New coffee culture – new taste is waiting!

VOW Cafe

<Café Vow in Seoul, South Korea>

Open a new day with a cup of espresso or enjoy a chit-chat with a cup of iced latte at a café. Coffee is now an essential part of our daily lives. Since coffee was first found Ethiopia, it was spread to the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and Asia for hundreds of years and it has become a global daily-drink.

Coffee captures a variety of cultures in different times and regions. For instance, coffee was considered heathenish against Christianity in the early middle ages in Europe, but later became an exceptional drink that only the clergy could drink. Coffee was also a symbol of Europeans’ colonization during the age of imperialism.

It seems that many people today enjoy drinking coffee as afternoon tea all over the world, but coffee presents regional differences too. Americans diluted Italian espresso with water during World War II-what is called ‘Americano’. Ice coffee originally exists in Asia because coffee must be a hot drink for Europeans. Just like this, coffee has been standing for the culture of times and regions. In addition, new coffee culture has become a trend. According to Allied Market Research, coffee is getting used even as a part of the ingredients for health-associated products. Not a perfect healthy drink though, it started to act as a part of the combined healthy drink. For example, in South Korea, many leading coffee shops including Starbucks has launched various fusion coffee that Korean traditional ingredients are combined such as chestnut, soybean or bay salt.

Recently, there has been a unique trial to combine alcoholic beverages to coffee. A master barista, Kim Do-Hyun, a former barista at the Blue House in South Korea and present CEO of VOW F&B, developed wine-germinated antioxidant cold brew coffee cooperating with Liquor Dutch. By germinating coffee bean in wine for several months, alcohol becomes gone and antioxidants and isoflavone increase through germination. This healthy and savory coffee is drawing a lot of attention and gaining huge popularity.

Kim Said that coffee has a huge potential to be combined not only with wine but also with other types of liquor such as Makgeolli and raspberry wine (Bok-bun-ja) that are both Korean traditional liquors. In addition, since wine has different scents and flavors, there will be great opportunities to taste the various flavor of wine-germinated coffee if collaborates with global wine producers.

A wind of change is blowing through global beverage industries. Dessert drinks become healthy and liquors are no more an alcoholic drink but a food ingredient. Food and drink boundary are collapsing. A variety of innovative taste may be waiting for us.

Erika Jeon
Asia Journal
(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)