As you may or may not know, I was an English teacher in New York and had a ton of Korean students. I had heard many different things about Korea from these students that gave some strange impressions about what I should expect to find there. Listening to certain students it seemed I would be doomed to daily syrupy burnt Starbucks or pretending that I like Think Coffee. However, from the first cafe I entered I realized that coffee geeks have been carving out their niche in more parts of the world than we’d ever know. So here’s the places that turned my cautious skepticism into undying love. It goes without saying that these should be going into your google maps if you live in or plan to go to Korea. Unless of course, you hate coffee or something.
Anthracite: This place has a ton of blends, located in a strange warehouse-like building in a super residential part of Hongdae. It’s open late and features tons of extras and has some great events. In one visit you can get a feel for Seoul’s style.
Coffee Libre: Yes, I’m still talking about this place. Yes, I did do a post about it in Japanese. Yes, maybe I will marry it, thanks for the suggestion. In all seriousness, the owner and workers of Coffee Libre are serious about their craft. That’s really all you need to know, anyone can SAY they’re serious and artisanal, but it’s another thing to live it pretty much every day.
Blackup: It has apple flavor notes in one of its espresso blends! I assume the only reason you’re reading this and not drinking it right now is because you’re not in Busan!
MOMOs Coffee: I actually was a bit biased against this place, it was a big name and I went there late into my time in Busan. I thought I had the entire scene figured out. I was wrong. MOMOs has a ton of attention, which makes me wonder why I’m writing about it until I remember that attention is damn well deserved.
RBH Coffee: Once upon a time, a white boy went to Korea doing everything short of holding a sign that said “I’m an aspiring blogger!” In one cafe, he took a picture of his espresso, said it was amazing, and put it on Instagram. 5 seconds later, the barista who made it, liked it. Resulting in the most awkward insta-friendship ever. RBH’s workers have a lot of pride in what they do, and what they can do. They even opened up another location so all you tourist types can try their coffee more easily.