Coffee Factory is one of my favorite cafes in Korea. It’s in the popular Samcheongdong neighborhood around Gyeongbokgung palace, the Presidential Blue House, and a number of foreign consulates. It’s an upscale but unpretentious area that blends traditional and modern Korean culture with its various art galleries, old and new architecture, tea houses and coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants putting their spin on Western cuisines alongside traditional Korean restaurants.
The area is full of Korean and foreign sightseers walking around taking photos. Coffee Factory’s inviting corner patio and warm brick decor seems to draw a constant flow of people in, creating a nice bustling ambiance inside.
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If you come in through the side door, the first thing you see is a large Probat roaster, and probably someone sitting next to it sorting green beans prior to roasting. I think they roast daily; every time I visit they’re either sorting or roasting.
Now, in Korea, it’s fairly common for indie coffee shops to have their own roasters. It’s far less common for them to actually produce good roasts, so seeing a roaster in a shop here doesn’t really indicate anything more than the size of their investment.
Thankfully, the Coffee Factory folks are truly skilled devotees to their craft. They offer a few single origin coffees for hand-drip, along with all the standard espresso drinks. Their espresso blend is really nice and balanced, and every single or double shot I’ve had there has been well prepared. Their cappuccinos and mochas are among the best I’ve tried in Korea, and I hear from friends that their iced coffee is quite good as well. This is definitely a quality focused coffee house worth a visit.
They also have pastries, waffles, pizzas, and sandwiches that are pretty good. When I first visited them a couple years ago they had a really great bagel sandwich, but unfortunately they’ve changed the recipe and it’s not as awesome these days (now it has that typical square Korean style ham slice). It’s not bad though, and the other things are pretty tasty.
Given the location in one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city, the comfortable ambiance, the coffee quality, pleasant staff, and the option for food if you want, this is one of my favorite all-around spots to have a coffee in Seoul. Must visit!
Head to Anguk Station, Exit 1. Turn Right and walk past the Starbucks (hah), and take another right at the stone wall lined road. Walk straight up that street until you hit a cross street with cars on it (next to the Sonje Art Center). Keep going straight across that road and then you’ll see Coffee Factory on the corner to your left.
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