[Seoul’s best coffee shops] Momento Brewers; 모멘토 브루어스

In a city that never sleeps, where days become structured around a series of to-do lists, taking the time to get to know strangers has become a rare commodity. Yet, although rare, there will always be an oasis of acceptance and belonging if you look for it. A pocket of colour in a sometimes grey city. A pocket of bright blue.

about; momento brewers

Nestled at the end of a quiet alley in Seoul’s Seongsu-dong (성수동) neighbourhood, you’ll find Momento Brewers.

You’ll know that you’re getting close as the sound of cars begins to drift into the background, the chirping of the birds gets louder, and the sound of coffee being ground comes in brief intervals.

It’s a corner of escape from the busy world.

A corner of solace.

There’s no room for awkwardness as you’re welcomed with bright smiles and warm hearts.

You’ll walk in for a cup of coffee, but leave with more:

A sense of community and a new place to call home.

Opening hours
Weekdays 8:00am – 5:00pm
Weekends 11:00am – 7:00pm

design; space

Studio Hoon, the Design Studio behind Momento Brewers, studied the characteristics and feel of Australian cafes in order to bring their design to reality.

Our vision when designing a coffee shop differs from time to time. What remains constant is that we always try to bring the images in our mind to life.

Studio Hoon

The cafe design took about 15 days. We had several meetings with the owners to plan out the space and coordinate the details. Once those details were finalized, construction took about a month.

In addition to creating a space that remained true to the feelings of its owners and expressed the feelings of Market Lane, Studio Hoon was also inspired by the space and its customers.

When you observe a space and the people that would frequent it, you start to see things that you couldn’t see and inspiration comes to mind.

Studio Hoon

We want this space to be more than a showroom that introduces coffee. We want Momento Brewers to be a space where we can speak to everyone and share with them delicious coffee and stories.

Momento Brewers

coffee; market lane

Momento Brewers is an official distributor of Melbourne’s Market Lane Coffee, a boutique coffee roastery and retailer based in Melbourne.

Our mission is to make good coffee accessible and exciting, simple to understand and appreciate, and easy to brew and enjoy.

Market Lane Coffee

Jason Scheltus, Director at Market Lane, took time out of his schedule to speak with us and share with our readers a bit more about Market Lane.

Could you please introduce us to Market Lane Coffee?

We started Market Lane Coffee 11 years ago. When we started, our goal was to source and roast the best quality coffee that we could, and to tell the story behind every coffee that we found. We really wanted to highlight that there were people behind every cup. We also wanted to highlight that we could form long and meaningful relationships with suppliers from around the world, by supporting them.

When we started, our goal was to only have one store. But we found that with the scale of what we wanted to do, it was quite difficult to do a number of things – such as buy the amount of coffee we wanted, or have the proper infrastructure and training. We realized that we needed a few more stores.

So now we have 6 stores. All in Melbourne. And we find that really works well for us. It means we can support a nice size coffee roastery, it means that we can buy a lot of coffee – from 60 kilos in size all the way to 3 or 4 tons – and it means that we can have a platform to connect with our customers.

We try to really connect with the neighbourhoods that the cafes are in. We only have cafes in neighbourhoods that we know or areas of Melbourne that we’re quite familiar with. And the reason for that is that we feel it’s very important to understand where our customers are coming from and who they are.

Jason Scheltus, Director, Market Lane Coffee
What is high quality coffee for Market Lane?

In the most simple form, it’s the cup quality that we’re talking about.

So we’re talking about the flavour profile. For instance, how clean the cup is, so how free of defects it is, how sweet the coffee is, how balanced it is, how interesting it is compared to other coffees from that areas. So that’s the technical cup quality perspective. On that level we look for coffees that score on a coffee cupping scoring sheet from 85 and above.

But there are other things that make coffees special that aren’t necessarily just the score.

We also look for longevity. We try to buy from the same producer every year. That’s really important to us because it helps us understand what their situation is. For instance, how their farm is developing, or how they’re developing their community around them. We also get an idea of what sustainability goals they have and whether they’re meeting them.

There’s a range of different things [that make up cup quality]. It started out just being the technical cup quality perspective, but as we’ve grown, we’ve discovered that there are other important factors.

Jason Scheltus, Director, Market Lane Coffee
Market Lane aims to bring out the most exquisite characteristics in each cup. How do you do it?

Very simply, it’s a browning process. The same way you’d make toast out of bread.

It’s a fairly simple process.

The challenge is that the shape, density, and structure of a coffee bean isn’t completely uniform. So, you have to apply heat and airflow in a number of different ways during a short period to get the browning happening evenly on the inside and outside of the coffee bean.

So, we take temperatures in our coffee roaster in a number of different places. We take the data and then we taste the coffee, compare it to the data, and then we make changes. It’s very difficult to say that because a coffee is from X country, we can apply a specific time and temperature profile of heat against it to produce certain flavours. You have to try it first –  roast it, taste it, and then apply changes. It’s a little bit of trial and error.

Of course, with more experience you can create a few more general rules, but it’s an ongoing process. So we taste every single batch of coffee that we roast.

For a great cup of coffee and a good conversations, make sure to visit Momento Brewers the next time you’re in Seongsu-dong!

For more coffee shop collaborations, click here.