Sunday, December 28, 2014

You are here Cafe- Seoul

There is a blog Here that the writers and one other blogger opened up a cafe for those that follow the blog. When we were first coming to South Korea, we looked at the blog to get info. Some posts are too crass for me, but regardless there is some good info in the archives I have found.

A friend and I ventured to find this place on the Saturday before Christmas.  On there blog, there is AMAZING video directions to get here. Check it out here!

Beside being so so so cold, and iced roads we ventured out.
See below photos for descriptions
When we got there, there was a Flea market inside and in the yard of the cafe. There were many different types of things, some jelly spreads and some scarves. This was a fun Christmas surprise.
Here's the front of the Cafe. 

Since there was a flea market things were a bit crowed, but this is the area that you 

See previous photo, this is the other side of the room. Items for purchase on the wall. 

Some of the signs with products for sale. Bonus is its in English. 

I had an Almond Milk Cappuccino with 2  raw power bites. 

Upstairs in the cafe. It was bright and cheery. Very welcoming and calming.

Here's their logo.

Upstairs as you come up the stairs you turn right and there is  a cute Tea room. 
Its not in black and white, I just shot it in Black and White.

We sat in the far corner to get a better view of the place! 

There is a lovely porch on the second floor.

I would rate this place 5 out of 5 coffee beans. The 5 would be more for the atmosphere, as you sat there, it became better and better. Its hard to describe.  I would definitely visit again! 

See image below for the pin.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cafe Clark

Well, last night as we were coming home from Suwon, we are at the bus stop at McDonalds, and noticed across the street a New Cafe! It has only been opened for a week. Its a lounge with coffee  and cocktails, (which I won't review). I will only review the coffee house part since  my blog is only Coffee houses so that is what I am sharing about.

I have attached a link HERE to there website.  The website features the Clark's in Seoul. What I noticed when I came to the building its open at 0700. Yes, thats correct a Coffee Shop open before 1000. Bonus points in my book.  They also speak good english!!! That is another bonus.

When I walked in I noticed it was an upscale place.  The decor is simply elegance. Black chairs, black granite floors, and a simple prominent bar that you walk to. It doesn't have the clutter that some coffee shops have with gadgets of plenty. This is simply, about the COFFEE.  Thats its.
I had them make me a cappuccino with Almond milk. Even as I finish it its still foamy.
My cappuccino was 3,500 won, which is super reasonable. See menu below.

As I was writing this, I got to meet the OWNER Steven Hee. He was super personable and sat and talked with me. Actually, he had just had a call into the Army base about advertising the place.
He gave me a VIP card too, which is a bonus!  He has the Championship Barista from 2013 working here, so that is HUGE! That is something that is a good thing, knowing this place knows what its doing.

 Some seriously outstanding coffee! 

(this menu is only half, the Coffee Part only)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Found an interesting blog while researching hotels near Incheon.

Coffee, Drinking the Memory, ‘Bong Dabang’

These days, it seems kind of a trend for many Koreans to hold coffee cups when they walk the streets. For people of all ages, coffee shops are one of the most favored places to meet and have a pleasant gossip. At the center of the ‘Coffee Road,’ the history of coffee in Korea, is Incheon. Indeed, Incheon is home to the nation’s first-generation coffee shops such as Daebul Hotel, the nation’s first ‘dabang,’ or coffee shops from the late Joseon open-port period. With the passage of time, the story of coffee has changed a lot. 
However, ‘Bong Dabang’ is a coffee house which has changed very little. 

Bong Dabang is located next to the former Baekma Theater in Sangok-dong, Bupyeong-gu. A small signboard hung at a narrow ally informs you that you are close to the dabang. The door of the outdated café is opened. “Welcome,” greets Ms. Choi Jeong-suk (57), the owner of the shop with a smile on her face. She has been running the café for 37 years since 1974. The location, name and owner of this dabang have remained unchanged to this day. “It was very crowded with customers years ago. They had to wait to grab a seat and the door was always opened to greet visitors,” said Ms. Choi with a mild smile, recalling the good old times. “I once employed a female manager and 5 or 6 ladies. This place was called the second Myeong-dong, the nation’s number one downtown in the past and visited mainly by fashion leaders. In the past, a dabang was a place where only the so-called upper-class could afford to go. It was very busy back in the day. I had to open the dabang even on the weekends or on holidays. Yes, I wore Hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing, and was busy in issuing vouchers at the counter,” she added. 

