▲ Left: The exterior of Chocoart is painted in inviting colors, a preview of the treats within. Photo by Hye Kyung Kang Right: Candice Dowden is enthralled with the coffee brewing process demonstrated at Jeju’s Chocoart. Photo by Shanna Bosely
Bubbling beakers and gravity defying vacuum suction devices elicited “oohs” and “aahs” from patrons of Chocoart Café’s Aug. 2 coffee tasting.
The laboratory feel of the coffee roasting room was appropriate given the precision of the process and the technical appreciation demonstrated by its host.
Kim Kyeong Bom, known as Bom to his customers and friends, has been studying coffee for over 10 years and co-founded Chocoart Café with his friend and business partner Kim Woo Shil. He also teaches the art of brewing coffee at Halla College.
The café was born of Shil’s training in western foods, particularly French cuisine, and her love of chocolate. Bom’s passion was coffee and the two met to create the chocolate cappuccino (now a signature drink of Chocoart) and discuss the possibility of uniting their passions under one roof.
The café itself is a mosaic of colors, earth tones, and tasteful decorations that create an atmosphere as rich and fresh as the coffee, chocolate desserts, and light dishes they serve. The excellent food and beverages, beautifully and artfully displayed, are the natural consequence of expertise and a dedication to quality.
Bom studied coffee roasting and brewing for two years in Japan. To this day he uses Kono instruments bearing his master teacher’s ensign during brewing demonstrations.
Bom demonstrated various brewing and filtering techniques and apparatuses at the coffee tasting. The three primary methods he used included a cloth filter, paper filter, and a reverse siphon technique.
“I really enjoyed the coffee tasting, however buzzed I ended up getting,” said American coffee enthusiast and Jeju visitor Janice Heller. “It’s amazing the difference the method of brewing coffee makes.”
The first sample was an Ethiopian blend of beans that utilized the siphon technique. A flaming wick is placed below a sealed beaker of water, attached like an hourglass to a bowl of coffee grinds above. As the water heats, it is sucked up the tube to the top bowl where it soaks the coffee grinds in hot water from below.
After a few minutes, the flame is removed and as the water cools down it pours back into the lower beaker, but now as well steeped coffee. Bom more closely resembled a lab technician than a barista as he served his coffee to eager patrons from his beakers and vials.
Another brewing method used a fine cloth filtration system. A cloth similar to cheese-cloth, but designed specifically for coffee brewing, was draped over a glass pitcher and filled with imported grinds of the highest quality.
“If there are no bubbles, then you know the coffee is not fresh,” said Bom as he slowly poured steaming hot water over the beans.
Freshness is the quintessential value of Chocoart Café, and an aspect of coffee roasting and chocolate creation in which both Bom and Shil are personally invested.
“I have probably at least five cups of coffee per day,” Bom said. “But that is no problem if it is a fresh product.”
Bom went on to explain that artesian roasting of fresh grinds is the newest trend among coffee shops in Korea. Even larger chains have begun to pride themselves for their in-store roasting of fresh coffee.
Within the year Bom and Shil hope to open the Chocoart Art Museum above the café that would feature sculptures crafted from chocolate, many examples of which are currently on display. Additionally, they are planning chocolate workshops where interested patrons can create their own beautiful and delicious masterpieces.
Chocoart is located in Jeju-Si on the same street as the Si-Chung CGV. From City Hall, head north toward Top Dong, making a right at the first intersection. Chocoart is a two-story building right next to the post office and near a large Nong-Hyeop Bank building.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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