|Yoo In-seok, the chief barista of Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas / Courtesy of Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas|
By Jun Ji-hye
Yoo In-seok, the chief barista of Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas, has been striving to make coffee through which customers can feel happiness and contentment.
In his latest effort to offer coffee that will remain in customers' memory for a long time, he and his team launched the hotel's first private brand coffee bean blend, D'GOLD, in late April.
"It is hard to say which coffee beans are good and bad as tastes differ," Yoo said in an interview with The Korea Times. "My team, called Team B'irst, recently launched D'GOLD as we wanted to offer our customers more special and memorable coffee."
The barista team, consisting of four veteran baristas including Yoo, blended D'GOLD with premium beans from three regions ― Brazil, Ethiopia and Costa Rica.
It is characteristically medium-bodied to heighten its fresh, invigorating acidity with the sweetness of berries and the fragrance of herbs and roses.
As the coffee has a distinct sour citrus flavor, the chief barista recommends that customers enjoy it as an iced Americano or iced latte.
"It took more than a year for Team B'irst to launch D'GOLD as we sampled coffee more than 20 times," Yoo said. "Since its launch, D'GOLD has been well-received by customers although it is a little bit more expansive than regular coffee. Some customers even asked us if they can buy D'GOLD beans separately."
Yoo noted his team is working to develop D'GOLD in the form of drip bags so customers can enjoy it at home.
He joined Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in 2006 as a server of the five-star hotel's fine dining French restaurant, Table 34. He began his career as a barista in 2010 when he became more interested in coffee making.
"Coffee is a medium that helps me communicate with customers. I feel the greatest happiness when customers are curious about my coffee and ask me questions about it," he said. "I hope customers can feel satisfied and comfortable when drinking coffee I make."
Yoo added that his team is continuing to develop new coffee beans with an aim of offering special coffee blends that are well-matched with each restaurant of the hotel.