Until I came to Korea, I was staunchly anti-coffee. While I still don’t drink anything other than a mocha, and I still prefer salty foods to sweet, I have come to really appreciate the cafe culture here. From dessert cafes, to aesthetic cafes, to brunch spots, Korea has some really amazing places. (Important note, I have been saving some classics, like the 2D cafe, for the end of my semester, so they will not be on here). Korea is different from America surrounding privacy from cameras, but one thing I really appreciate is that I never feel silly going for the perfect food pic here, though I regardless take bad ones, because I am too impatient and just want to eat.
There are far too many cafes to mention them all here, so I will be going both chronologically and somewhat geographically through my own experience, to give a bit of a survey view. Photos from the cafes will also be above in the photo real! I will also be rating the cafes, but not seriously so take them with a grain of salt. This style of writing is modelled fondly after one of my recent favorite books, The Anthropocene Reviewed, from which we also get the title of this post, clunky as it may be.
The first weekend in Korea, me and my friends took a trip down to Jeonju, which I actually wrote a blog post about. I mentioned that we stopped at a cafe there, and it had the most amazing view of the Hanok Village. The cafe is called Jeonmang, and actually has a guest house attached, which seems like a great location if you decide to stay overnight. The cafe and food is normal Korean level, in my memory, so I rate a 7/10.
Next, back in Seoul, I discovered Cafe Vers, which is still a delight and favorite of mine. Great cakes and an absolutely amazing atmosphere. The conceit of the build is that each room is from a regular house (movie room, bathroom, living room, porch) but it is made entirely aesthetically pleasing, full of flowers and cushions and pure loveliness. Probably still my favorite cafe to date. 10/10
The next Seoul hit was cafe 943, otherwise known as the Harry Potter cafe. This cafe I had seen recommended on many blog posts, but none really described what going to this cafe is like. As the name 943 (rather than 9 ¾) might suggest, this cafe is like some poor interior designer, who had never seen Harry Potter, was tasked with making a Harry Potter cafe. Truly, this was an experience that nearly made me cry with laughter. From off-brand references to walls covered with just random white people, this cafe is not exactly what it says on the tin, but definitely an experience. I rate 11/10 for pure uncomfortable enjoyment.
(If you would like a better, more aesthetic Harry Potter experience, Potid in Sinchon gets a 8/10 in my book as a cafe overall, but a 10/10 in being better at knowing Harry Potter than 943)
Another classic Seoul experience is the Sulbing dessert cafe. I went with my friends after our first small group meeting, and it was super cute! A huge portion, so not even all three of us could finish one, but it was really yummy and properly Korean. Shave ice isn’t my total favorite, which brings down the score, but it is a public favorite so I rate 6/10
Cafe onion is a Seoul classic. Pastries I’ve never seen before, shoeless floor seating, and fast efficient service. Overall, a classic with food that matches the hype. 8/10.
In Daegu, in the town beneath Donghwasa temple, there is a cute-as-a-button cafe called Jammy Finger. The vibes were immaculate, the yellow building was adorable, and the peanut butter and jam cafe latte I had made me reevaluate some life choices (positively). 8/10.
Next my group visited Jeju, and we stayed on the south side of the island at the best airbnb of all time (you can get more details on Barritt R’s blog). However, right down the road was Tangerine Coffee, which was a big farmhouse-like space, with great brunch food, great drinks, and really made the most of the Jeju environment. Such a great way to start the day, and a perfect location for us. Out front, if you are on the go, there’s even a drive through booth for coffee, fast. 9/10.
Also in Jeju is Atelier An, which was a very modern cafe right on the waterside, with huge windows that had amazing views. This was a short walk from our airbnb, which raises it in my estimation, but also had fantastic cakes and coffee. 8/10.
The very last spot, is a very special spot, which goes here to the Wanderlust Corner, which I wrote about more fully in another post. 11/10.