Any expat in Korea will tell you that coffee here is done a little differently. If you long for drip coffee in various roasts and flavors… you’re going to be disappointed at most Korean coffee shops. Espresso is the order of the day. Black coffee is now an Americano. Coffee with cream is a latte.
But I have found a coffee oasis about 10 minutes walk from Hapjeong station on lines 6 and 2. Bean Brothers has several locations, including a small coffee counter near Hongdae station and a large shop in Incheon, but the Hapjeong location apparently is their headquarters. They offer 2-3 roast of hand drip coffee (that they roast on location in Hapjeong) and 2 varieties of espresso for the usual blended drinks. They also offer tasty homemade baked goods (try their caramel cake or blueberry cream tart).
Their JB barista roast is probably my favorite. It’s a medium roast coffee that has a nice balance and isn’t too acidic. I don’t typically like black coffee, but the flavor is so fresh and perfect just the way it is, I would never add milk or sugar. It has a slightly fruity taste. According to the roast’s description card (that they serve up with each cup) it has notes of “peanut butter, makgeoli, and oolong tea.”
Update: upon returning multiple times to Bean Brothers (because I am an addict) I discovered that their coffee roasts change monthly. Every month there are 2, occasionally 3 new varieties to try.
The space has an industrial chic feel. It seems to be housed in what used to be a large garage. The huge garage door now serves as a projection screen. There is plenty of seating downstairs around the coffee counter, but more above.
Like any cool cafe in Korea, it’s a popular space for couples. But there are plenty of 4 person tables for groups of friends. Some people settled down on the second floor with their laptops for a couple hours of work as well. This is made easier by the fact that the cafe is open until 11 pm and offers free unlimited coffee refills. Update: refills are now only for black coffee; espresso, americano, and pour over. If you buy a latte, they will refill with Americano. My friends and I weren’t sure how many free refills we could get, so we unwisely tested this. After 4 cups of coffee, it became clear that they didn’t keep tabs on this. It also became clear that 4 cups of coffee at 8 pm were a bad idea.
If all of this isn’t enough to win you over, consider the bathroom. Where else in Seoul can you find a washroom that throws this much shade at you?