Her story goes on. She ran a laundry house for about 15 years at the very place where today’s dabang is located. But after her husband’s death, she faced many difficulties in running the laundry house by herself. One day, she heard that a dabang would be profitable and found the courage to change the laundry shop into a coffee house. Of course, it was not easy to open and run a coffee shop for a woman, especially for a shy woman with little children. She had to endure many difficulties relating to the treatment of customers, management of the business, and, among other things, the employment of ladies. She still runs the dabang under the same name although there are now fewer customers because she does not have to pay any rental fees; she is the owner of the building. In the past, the café was so crowded with customers who hung out there as if it were a second home. Today only a few people visit this dabang and no ladies are employed. She deals with everything by herself. “I think the café is my room. I’ll run this shop until the day my health begins to fail. I’m very happy with the fact that I can still have my own work. ‘Bong Dabang’? I named it ‘Bong’ which means meeting.” 

Thirty-year old hand-stained imported coffee cups are stacked on the shelf in the kitchen and the dark brown, thick cups of Ssanghwatang, Korean herb tonic tea, are piled up as if only waiting to be served. The narrow passage leading into the kitchen is where she has mostly come and gone over the past four decades. Ssanghwatang is prepared in the kitchen. She blanches eggs in the boiling Ssanghwatang and puts the yolk onto it. It is a recipe for removing the fishy smell of the yolk and adding more flavors to the tea. She still boasts a good handy skill to make a tasty and nutrient Ssanghwatang and present it in a proper cup. ‘Bong Dabang,’ with its comfortable and cozy atmosphere, still embodies the history of coffee and provides good memories. 

Dabang coffee which refers to the Korean-style instant coffee mix of coffee, cream and sugar still attracts many Koreans with its unique taste. The somewhat bitter, sour-sweet tasting coffee, once called ‘western medicine soup,’ was first sold at Daebul Hotel in Incheon. Coffee, which was enjoyed as an after-meal tea for some up-town Koreans in the late Joseon period, was one of the most favorite processed foods of King Gojong.
Now, we had a chance to see the history of coffee, which was a symbolic image of the modern girl and boy, as well as the intellectual. 

Incheon Museum held its 2011 special exhibition of coffee history under the theme of ‘From Western Medicine Soup to Coffee Mix.’ Diverse trifling articles connected with coffee that might be seen in a TV program were exhibited, allowing visitors to see the 100-year history of coffee. The special coffee exhibition was held between April 1 and May 29 in the Special Exhibition Room of the Museum. 

Looking at the representative items of dabang such as old coffee cups, ashtrays and matchboxes, visitors could see how coffee became popular among Koreans and how dabang were developed in Incheon. They also had a chance to listen to the music played in dabang through different eras. 

“Would you like a cup of coffee?” suggests a lady in front of the Special Exhibition Room. 
“I was not allowed to drink coffee as a child. When my daddy ordered a coffee, a young lady brought a red thermos bottle which contained coffee and she gave me yoghurt. When I was young, I heard that coffee would make you short and look older than others. I first tasted coffee from a vending machine when I was a high school student. It was sweet. It is good to see diverse articles and stuff relating to coffee, while enjoying a cup of coffee. It also reminds me of my childhood days,” said Choi Jae-yun (34, Okryeon-dong) who slowly walks along the exhibition room with a cup of coffee in his hand, appreciating the things on display. 

Various items connected with coffee have been donated by 15 old dabangs including Kukje Coffee Shop, Gyeonggi Dabang, Dohyang Dabang, and Bong Dabang, as well as by individuals. “Taking this opportunity, we have tried to display the culture of dabang and coffee in more interesting ways. We hope the exhibited items will help visitors recall their past good times,” said Kim Rae-young, Arts & Culture Researcher at Incheon Museum. 

Guest reporter: Kim Min-young

heres the link.Click here

Saturday, December 6, 2014

100% espresso

We stumbled upon a gem of a place that is a diamond in a rough. This place looks rough on the outside, but what you experience inside is nothing short of AMAZING!!!!

They roast their beans onsite. They were roasting while we were there, and the smell was so wonderful!  We ordered a cappuccino, and also a mocha. At that point I had not had caffeine in a while, and I enjoyed it beyond what I thought.  After we were done, she brought over Americano's free of charge.  But, the foam on the cappuccino was like pudding, it was so so creamy! 

See the photos of the location. Its off the 20 bus route.