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Seoul, South Korea boasts one of the world's premier coffee scenes, and one of the city's major coffee leaders is Sang Ho Park, an international coffee professional first introduced to Sprudge winners during his tenure at London's Square Mile Coffee. The 2017 UK Brewers Cup and 2015 Coffee in Good Spirits champion is now at the helm of Seoul's Center Coffee, who just launched and innovative and exciting new coffee bar collaboration with globally renowned Swiss watch makers IWC. We absolutely love taking an inside look at this project; don't mind us if we daydream about future travel to Seoul along the way.

As told to Sprudge by Sang Ho Park.

The 2021 season of Build-Outs is presented by Fellow. The series is sponsored by La Marzocco, Pacific Barista Series, Marco Beverage Systems, Dona, and Sustainable Harvest.

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

Center Coffee first opened its doors back in January 2017 by former UK Brewers Cup and Coffee in Good Spirits Champion Sang Ho Park. Since then, we have opened four cafes in Seoul, with the mission to introduce high quality Specialty Coffee to the public.

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Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

This new space is a collaborative cafe with the world-renowned luxury Swiss watch makers IWC. It's the first ever cafe IWC has opened in the world, and partnered with Center Coffee. The name BIG PILOT BAR comes from one of their watch collection. The reason for this collaboration isn’t just for marketing purposes, but because both brands share important core values that reflects on quality and the environment.

What’s your approach to coffee?

We have been focusing on trying to deliver the highest quality coffee we can find then share it with our customers on affordable price. We source most of our filter offerings from auctions and we mainly source Geshas. We took this approach to let people know, high quality coffee means higher price, but at the same time it's much more affordable compared to quality wine or whiskey.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

La Marzocco Linea PB, Mahlkönig E65 GbW and EK43s, Poursteady three-group.

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How is your project considering sustainability?

Some of the materials used for the walls are made from reclaimed plastics, also all of our take out materials are bio-degradable. In Korea, it much more expensive and less frequent for a cafe to go this far, but IWC and Center Coffee takes environmental issues seriously, so we took this approach even though cost and number of production was quite high.

When did your project officially open? 

July 8th 2021.

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Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Interior design is done by ulab

Thank you!

Thank you!

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Big Pilot Bar is located at Floor 5 Namdaemun-ro 81, Seoul. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

The 2021 season of Build-Outs is presented by Fellow. The series is sponsored by La Marzocco, Pacific Barista Series, Marco Beverage Systems, Dona, and Sustainable Harvest.