It is no secret that Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood in particular, is filled with cute minimalist cafes; Midori Matcha, Document Coffee Bar and Alchemist Coffee Project all boast popular flavors such as red bean and matcha green tea. So what makes Café Bora different from all the other picturesque dessert spots? Their unique staple flavor: the Korean purple sweet potato.
Not to be confused for similarly colored flavors like taro or ube, Café Bora’s theme revolves around the taste and aesthetics of the sweet potato. The difference between Korean purple sweet potato and taro/ube is its taste; sweet potato is less sweet and has a nutty punch.
Café Bora — “bora” translates to “purple” in Korean — is originally a popular dessert chain in Seoul, Korea, that recently expanded to its first location in the U.S. a few months ago. The dessert chain aims to not only provide joy, but also serve as a “refreshing reward with a sense of seasonality,” according to its website. Despite being open for only a short time, the shop is always bustling with customers.
While sweet potato is the main ingredient, it isn’t the only flavor offered. One of the most popular menu items is the strawberry bingsoo, or shaved ice. The shaved ice is the perfect balance of creamy and soft, with a subtle flavor that’s not too overwhelming. Other popular bingsoo flavors are purple sweet potato, red bean, milk and matcha green tea. Other options include the velvety soft serve ice cream and matcha tiramisu cake, which has the perfect texture and softness.
Nestled on the third floor of Square Mixx food mall on Western Avenue, the cafe is a bit of a hassle to find next to all the stores with names entirely in Korean. Visitors will be delighted by the hues of purple and white, as well as the beautifully arranged lavenders on each table that come in pink, purple and yellow. There are seating areas both inside and outside, as well as a miniature children’s play area right across from the cafe.
Those who come for the beauty and ambiance will soon discover that the food that appears too pretty to eat is actually as appetizing as it is pleasing to the eye. It is a refreshing change from the chain of dessert places that have opened to target the Instagram generation with products that fail to taste half as good as they look, like Little Damage and Bumsan Organic Milk Bar. Perhaps the most underrated item on the menu is the matcha green tea latte. It’s a perfect balance that’s not too watery or flavorful and has just the perfect amount of matcha powder.
As part of a limited time promotion, Café Bora will give out a free miniature bouquet of flowers to all paying customers Fridays through Sundays.