Following the availability of small American craft roasters including Intelligentsia and Stumptown Coffee Stumptown Coffee, we now have the Berlin-based artisan roaster Bonanza in Seoul. Even beyond Berlin, Bonanza Coffee is one of the fastest-growing roasters in Europe, with its original location selected by National Geographic as one of the “25 coffee shops around the world you have to see before you die.”
This new international location is in Itaewon, but the surrounding area of Hangangjin (near Downtowner burger pub and Pizzeria D' Buzza’s Hannam Dong branch) is quite serene. Although the café is located inside novelty merchandise retailer Morethanless, its seriousness towards extractions has been attracting even professional baristas and humble home brewers alike.
As I open its large glass doors and step inside, sturdy La Marzocco Linea machine first catches this aficionado’s eyes. A specialty coffee icon established in Florence, Italy, it grew with Starbucks’ early expansion, and since been an inspiration for most of the high-end espresso machine brands in the world including Synesso and Slayer.
The overall atmosphere of the café is quite refined and modern (which is appropriate for its identity as a fashion retailer as well). The staff is kind and friendly, while the audio system involving a powerful amp and a fancy set of speakers are adding another tasteful element to the space.
The star of the show is, of course, the coffee. The roasted beans selection available for purchase here includes espresso, blends and a couple of single origins sourced from Colombia and Ethiopia. The menu of hot and cold drinks include both espresso and filtered coffee. As for the espresso, you can choose to have a single origin instead of the basic blend (Brazil and Ethiopia) at the added price of 1,000 won. How are they different? The basic blend is quite mellow with a pleasant amount of acidity and sweetness, while the Colombian single origin sourced from San Alberto farm contains a more complex balance of sweetness and acidity with fruity flavor notes of green apple, chocolate and caramel. While light roasted coffee can have distinctively tart sourness when extraction isn’t executed well, what I tried at Bonanza was quite well-balanced, with a stable extraction system. Filtered coffee is extracted through a pourover method with Kalita Wave drippers. It is priced at 7,000 won.
My recommendations are the Espresso and Piccolo Latte. Served in an Acme mug, the Espresso has balanced aromas and flavors, while the Piccolo Latte is extremely smooth with an elegant ratio of coffee and milk. Obviously brewed with a lot of care from a selection of delectable origins, Bonanza is offering up beloved options for serious coffee-drinkers of Seoul.
Author JB is a Q-grader credentialed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) as well as a freelance coffee and travel writer.
|Venue name:||Bonanza Coffee|
Itaewon-ro 49-gil 24
|Opening hours:||11am - 10pm|
|Transport:||Hangangjin Station (Line 6) Exit 1, 10-minute walk|
|Price:||Piccolo Latte 6,000 won, Single Origin Espresso 4,500 won|