Well-hidden. And not in the usual back alley, but in the middle of a multi-floor restaurant in central Gangnam: coffee@works (커피앳웍스).
Naver maps link: coffee@works
Besides pizza place, Italian restaurant, German restaurant and bakery, coffee@works is a fairly large coffee bar right in the middle of Square. They have a few chairs on the side, but primarily cater to the ‘on the go’ crowd.
For coffee, they had multiple options (incl. Ethiopia, Panama and others), and those can be prepared either with an AeroPress, Drip or Chemex. The store has official recommendations what goes best with what, and also the baristas have their own views – very wow.
I felt like treating myself and went for the pricy Geisha from the Lerida Estate Esplendorosa (and followed the Chemex recommendation). To be honest, I did not expect much in this multi-purpose space in terms of coffee. But the preparation of the pour-over was among the best I have yet seen in Seoul. Everything was warmed up, beans and water weighed, pre- and main-infusion times were on the spot. Many coffee shops in Seoul could learn a lot here (and I mean a lot).
The result was outstanding. A sweet tasting, full body, slightly floral cup of excellent Panamian coffee. I really did not expect to meet this combination of process and precision in what I would usually characterize as franchise-like setup. It may not be very hipster here, but it is damn good.
No doubt I will be back – very soon.