behind this approach.
Amongst coffee aficionados, this is one of many ways to achieve “agitation,” which is essentially when the grounds are disturbed or agitated with a spoon or by shaking the dripper or by using a specially designed tool, with the goal of achieving a better brew.
Fans of agitation generally praise it for enabling a more uniform extraction by making sure all the grounds are evenly wet and by preventing “fines,” the smallest particles of the ground coffee, from settling at the bottom of the filter and thereby impeding the extraction process.
Not everyone is a fan of agitation and those who prefer to leave the grounds undisturbed may opt to do so in the belief that agitation results in an inconsistent or an over-extracted brew.
For those who prefer agitation, there are a diverse range of specially-designed tools and methods available.
At Danil Seoul, the small spoon in the center is not just there for decoration it is their weapon of choice when extracting an “agitated” brew. (Danil Seoul)
At Danil, the spoon is their weapon of choice.
“When we extract coffee via a filter, we use a spoon,” Ahn and Lee said that agitation is used for all of their pour-over coffee.
So what do the “agitated” pour-over brews at Danil taste like?
With beans hailing from Costa Rica Monte Copey El Halcon, the resulting brew is strong but smooth.
There is the bitterness that is characteristic of coffee but it is not overpowering. Acidity is present as well as a fruitiness reminiscent of peaches along with flavors of toasted walnut and a memorably sweet end note.
Ahn and Lee roast all the blends and single-origin beans sold at Danil.
Danil Seoul roasters Ahn Sung-min and Lee Jae-woo roast all the blends and single-origin beans sold at Danil. (Danil Seoul)
“We consistently offer a line-up of five to six options,” Ahn and Lee said.
“We aim for coffee that has a balanced sweetness,” the two elaborated on how they select and roast their beans. “The reason behind this is the coffee needs to possess sweetness so that the acidity and bitterness are not overpowering and also because it heightens the overall flavor and aroma of the coffee.”
Both racked up years of experience as baristas and coffee roasters -- Ahn clocked in 10 years and Lee a total of seven years -- before officially opening Danil in Seongsu-dong, Seoul this July.
Coffee fiends can order espresso variations or pour-over coffee to-go or in-house at the new roaster-cafe after selecting one of the blends or single-origin beans available.
Beans are also sold to-go for home brewers and come with handwritten instructions on how to brew each blend or single-origin coffee.
“In past, every now and then we used to get feedback like ‘I bought beans because I enjoyed drinking the coffee at the store but when I brewed the coffee at home it didn’t taste the same,’” Ahn and Lee explained. “We thought up a way to address this issue by sharing our brewing recipes.”
At the moment, beans are available for purchase at the store but the plan is to sell them online in the near future.
Danil Seoul, a roaster-cafe, opened in Seoul‘s Seongsu-dong this July. (Danil Seoul)
1F, 656-471 Seongsu-dong 1-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends
Blended coffee and single-origin beans cost 5,000 won as pour-over, espresso, latte or flat whites. Select specialty single-origin beans cost an additional 3,000 won
Beans cost 9,000 won for 100 grams, 16,000 won for 200 grams with the option of selecting two 100 gram blends or single-origin beans when purchasing 200 grams, select specialty single-origin beans will cost 11,000 won for 100 grams and 20,000 won for 200 grams
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org