In a city renowned for its café culture, you might not think to squeeze down a narrow, unmarked alley to find the right cup of coffee. But you’d be well advised to trek down to Coffee Hanyakbang in the Euljiro area of Seoul. Never mind that it’s not visible from the street.
The cafe’s interior sports a blend of Chinese and Korean designs, and a variety of Chinese antiques imported by the owners are on display. But the overall feeling inside is rustic, with a menu made from an old plank of wood and a gaping hole in the concrete ceiling revealing the pipes above the establishment.
Hanyakbang has become well-known among coffee connoisseurs, serving delicious single-origin, hand-drip coffee at decent prices. The beans are roasted by hand in the back corner of the café and are ground on site, producing a fresh aroma that washes over you like a wave as you enter.
The baristas, all dressed neatly in white, treat their work like a science, homing in on every pour to bring you the optimal cup. It’s the definition of a hidden gem in a city full of them, a quiet delight just far enough away from the hustle and bustle.
Know Before You Go
Take the subway to Euljiro 3-ga Station, and leave through Exit 1. Walk down the street until you reach the first intersection, then turn right. Walk thirty metres down the road. The alleyway will be on your right, next to the Ginseng Chicken Shop.