I’m on a year-long mission to uncover Seoul’s cutest and strangest cafes, so I can consume copious amounts of caffeine and ask the existential question: what were the people drinking who dreamed up these places? During my first two visits to Seoul, while attempting to drink my way through the city’s bottomless coffee scene, I had a few too many americanos and sweet potato lattes back-to-back.
And what did I learn? That caffeine by the bucket has side effects!
Side effects included: I achieved a new, record-breaking spike in heart rate; I demonstrated inappropriate bursts of energy; and, I suffered extreme sleep deprivation over the next few days. Did I quit drinking coffee? No! I love coffee! And my passion and tastebuds (and this blog) will force me to keep searching for the bestest coffee and wildest cafes that Seoul has to offer!
Join me as I trip through Coffeeland. If you are in Seoul, here are my favourites by category.
While exploring the winding, narrow streets of Hongdae’s quieter side, Yeonnam-dong, I stumbled upon Cafe Moro. From the outside, the cafe doesn’t look like much compared to the charming, modern and colourful buildings surrounding it. In fact, you can’t even really see the cafe from the road unless you unexpectedly take a turn onto this dead-end street.
And there it is, with its quaint little patio with a cute sign, plants lining the windows and entranceway, and all these little prints of cats painted onto its aegean blue walls. And you must know by now how much I love cats. Coffee and cats – utterly irresistible!
I go in. You feel like you’re walking into a familiar house, with clusters of different, comfy seating areas and glowing lights scattered throughout. It’s inviting, quiet and mellow – oh, and the coffee of course is fantastic!
When I need a rich americano with an inspiring space to get some work done, certainly, Cafe Moro is one of my top three cafes when I visit Seoul next.
385-13 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu
During one of my caffeinated highs, while gallivanting through Yeonnam-dong, I skipped down the stairs leading to Astronomers Coffee. I opened the door to this little cafe. And what a surprise! My nostrils were hit with a delightfully sharp and fragrant coffee smell. The blisteringly smiley owners of this industrial-chic cafe can whip up an out-of-this-world latte. They also have their own coffee blends, which they change up frequently. I slurped up both. I was over the moon with this cafe discovery and will definitely be back.
22-30 Yanghwa-ro 19-gil, Mapo-gu
Ddong Cafe (Poop Cafe)
Have you ever been to a poop-themed cafe? Well, I have now. I found one on the top floor of the twisting Ssamziegil Mall in Insadong. Truly different.
Poop everywhere! Poop cups. Poop desserts. Even poop hats?.. just lots of poop… everywhere. My 24 year-old-self was embarrassingly amused.
I chose a rose latte, which was served to me in erm, a toilet-shaped mug… with charming flowers all over it. I’ll have to say, this was quite the juxtaposition. My eyes were struggling with the sight of poop everywhere but my taste buds were screaming that this rose latte was fantastic!
What the heck. Once you’re wallowing in poop, why not go all the way? I had a ddong (poop)-shaped korean pancake with red bean paste – and it was delicious.
Give your inner-child a little laugh and grab a cup of crap if you’re in Insadong area.
65 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu
I almost missed this cafe.
I almost missed walking into this slow-moving “thing” crossing the cafe’s front terrace. Slowly. Very, very slowly. Was it a robot? Hmm… I decided to examine it a little closer. I mean, I am in techy-Korea after all. Nope! Upon closer inspection, I stopped dead in my tracks when I realized this slow-moving robot was in fact a very real turtle guarding the cafe’s door. Of course! Mental head slap… The Galapagos! This cafe also houses sugar gliders and lizards. So, for all of you coffee, reptile, and flying-possum lovers, this is the place for you.
316-12 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu
If you’re into Gundam check out cafe Unipla in Hongdae. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about (trust me, this whole concept was new for me up until I entered Cafe Unipla), Gundam is like a Japanese version of Transformers. On a busy street in Sangsu area is a curiously narrow building only a teency bit wider than its actual door. I squeezed my way down the stairs, and what did I see? Hundreds upon hundreds of action figures in bright glass cases. Where the hell was I? This is an utopia for all action-figure, Transformers and Gundam enthusiasts. Gundam aficionados were huddled around tables making, well, their own Gundam. With Gundam-crafting not being my realm of expertise, I instead opted for just the americano and skipped out on the fun this time around. But I will say the already yummy americano from here was more interesting while browsing the display cases.
400-3 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu
Ok, now I’m dying for a cup of coffee. I’m thirsting to get my butt back to Seoul so that I can drink my way through more of its cute and strange cafes. Keep checking back at my posts for my next caffeinated explorations!