Myeongdong is probably the most tourist-rich place in Korea. But it is not really rich in good coffee places. But there may be hope: Coffee Hanyakbang / 커피한약방.
Naver maps link: 커피한약방 서울 중구 삼일대로12길 16-6
The place is not something you would just happen to walk into. It is well-hidden in a narrow little alley:
There are 2 floors and chances are that they are both very busy – so come prepared to wait a little and keep your eyes open. The top floor is almost like a living room, just busier.
The ground floor is so much at the same time. The name 한약방 implies a pharmacy for traditional medicine. Now, we are not sure if this used to be one or if the owners just want to evoke the flair. But the latter definitely is the result, with a lot of carefully selected pieces of antique furniture all around.
There was coffee roasting on a traditional roaster going on in one corner of the cafe – the amazing smell of freshly roasted beans was all around.
The brew bar is something else. Plenty of beans to choose from, and the barista is operating multiple brews at the same time:
This operation is probably more on the ‘art’ than on the ‘precision’ side, as there were no scales or timers involved.
We tried the beans from Rwanda, and they had a quite strong note of burned sugar and rum.
This cafe is difficult to find but definitely worth a visit.