Jihye Chang

“Single Brew Coffee”

Jeonkwangsoo Coffee in Myung-Dong area

Again, I introduce a gem in a very busy area without decent coffee culture – that is Myungdong. It’s always jam packed with young couples, tourists, and shoppers of all ages.

Of course there are a lot of coffee shops in Myungdong, but they are mainly chain cafes such as Starbucks, Beans Bins, etc. There is an old fashioned cafe called “Gamu,” but it’s a place to visit more for the nostalgia not for excellent coffee. (They serve “Vienna Coffee” which is strong coffee with lots of whipped cream, not made from milk fat)

For someone who’s looking for a decent single-serve coffee or a good cup of macchiato using the micro-roasted beans, Jeonkwangsoo coffee is a safe choice. Mr. Jeon is one of the so-called “2nd generation coffee people,” and has almost 20 years of experience in the coffee business. Well trained baristas work here, and the price of the “hand-drip” coffee is between 5000-6000 won ($5-6), which is pretty good for the location and the style. They roast their own beans, and there is a coffee academy next door. Their espresso machine is Dalla Corte.

It has become a bit too famous during the past 1-2 years, and they have a few branches all over Seoul and one in Wonjoo. Sometimes the cafe is just too busy (especially when there is a large group of middle-age women. Oh boy they are loud.) But still it’s a cafe where you can be assured of a decent cup of coffee.

They also serve “Thick-Faced Toast” (낯두꺼운 토스트) with butter and jam, but the toast is a bit too thick and dry. Nice jam, though!

Location: Namsan-Dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea (Take the subway line #4/ get off Myungdong station/ Go out via exit #3/ Take the left fork in front of the Pacific hotel and walk for 1-2 minutes. You will see a small coffee shop with a big window on your left.)

Hours: 10am to 10pm

Website: http://jeonscoffee.co.kr/next

Phone: (82) 2-778-0675

Dropp Organic Cafe in Seoul

droppschreierSeoul is bursting with many artsy coffee boutiques. Hand-drip coffee is still the most favored method for drip coffee, and more and more small batch coffee roastery and cafes armed with Clover machine and top line espresso machines (La Marzocco and Dalla Corte are favored) are popping up everywhere. There are some really fantastic cafes and roasters, but many of them are just following the “trend” to make money. I feel as though about half of them will not exist the next time I visit Korea.

Anyways. Buam-dong is the “Seo-rae-maul” of the Gangbook (northern part of the Han River). There are so many little coffee shops and restaurants in this quiet area near Bookak mountain. Club espresso began the trend a few years back, but that coffee shop has lost its touch. Instead I found a newer gem called “Dropp” – a cafe near the Buam-dong office with minimal decoration and sophisticated atmosphere that serves small batch roasted organic coffee.

Young baristas working here seem to be very well trained, and I really loved their espresso macchiato. Silky smooth, sweet, and well balanced. Their drip coffee is also superb.

To go here: Take the subway line #3 (orange line). Get off at the “Gyungbok-gung” station. Go out exit # 3. Walk about 10 meter, and then wait for a bus. Take bus 7022, 7018, 0212,1020 and take off in front of the Buam dong office. The Dropp is on the right side of the three way fork, and it’s near the “Bom” photography shop.

Photo courtesy of Jinho Kim (blog.naver.com/schreier)