The story of the Jukjeon café street started with rumors. I had returned from GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) orientation in the middle of April 2010 with a few hundred other foreign teachers, and about a dozen or more of us were left in Jukjeon station, as that was a central transit point for all of us. We were all wondering what to do… whether to hang out for a while or just go home after a busy few days. One guy had a great idea. He had heard about or past by a tiny neighborhood with many cafés not very far from the station, somewhere to the south. It was a really nice place, and everybody would like it! But somehow, the group didn’t agree, and we all went our separate ways. But I remembered that rumor, and soon it would become a pleasant and repeating reality.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. The heart of the matter. As the market is the beating heart of any city, a coffee market is the heart of any aspiring CaféSeaSeo. Okay, wait, maybe it isn’t that deep inside me. But a placed called the Coffee Market has certainly found its way into my heart. Let’s start at the story of how I found it.
On at least one occasion I’ve mentioned my DC days. Well, during those DC days I visited one of the local popular chains from time to time, as it was a refreshing change from the green siren. This was Caribou Coffee, a café whose ambiance lets you feel like you are visiting a lodge in
Alaska Minnesota. It wasn’t the café I would make a point to visit, like Java Shack, Common Grounds, Murky Coffee, or Tryst, but it was certainly pleasant to do so, and Caribous were centrally located in places like Farragut Square or Logan Circle. (Though now, in 2016, they are a Peet’s and a construction site, respectively).
Two days after visiting Segafredo Espresso, the river was still frozen, and it was still cold, but I decided to visit Hongdae. In 10 months, I had only been there three times before, since it took so long to get there from Yongin (this was before the Sinbundang Line opened). I met up with a friend, and she decided to introduce me to a place she liked, Café Haru. This was a cool independent shop, even if quiet, and we caught up there. Unfortunately for this blog, because of that catching up, I don’t have much to say about it or my visit there. I had fun hanging out with my friend, but the café didn’t catch my attention. But you can see below that they did focus on single-origin coffees and did their own roasting. So for 2011, they were a bit ahead of the trends.
On a cold cold cold Sunday morning in January 2011, I decided to go to the river.
And now, back to Seo(ul). Or at least Korea in general.
Earlier this year, the good folks at Talk To Me In Korean had a little conversation about Korea’s intense coffee and café culture. You can listen to their chat here:
Here at CaféSeaSeo I sometimes take time to focus on the Sea(ttle) instead of the Seo(ul).
So here was a nice little profile of the founder of, as I’ve previously mentioned, one of my favorite cafés in Seattle, Espresso Vivace, and the huge impact he had.
The Seattle Times – Vivace’s David Schomer — not Starbucks — ‘made coffee huge in Seattle’
Second, a little reflection on Seattle’s current place in the coffee universe. There’s a little more details in the comment than in the posting:
What Happened to Seattle Coffee? – http://www.eater.com/forums/seattle/2014/9/25/6845431/what-happened-to-seattle-coffee
Defining coffee… when cappuccinos aren’t cappuccinos, and caramel macchiatos aren’t macchiatos, and Gibraltars are also cortados. Well, at least here’s the story of the cappuccino…
I try to order a for-here cup whenever and wherever possible, even at Starbucks (yes, they have mugs, even some people in Seattle have looked surprised when they see me with one). But if you’re going to get something to go, there is now an option that’s even greener than a compostable cup…
A cup that biodegrades into seeds…
The world needs beauty amid all its troubles. Thankfully, there are millions of artists among us. And some of them dabble in coffee. Here’s a few examples I found to hopefully make you smile and brighten your day…
By artist Ghidaq al-Nizar:
By artist Stefan Kuhnigk: