Discover the Best Coffee Shop Korea: A Guide to Unique Cafes & Brews

Coffee lovers, rejoice – Coffee Shop Korea scene is thriving, and there’s never been a better time to explore the local coffee culture. From traditional cafes with a cozy ambiance to modern establishments with unique offerings, there’s something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the best coffee shops in Korea – both local favorites and hidden gems.

Key Takeaways:

  • Korea’s coffee culture has evolved over time and is an integral part of social life.
  • There are many unique coffee shops in Korea, both traditional and modern, that are worth exploring.
  • Specialty brews and innovative coffee creations are popular in Korea.
  • Knowing coffee shop etiquette can help visitors feel more comfortable.
  • There are many resources available for those interested in exploring more about coffee in Korea.

Exploring Korea’s Coffee Culture

Korea has a rich coffee culture that has evolved over the years from a simple beverage to a social phenomenon. In today’s modern era, coffee shops serve as a place to gather, chat, and relax, making them an essential part of Korean life.

coffee shop korea

Coffee shops have grown in popularity in Korea, especially with the younger generations. These shops have become social hubs where people can take a break from their busy lives and enjoy quality coffee with friends, family, or colleagues. Koreans are known for their enthusiasm for trendy and unique cafés, making them highly competitive in the coffee industry.

In Korea, coffee shops put a strong emphasis on quality brews and customer service. Customers expect their coffee to be prepared with care, crafted from high-quality beans, and presented with an artistic touch. Baristas are trained to master the art of making coffee, and their skills are celebrated and recognized in the industry.

Local Favorites: Must-Visit Coffee Shops in Korea

Korea boasts a plethora of coffee shops that have earned a devoted local following. Here are just a few of the must-visit coffee shops that are beloved by Koreans:

Cafe Name Location Specialty
Cafe Onion Seoul Scandinavian-inspired coffee
Dunkin Donuts Nationwide Iced Americano
Cafe 5Ci Jung Busan Hand-drip coffee

Cafe Onion is a must-visit for coffee lovers who appreciate minimalist decor and Scandinavian-inspired coffee. The cafe’s clean and simple aesthetic creates a cozy atmosphere, allowing the coffee to take center stage. Don’t be fooled by the name – Dunkin Donuts has a strong presence in Korea and is a favorite for its iced Americano. Cafe 5Ci Jung in Busan is known for its hand-drip coffee, which is brewed fresh to order for each customer.

Hidden Gems: Discovering Offbeat Coffee Shops in Korea

While Korea is home to many popular coffee chains, there are also plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Here are some of our favorite offbeat coffee shops in Korea:

Coffee Shop Name Location Specialty
Caffe Themselves Seoul Hand-drip coffee made with house-roasted beans
Simple Kaffa Jeju Island Espresso shots made with organic beans
Hakrim Dabang Busan Traditional Korean coffee shop with antique decor

If you’re looking for something unique, be sure to check out these hidden gems. From hand-drip coffee to traditional Korean coffee shops, each one offers a distinctive experience that you won’t find at your typical coffee chain.

Specialty Brews: Diving Into Korea’s Unique Coffee Creations

Korea has developed a reputation for its innovative and unique coffee creations. From whimsical latte art to inventive flavor combinations, there is no shortage of specialty brews to explore.

One popular trend to emerge from Korea’s coffee culture is the Dalgona coffee, which gained worldwide attention during the pandemic. This frothy, whipped coffee concoction is made by whipping together instant coffee, sugar, and water until it becomes fluffy and light. The mixture is then spooned over a glass of milk or alternative milk for a sweet and creamy caffeine fix.

Another specialty brew to try in Korea is the honeycomb latte, which is made with honeycomb candy melted into steamed milk and espresso. This unique sweet treat offers a creamy, caramel-like flavor that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

For those who enjoy a more savory flavor profile, the cheese latte is a must-try. This unlikely combination of steamed milk, espresso, and a generous portion of shredded cheese creates a rich and savory drink that is surprisingly satisfying.

Other innovative creations to explore include the cotton candy latte, which features a cloud of fluffy cotton candy served over a shot of espresso, and the rose latte, which is infused with rose water and petals for a fragrant floral flavor.

The creativity and experimentation in Korea’s coffee scene are truly impressive, and visitors are sure to discover a unique and delicious brew to suit their tastes.

Coffee Shop Etiquette: Navigating Korean Coffee Culture

If you’re new to Korean coffee shops, it’s essential to know some of the etiquette and customs that locals follow. Following these practices helps you respect the culture and feel more comfortable in coffee shops.

Table Manners in Korean Coffee Shops

Most Korean coffee shops have self-service, meaning you place your orders at the counter and then find a table. Locals expect customers to clean up after themselves, so make sure you dispose of your trash and dishes in the designated bins.

It’s common for coffee shops to be busy and crowded, so try not to take up more space than you need. If you’re working on your laptop, considering sitting at a communal table or asking the staff for permission. Additionally, some coffee shops have designated “meeting rooms” that you can use for a fee.

Tipping Practices in Korean Coffee Shops

Unlike in some Western countries, it’s not customary to tip in Korean coffee shops. Instead, prices include all service fees. If you want to show appreciation for exceptional service, you can say thank you or leave a small note instead.

Coffee Shop Language in Korea

Most Korean coffee shops have menu items in Korean and English. Still, if you want to order in Korean, here are some useful phrases:

Korean Pronunciation English
아메리카노 a-meh-ri-ka-no Americano
카페라떼 ka-pe-la-te Café Latte
카푸치노 ka-poo-chi-no Cappuccino

General Expectations in Korean Coffee Shops

coffee shop korea

Korean coffee shops are often used as social spaces or workspaces, so it’s essential to respect the atmosphere and other customers. Avoid talking loudly or making excessive noise, especially if the coffee shop is quiet. Also, refrain from taking photos of other customers without their permission.

Using a phone in a coffee shop is acceptable, but try not to use it for extended periods or speak too loudly. If you need to take a call, it’s polite to step outside or move to a designated phone booth.

Understanding the basics of Korean coffee shop etiquette helps you navigate the culture and enjoy your experience fully. Remember to respect the atmosphere, clean up after yourself, and be considerate of other customers.

Coffee Shop Recommendations by Region in Korea

Whether you’re in the bustling city or the tranquil countryside, Korea has a plethora of coffee shops waiting to be explored. Here are our top picks for coffee shops in each region:


Coffee Shop Specialties
Cafe Onion Single-origin coffee, minimalist interior design
The Caffeine Roasters Hand-drip coffee, industrial-chic decor
Anthracite Coffee Roasters Various specialty brews, trendy atmosphere


  • Cafe Aritaum
  • Mod Cafe
  • Brown Hands

Jeju Island

Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty and unique culture. Here are some coffee shops you won’t want to miss:

“Rabbit in the Garden is an enchanting little cafe nestled in the hills of Jeju Island. The drinks are especially delicious, with a wide selection of teas, fresh juices, and coffee. And the views are absolutely stunning!” – Local resident

  1. Rabbit in the Garden
  2. Kong Café
  3. Haenyeo Coffee

Each region in Korea has its own unique charms and coffee culture. Be sure to explore and discover your own favorite coffee shops!

Coffee Resources: Blogs, Websites, and Apps

coffee shop korea

For coffee lovers looking to dive deeper into the Korean coffee scene, here are some recommended resources:

  • Seoul Coffee – a coffee blog dedicated to all things coffee in Seoul.
  • Café Tour Korea – a website that provides information about coffee shops in Korea and offers a range of coffee-related tours.
  • Coffee Navigations – a mobile app that helps users locate nearby coffee shops and provides reviews and ratings.
  • Korea Coffee Academy – an institution offering coffee education and training courses for coffee enthusiasts and professionals.

These resources can help visitors and locals alike discover hidden gems and stay up-to-date on coffee trends and news in Korea.


Korea’s coffee scene is a vibrant and diverse culture, with a mix of traditional and modern coffee shops that offer unique experiences and specialty brews. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or simply looking for a new social space to hang out with friends, there’s a coffee shop in Korea that’s perfect for you.

We hope this guide has given you a taste of what Korea’s coffee scene has to offer and that it has inspired you to embark on your own coffee adventures. Don’t be afraid to try something new, explore lesser-known coffee shops, and indulge in the creativity and innovation that defines the local coffee culture.

Happy coffee hunting!


Q: What can I expect from the coffee scene in Korea?

A: Korea boasts a thriving coffee scene with a wide variety of unique coffee shops. From local favorites to hidden gems, you’ll find something for every coffee lover.

Q: How has coffee culture evolved in Korea?

A: Coffee has become increasingly popular in Korean culture, serving as a social space and a way to enjoy quality brews. It has evolved into an integral part of daily life for many Koreans.

Q: Can you recommend some must-visit coffee shops in Korea?

A: Absolutely! We have a list of local favorites that are must-visits when exploring the Korean coffee scene. These establishments have a strong following and offer unique experiences.

Q: Are there any offbeat coffee shops worth discovering in Korea?

A: Yes! If you’re looking for something different, we’ve uncovered hidden gems that offer a unique atmosphere and specialty brews. These offbeat coffee shops are a delightful surprise.

A: Korea is known for its specialty brews, such as the Dalgona coffee trend and creative flavor combinations. The local coffee scene thrives on innovation and creativity.

Q: What should I know about coffee shop etiquette in Korea?

A: Navigating Korean coffee culture is easy when you know the etiquette. We’ll provide insights into tipping practices, table manners, and general expectations to help you feel more comfortable.

Q: Can you recommend coffee shops in different regions of Korea?

A: Absolutely! We have divided Korea into regions and will recommend the top coffee shops in each area. Each one offers its own specialties and unique aspects.

A: If you’re eager to explore more about coffee in Korea, we have a list of recommended resources including popular coffee blogs, websites, and mobile apps for coffee enthusiasts.

Jillian Hunt is a talented writer who shares her passion for coffee on Her blog is filled with insightful articles about the latest trends and innovations in the world of coffee, as well as tips on how to brew the perfect cup at home. So pour yourself a cup of joe and settle in for some great reads here!

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