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Ilsan Coffee Factory launches first offline showroom

Veteran roaster showcases specialty coffee at Standard System

Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
After amassing 14 years of coffee roasting expertise in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s head roaster and CEO Jung Kang-jin launched a showroom called Standard System in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. 

Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Until then, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s roasts were only available wholesale or online.

Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
“We received a lot of requests from our regulars to open a showroom for a very long time,” Standard System brand manager Lee Ji-hye, 33, explained in an email interview. 

Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System, Ilsan Coffee Factory’s first offline showroom, opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this past August. (Photo credit: Standard System)
With five awards for coffee production, coffee blends and coffee roasting under its belt, it should come as no surprise that fans of Ilsan Coffee Factory might crave a brick-and-mortar space to visit for a brew or two.

While Ilsan Coffee Factory sells around 40 blends and single-origin specialty coffees, Standard System specializes in a more streamlined, seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees.

“We generally check for green beans that are expressive, have a clear story and a clean cup,” Kang, 39, explained when discussing how he and his team select beans for Standard System. “In order to introduce a diverse array of specialty coffee that provides new inspiration, we are planning to change the line-up every two weeks to a month.” 

Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System also has two of its own blends -- one dark and one light -- from which one can enjoy a series of espresso-based brews.

One sip of Standard System’s Americano -- brewed from its dark blend -- wows with its dairy-rich flavor profile.

The brew lands soft on the palate with the intense flavor of milk, a surprise given that the brew itself does not contain a drop of milk.

Then comes a more predictable but equally pleasant wash of toasted almond.

The dark blend -- currently comprising beans from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Brazil -- is beautifully rich, nutty and creamy.

“The reason you get that aroma of milk is because of the milk chocolate note,” explained Kang. “When dark roasting the beans, in order to achieve that milk chocolate note, we are focusing on how we adjust the conductive heat and time our dump.”

If one misses the right time to dump the roasted coffee into the cooling bin, or if the heat is too high during the roasting process, Kang elaborated, one is likely to end up with a dark chocolate note in the coffee as opposed to a milk chocolate note. 

Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
“We wanted to create a dark blend coffee that anyone could enjoy with a milk chocolate nuance that lends itself harmoniously to being brewed as an espresso, pour-over or with milk,” Kang said.

In addition to blends, Standard System also serves up a seasonal selection of single-origin, pour-over coffees.

Its current roster boasts an exquisite light-roasted, single-origin coffee of the Catucai variety from the Vinhal Estate in Brazil.

Grown in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, fermented three times and fully washed before being roasted by Kang and his team of roasters at Standard System, this coffee unleashes an aromatic combination of vanilla, passion fruit and toasted coconut when extracted and enjoyed as pour-over coffee.

For this roast, Kang explained how convective heat was used as the primary heat source and the focus was on timing the dump to the moment when the flavor was expressed to prevent underdevelopment.

Kang first fell into the world of coffee when he was 20 years old.

The year was 2000 and Kang was hooked after a particularly memorable cup of Ethiopian coffee. 

Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
Standard System specializes in a seasonally curated repertoire of six to eight specialty coffees that can be enjoyed as pour-over coffee. (Photo credit: Standard System)
He started by working at a cafe run by a first-generation roaster and continued to study coffee until he opened a small roaster-cafe in Ilsan in 2007, which he then expanded into a factory.

Now, over a decade later, Kang has come full circle, returning to his roots, in a sense, with a sit-down, brick-and-mortar space.



Standard System

19-22, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

010-2295-1922; @standardsystem.coffee

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Espresso-based coffee costs 4,000 won to 6,500 won, signature coffee costs 7,000 won, filter coffee starts at 7,000 won

Coffee, with the exception of espresso, available for takeout



(oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)




By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldm.com)
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