In this article I will tell you about the best coffee shops in Seoul. When people think of Seoul they often think of Hongdae and Iteawon, Kimchi and of course the world famous K-pop scene. But Korea is also world famous for its amazing coffee scene. This all found its roots when the the emperor Gojong became the first Korean to try coffee. Fast forward to the present day and we see that Korea has over 15.000 coffee shops and counting. Read on and I will show you a glimpse of what Seoul has to offer in terms of coffee shops. This list is far from complete, so if your favourite spot is not on the list, please add it in the comments. The list is written in alphabetical order, except for the first spot: my favourite hotspot.
The best coffee shops in Seoul: 5 Brewing.
I always start with my favourite coffee shop and in Seoul it is, without a doubt, 5 Brewing. It was during the 2017 World Barista Championships that I first visited 5 Brewing and got to know the awesome hospitality of Barista Jeon Eunjl. The coffee shop of former Korean champion Do Hyung Soo lies in the Hongdae district and has been an anchor in the coffee scene for a long time. Without speaking the English language very well, Barista Jeon manages to provide exactly my choice of coffee over and over. I guess that speaking the language of coffee is all you really need in life. 5 Brewing is an open en welcoming shop. The shop provides a little outdoor seating, workspace and even a little area for some lounging. The menu offers not only the usual espresso, cappuccino and pour over varieties, they also offer the award winning signature drinks that were invented by Do Hyung Soo himself. And that is what I recommend you to order when you’re there.
Adress: 55-1 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Open: 11:00 – 23:30 hrs
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Anthracite Coffee roasters
Anthracite Coffee Roasters is one of those shops that will leave you gaping in wonder when you enter the place. Anthracite has three locations in Seoul but the one I am talking about is the Hapjeon store. This coffee shop uses an industrial coal transport device as a counter. This long machine creates a unique industrial look and add to the artistic creativity of the owners. The wall behind the counter is one big television with visual art that will make you keep looking while waiting in line. The machines are top notch and the same can be said for the Baristas that work there. The coffee is catered to your liking and if you do not know what you’re into today, just ask the Barista to help you out. I recommend not ordering right away, but to take in the sights and sounds of this unique coffee shop.
Adress: South Korea, Seoul, Mapo-gu, Hapjeong-dong, Tojeong-ro 5-gil, 10
Opens: 9:00 – 2300 hrs
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Caffe Themselves
Caffe Themselves is located in Gwansu-Dong area and is well known among the younger generation of coffee drinkers. The store front is huge and that does not change when you walk in. The counter offers standing space all around and everywhere you can see coffee equipment. A huge cold drip device hangs from the ceiling and in the back you will find the bags of green coffee waiting to be roasted. Caffe Themselves feels a little like a, pardon my french, Starbucks but it is in no way the same. The coffee served is meticulously brewed, pour overs are brewed with the Marco P9 single brewers. The seating area is upstairs and it is huge. Unfortunately they did skip on the interior in the seating area, but the coffee does make up for it!
I recommend trying the pour over made by the Marco P9 single brewer…or make that two and experience how consistent it is!
Adress: 388 Samil-daero, Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opens: 10:00 – 23:00 hrs.
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Centre Coffee.
In terms of coffee quality and interior, Centre Coffee is by far one of the best coffee shops I have ever seen! This place looks like a dentists heaven in terms of interior. The ground floor offers a modern, Sci-Fi interior with a counter where you sit down and watch the Barista brew your coffee. Some coffee equipment can be bought and you can also still your hunger with a light snack. Everything feels so clean, modern and still warm and friendly. The best part is the menu! The menu of Centre Coffee holds a section with amazing Geisha coffees that are expertly brewed! Not a lot of shops can hold so many high end coffees in their menu, it says a lot if not all about Centre Coffee.
The upper level offers a huge seating area has windows all around to let the sunlight in. This is a place where you can either enjoy coffee with your friends of sit down and talk coffee with the Barista. I recommend ordering a Geisha and take a sit at the barista counter!
Adress: 28-11, Seoulsup 2-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opens: 10:00 – 21:00 hrs (closed on Mondays)
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Coffee Libre (Mapo-Gu)
Coffee Libre is a world famous coffee roaster that has several locations in Seoul. The characteristic Nacho Libre mask is so typical that many coffee lovers all over the world will instantly recognize the brand on sight. In the Mapo-Gu area is a very small Coffee Libre shop that is big in Coffee. When you enter the shop you will bump into the counter and see a small area to sit down. The shop is easily crowded but it adds to the vibe that is overly apparent: great coffee. The Bartistas do not speak English very well but they will still be able to tell you about all the great coffees they serve. The espresso is brewed spot on and also the Cappuccino is no brainer. When ordering a filter coffee the Barista will whip out his Aeropress and produce a superb brew over and over. I recommend trying their Zambian coffee just because it tastes nice and you do not bump into Zambian coffee all that often.
Adress: 227-15 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opens: 12:00 – 21:00 hrs.
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Green Mile Coffee.
Welcome to Siphon heaven! Green Mile Coffee is located on the outskirts of the famous Bukchon Hanok Village; the old part of Seoul with houses that have the historical architecture. Green Mile Coffee is famous for their Siphon coffee and the amazing view you get from the rooftop. When first entering the store, the barista’s will welcome you with open arms and help you decide what coffee you might want to order. Please, please order a Siphon brew! They will send you one floor up where you can watch the Barista brew your coffee on one of the three Siphon brewers. After drinking your coffee (or take your cup of coffee along), head upstairs one more level and enter the rooftop terrace with it’s amazing view over the rooftops of the Bukchon Hanok Village houses. Sit down and enjoy the coffee and the view!
I recommend ordering a Siphon brew and watch the Barista work his or her magic in front of you!
Adress: Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opens: 10:00 – 18:00 hrs
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Namusairo.
Namusairo would be high in the list if it was not in alphabetical order. Namusairo is everything that you expect from a coffee shop; great coffee, great barista’s, great hospitality, great outdoor and indoor seating and great roasting. When entering Namusairo you are immediately welcomed by the Barista’s. After ordering your coffee you can choose to sit outside or take a seat inside the seating area across the little outdoor seating area. The list of coffees offers a choice for everyone but do not hesitate to ask for the Baristas recommendation. The Barista’s can tell you everything you want to know about the coffee they sell. Sometimes it is hard to say why a coffee shop is better than all the others, but Namusairo just needs one reason: the coffee itself.
I recommend ordering an espresso and a filter so you can experience the best of both worlds.
Adress: 21 Sajik-ro 8-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opens: 10:00 – 22:00 hrs.
The best coffee shops in Seoul: Reissue Coffee.
Reissue Coffee is not a spot that will pop up on every list of best coffee shops in Seoul. Why Reissu Coffee is on my list of best coffee shops in Seoul is because of its unique vibe. Reissue Coffee is a small shop that has a low ceiling and almost no natural lighting. When you enter this shop you are greeted by oldies rock music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The owner is a well dressed, tattoo covered and humble person that roasts his own coffee. On the counter you will find his La Marzocco machine and a grinder…and that is it. All around you, you will see photos and memorabilia that will take you back in time to the 80’s. The menu does not hold any fancy coffee drinks nor does it offer pour over coffees either. So why is it in the list? The coffee is so well roasted, the coffee tastes great, the vibe is unique and the place feels so open and friendly. I just felt right at home at Reissue Coffee!
I recommend the Cappuccino and a place to sit down and enjoy this unique coffee shop!!