Ethiopia (aka pattern Ethiopia) (Hongdae)

So here’s a place I wanted to visit more and should have visited more. It’s in the artsy, eclectic, popular nighttime area of Hongdae, the neighborhood around Hongik University. But in those early days of living in Yongin, especially before the opening of the Sinbundang Line, Hongdae was so darn far, as I mentioned in my Café Haru post. So my visits there were very few and far between, until a few years later. But as a good Traveler and explorer that I claim to be, I did go there from time to time. And so I went to a place called Ethiopia, one time, and then another.

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Caribou Coffee (chain; Sinchon branch)

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).

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Café Haru (Hongdae)

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.

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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.

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