Let’s go café hopping in Seoul. Nibbling on some sweet desserts and sipping coffee inside a cozy café is the best way to thaw out the wintery chill growing inside your mind and body.
Edited by Kim Na-young / Written by Ha Eun-ha, Moon Ji-yeon / Photos by Lim Hak-hyeon
Having started as a small café in Gwangjin-gu back in 2010, Lowkey has been opening up branch stores in Namyang-ju and Seongsu-dong. Selecting and roasting the beans in house, this café serves a specialty brew popular among its customers. Also serving drinks like Americano and latte with four different coffee bean blends, this café also carries top quality coffee beans like “Panama Geisha”. It is also the only place to taste coffee brewed from “El Manzano” beans, which were ranked 2nd in the prestigious “El Salvador Cup of Excellence”. Time to time, customers also told interesting behind-the-scenes stories of coffee bean farmers.
If Lowkey Coffee’s beans are to your taste, utilizing their “Baekban” service is highly recommended. It’s a program where every Wednesday, high quality coffee beans are delivered to your door for a month. To recreate the excitement of receiving letters through mail, the coffee beans are delivered in envelopes. Participating in a weekly coffee sampling event called “Public Cupping” is also highly recommended for those that would like sample a variety of coffee blends.
6 Yeonmujang 3-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Mon-Fri 10:00 - 20:00 / Sat 12:00 - 21:00 / Sun 12:00 - 18:00
A fairy tale-like café located in a quiet little residential area, Camel Café is a place which brings a sense of peace to its visitors. Painted and filled with colors of dark beige and camel-colored things, the café is a space full of things that resonate with the café owner’s preferences. Apparently, this place was something she’d been dreaming of since childhood. Previously having worked in the fashion industry, she put aside her career to realize her dreams and opened up Camel Café, designing and filling it up with vintage things she found and bought throughout her life. However, finding the perfect location for her café took only about 10 minutes. “The plan for Café Camel was always there since the beginning. Therefore, moving the plan into action was relatively easy. After being recommended a very old and secluded place, signing the contract was done very quickly without any hesitation.”
6 Seongdeokjeong 19-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
11:30 KST - 21:00 KST
A dim lit café with 70’s Japanese city pop playing in the background, Bunkasha is filled with customers sitting around white cube chairs and tables drinking coffee and snapping pictures. This café is best known for its Fruit Sandwich, a clean-cut sandwich filled with cream, mango, banana, strawberries, and kiwi. The combination of cream and fruits go well together, leaving customers with a desire for more. The homemade iced Omija lime soda is a perfect complement to the sweetness of this treat. Wine, cocktail, beer, and other beverages are also available.
A portion of the café is reserved for a work studio where bags, pet products, and leather goods are crafted and sold, offering customers plenty to see and browse through during their visit here.
2F, 20 Eulji-ro 14-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
12:00 KST - 23:00 KST
A café reminiscent of the tailor shop in “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, the interior of Horangii Coffee is decorated with wooden furniture, vintage lamps, travel bags, picture frames, and Fedora hats. The soft jazz playing in the background only adds to the atmosphere.
Just like how this place is able to get the most effect from the least amount of props, they only serve three things on their menu. In this day and age where choices are limitless to a fault, it can almost be seen as a form of consideration for its customers. Although the options are few, the quality and the portion more than makes up for it. Their signature drink is their “Horangii Latte”, a drink made from a special recipe involving carefully selected coffee beans and milk to lend a unique sweetness to it, setting it apart from other normal lattes. Meanwhile, their Americano is for customers who do not prefer sweet things. Brewed from single-origin coffee beans, this coffee has a deep and flavorful taste. And lastly, their very popular fruit sandwich made from seasonal fruits are a must-have for everyone visiting this place.
3F, 157 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
11:00 KST - 19:30 KST (Closed Sunday • Monday)
A bar modeled around a press machine, trays made from layered recycled wood – The industrial look of Drip Factory’s interior is pretty unique and eye-catching. This café is also the only place in Korea which sells a San Francisco specialty coffee blend called “Four Barrel Coffee”. Upon ordering, they immediately start the brewing process over a pour over cone, which probably attributes to their “Four Barrel Coffee” having a light, refreshing taste.
Every 3 months, this place selects 4 types of coffee bean through coffee cupping events. On top of drip coffee, they also offer latte, affogato, and other specialty coffee beverages like macchiato. Through collaborations with artists, they also host a variety of events to spread and celebrate the culture of Four Barrel Coffee.
18 Nonhyeon-ro 122-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
10:00 - 18:00, Closed Saturday • Sunday