The Korean “Kuh-pi Bang-aht-gan” is roughly equivalent to “Coffee Mill.” This is one of the cafes I visited in 2007 on my first trip to Korea. It’s located in the Samcheongdong neighborhood near the Blue House Presidential residence and Gyeongbokgung Palace. While their coffee is not really worth mentioning, the interior style is pretty cool and shows how quirky and inviting Korean cafes can be.

Open kitchen, hand-drawn menus, esoteric decorations, tons of interesting clutter and effort put into every detail. Like many indie cafes, they roast in-house and offer a variety of single-origin coffees prepared with a Melitta style pour-over filter. Unfortunately their coffees are roasted quite dark, and I can’t really recommend any of them (if you must, resort to milk and syrup drinks). Their espresso suffers from the same problem, and is served unappealingly in a big, regular sized glass.

The draw, for me, is the eccentric interior full of little hand made decorations, coffee devices, photographs, doodles, and other creations. In a country as dense as Korea, where it’s not uncommon for one block to have a dozen or more cafes (of dubious quality), you gotta differentiate yourself somehow.

While I much prefer the coffee at ‘Coffee Factory’ just next door, the decor and experience of Coffee Mill is worth a visit.

Map & Directions below.

Exit number 1 from Anguk station (Line 3). Turn right and walk straight until you see the street lined with stone walls. Walk up that street for a few minutes. Eventually you’ll see the Sonje Art Center on your left; keep going straight across the street and follow the bend in the alley to the left past Coffee Factory (or stop your journey here, it’s a great cafe). It’s a little ways up this little side street.

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