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Coffee Libre

Location: South Korea

Founder: Seu Pil Hoon

Founded in 2009 by Pil Hoon Seu while specialty coffee culture was still in its infancy, Coffee Libre has grown to become synonymous with Korea’s third-wave coffee scene. The cafe and roastery have distinguished itself through meticulous sourcing of only the world’s best coffee beans - all imported via the direct trading links he has built with plantations around the world.

Coffee Libre

Getting to know Pil Hoon Seu - Founder and CEO of Coffee Libre.

How did the journey of Coffee Libre start?

After five years of experience as a barista and roaster, I was convinced of specialty coffee's potential. So, I founded Coffee Libre in 2009.

Can you share more about Coffee Libre's approach to sourcing and roasting coffee?

Coffee Libre has been engaged in direct trade with coffee origins since 2010. We now source coffee from over 150 farms in 18 countries. Our goal is to connect coffee producers and consumers with diverse, good quality, and sustainable coffees. Our roasting process offers a wide range of roast levels, from light to dark, to suit the tastes of all our customers.

What was the inspiration for Coffee Libre to decide to put coffees into the convenient capsule format?

While the Nespresso capsule machine has gained widespread popularity, the selection of specialty coffee capsules is limited. As the capsule market grows, I believed that there would also be a rise in devices optimized for specialty coffee capsules. The development of hardware and software would allow customers to more easily and enjoyably experience specialty coffee capsules.

Coffee is fuel to get us moving throughout the day, especially in the morning. What is your daily morning ritual like?

The mornings in Seoul are so rushed that I don't have time to grab a cup of coffee before heading to work. As soon as I get to the office, I brew myself an espresso. And I continue to make espresso and filter coffee throughout the day. Maybe it's just one of the perks of working at a coffee company.

What are you most excited about right now and for the future of Coffee Libre as a brand?

Coffee Libre seeks to form a closer relationship with coffee origins beyond merely being coffee buyers. We have a farm in Nicaragua and are collaborating with coffee producers in several countries. Specialty coffee has been experiencing significant growth in coffee origins in recent years. We want to join this movement and continue to promote to Korean consumers.