What inspired you to become a Flavour Genius?
When I was in the high school, I enjoyed creating cocktails. I was intrigued by the process of drink-making and discovering different ingredient profiles. This inspired me to major in Mixology. While learning how to make coffee based beverages and cocktails, the ability to use different ingredients and discover various flavours was very appealing to me. When I graduated, I felt the need to share the knowledge I had gained with others.
In your opinion, what are the biggest flavour trends of 2019 in your country?
Brown sugar is a huge trend at the moment, especially bubble tea flavours from Taiwan. Tiger Sugar is new in Korea and it has gained a lot of traction amongst consumers. We have seasonal flavour preferences too. During spring, strawberry and cherry blossom flavours tend to be the most popular. Fruity flavours such as watermelon and tropical flavours like coconut are popular during summer. During winter, chocolate-based beverages and spiced drinks such as Mexican chocolate or chocolate with black tea latte are trendy.
Where do you find your inspiration when creating new drink applications?
I get my inspiration from blended teas, RTD based menus or bakery-based menus. These menus have been well researched and are able to identify what the consumers want in the market. For example, an idea from a RTD Menu would be pairing hibiscus tea and citrus based flavours such as yuzu or lemon.
Koreans largely are coffee drinkers. How do you see the local market developing an increased liking for tea-based beverages?
Koreans want to consume healthy beverages that are great tasting. Tea is considered healthy but has a bitter taste profile and Koreans generally like sweet profiles. That said, teas which are infused with fruity flavours perform better. For example, last year bottled milk tea with vanilla bean syrup or strawberry puree was very popular. You still have the concept of a tea-based drink but with a sweeter flavour profile.
What is the most interesting flavour combination you have experimented with when making a beverage?
I enjoy experimenting with fruit and herbal combinations, such as strawberry or dried orange with basil, lemon with thyme and strawberry with lemongrass.
What does being a Flavour Genius mean to you?
I think a Flavor Genius is not just a person who sells the product, but a person who brings the concept and story of each brand to the recipe to life and provides various solutions to meet the customers’ needs.
What do you think are some key challenges baristas or mixologists face in the industry?
Baristas and Bartenders tend to be focused on mastering their skills on one type of application base, such as coffee or cocktails. I think it is better for them to widen their skill set by learning other forms of applications whether its tea or even food-based applications like desserts. Barista and bartenders will have opposing opinions when it comes to flavours pairings. When you widen your knowledge, you gain a wider perspective on experimenting with different flavour profiles.
What advice would you give to young aspiring baristas or mixologists who are eager to learn the trade?
Study the trends, but make sure you master the basic skills in drink making. It’s important to have visually creative drinks but the taste is the most important factor.Therefore, learning the right techniques is essential.
What is your favourite type of beverage to make and why?
I like making soda and tea-based beverages, my skills are in mixology, so being able to apply my skills in making creative drinks with these bases is interesting. I enjoy creating drinks that are visually pretty and delicious tasting. In terms of flavour profile, I personally prefer sour based flavours and that can be reflected in the beverage applications I create.
How would you want to grow the Flavour Genius community?
Creating an online community where you can meet mixologists from other parts of the world and share tools and tips on how we can improve our skills and learn about different cultures. For example, it would be good to learn how other mixologists or baristas make their own signature syrups. Sharing each country’s drink flavours and key account LTO menus. Koreans do enjoy experiencing new flavours and new LTO menus, but they want to experience new flavours in drinks that they are comfortable with, like blue lemonade or red lemonade.
Cherry Blossom Latte
DAVINCI GOURMET INGREDIENTS
Intense Cherry Blossom: 10ml
White Chocolate Sauce: 30ml
Cream & Curls Chocolate & Flower: Garnish
Add Davinci Intense Cherry Blossom and White chocolate Sauce in a glass.
Fill the glass with ice and milk.
Pour the Espresso.
Garnish with cream, Chocolate curls, flower and serve.
Passion Soda Coffee
DAVINCI GOURMET INGREDIENTS
Tropical Passion Fruit: 30ml
Soda Water: 150ml
Cold Brew Coffee: 30ml
Orange Slice & Mint: Garnish
Add Davinci Tropical Passion Fruit in a glass.
Fill the glass with ice and soda water.
And pour the espresso carefully.
Garnish with sliced orange and serve.