cacao green (Samseong-dong – Coex)

One day, wandering through the web of Coex, wayfaring through the wonders of one too many won-wanting locales, I stumbled upon another interesting sounding place… cacao green! By now you know, any café with a hint of chocolate in its name will immediately draw me like moths to a flame. There will be a few more of those places before this blog is done. 😀 Anyway, it was a hot August day. In case you had any doubts, August in Korea = hot. So if I go out anywhere, I just want to go inside. So, the air-conditioned labyrinth of Coex is a great place to pass a few hours away. I did, and in passing through one of the food court areas, I saw cacao green.

cacao green beside redmango in Coex, August 2010
cacao green beside redmango in Coex, August 2010

Continue reading cacao green (Samseong-dong – Coex)

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Coffine Gurunaru (chain, multiple locations)

The New Year 2011 started with a brand new coffee shop for me! After ringing in the new year with friends at a bus stop near Myeongdong (long but fun story) and then heading to a very cold DVD bang in Hyehwa to pass the time, we decided to go to a café while we waited for the metro and bus system to open again. We somehow decided upon a place with a funny name, Coffine Gurunaru. They have a cute explanation of what they want to be… “a tree and a ferry in a river just like a place to rest”:

Coffine Gurunaru display, January 2011
Coffine Gurunaru display, January 2011

Coffine at first glance looks like a mis-spelling of caffeine, but it actually has a different intention. You see, a quick glance at the menu and a little puzzling together makes the meaning of the name quickly evident. Coffine = coffee + wine. What a great pairing! But it was New Year’s Day. I didn’t want coffee, even though it was 4:30am. I wanted to celebrate!

Chocolate cake and Cabernet Sauvignon at Hyehwa Coffine Gurunaru to toast the New Year 2011!
Chocolate cake and Cabernet Sauvignon at Hyehwa Coffine Gurunaru to toast the New Year 2011!

Cake and wine with friends, a great way to start the year. And, you might have noticed, the cake was chocolate. A really good chocolate cake… a really happy Caféseaseo author. 😉 And the wine was a cabernet sauvignon. A great pairing with dark chocolate.

Continue reading Coffine Gurunaru (chain, multiple locations)

Hollys (chain, multiple locations)

Now this is odd. My next review is for a somewhat popular chain called Hollys. But despite having visited Hollys a few times, I don’t have any pictures from there! What kind of a coffee chronicler am I? A lazy one? A sleepy one? Perhaps. But I actually think my lack of pictures from Hollys stems from my experiences there. Hollys was decent and fine, really, but nothing about it stood out to me. It was just a run-of-the-mill coffee chain.

Having said that, there was nothing wrong with it per se. I went there a few times to work, as there was one in Ori near my 2nd apartment. I worked there a few times and enjoyed mochas and noted their friendly baristas. It’s just a place that’s visually similar to Starbucks, with Korean twists I guess. I’ll go back from time to time if it’s convenient.

ps – interesting to note that they have just opened two locations in Perú! They are in Lima, in the neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro, near where I worked for a while, and near where Starbucks opened the first Starbucks in South America in 2003 (while I was there!).

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2013 PICTURE UPDATE

Sandwich and coffee at Hollys Coffee near my new apartment, February 2013
Sandwich and coffee at Hollys Coffee near my new apartment, February 2013

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Website:  http://www.hollys.co.kr

Final verdict:  ***

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De Chocolate (chain, multiple locations)

hello again!

with a regular plain latte at Caffè Fiorè on a foggy day in the Emerald City, i re-start this blog. actually, the fog has been almost perpetual since i got back from Korea a few days ago. all fog… and a forecast of no rain for four more days… very strange. i want my Seattle rain! because i was in Korea, i haven’t seen rain in two months… how depressing. but we did have some great snowstorms there. and i did check out even more cafés and went back to some old favorites. anyway, i had a little detour from my planned schedule of frequent postings, but i plan to remedy that starting today! and to start my Korean café reviews anew, i present to you De Chocolate.

De Chocolate is a small chain as Korean chains go. I think they are trying to go more upscale and exclusive rather than the “be everywhere” model that Caffé Bene has. If you look at their website (as of January 2013), they have just over 15 stores. So, they expanded little by little as I lived there, looking for the right places for new stores instead of just saturating the market through money and star promotions. I’ve only been to four of their locations:  Apgujeong, Gangnam, Seohyeon, and Unjung-dong.

Continue reading De Chocolate (chain, multiple locations)