[Seoul] One of the hottest new cafés opening in South Korea should be Blue Bottle Coffee, which in a span of few months has set its foot at Seongsu, Samcheong, Apugujeong, and Yeoksam.

More to come I suppose.

So what’s the fuss? Blue Bottle Coffee was founded by James Freeman in Oakland, California. And while it has expanded within many cities in the States, Asians really got to knew about it with its first international outlet in Tokyo.

There is something about its clean-cut branding, Scandinavian design and interior, and not-bad coffee. Its service is said to be “inspired by the hospitality of traditional Japanese kissaten (coffee house) culture”.

In fact, when I been to both to the US and Tokyo outlets, their vibes are almost entirely different – one energetic (like another coffee joint), the other modern yet calming.

I visited the Blue Bottle Coffee Korea outlets in the Samcheong and Apgujeong neighbourhoods, and Samcheong was quite easily the tourist favourite (while the other appealed to office executives nearby).

Its proximity to the cultural and historic Bukchon Hanok Village and Gyeongbokgung Palace, and standalone three-storey café also make this space highly instagrammable.

To find it, head over to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), the café is just opposite.

For orientation, customers order at the ground floor, collect drinks on the second floor, but the third floor is where you would be rewarded with the best views of the palace and faraway hills.

A selection of blend and single origin drip coffees, iced coffees, and espresso drinks are available, ranging from 5,000 Won to 6,500 Won (SGD5.74 to SGD7.46). Well, not the cheapest around.

Many come for their drip coffee (5,200 Won for blend, 6,400 Won for single origin), while I found its latte to be quite balanced in terms of acidity, slightly on the milkier side.

Light pastries can be ordered to pair with your coffee, which includes Prune & Almond Scone (3,800 Won), Red Berries Muffin (4,500 Won), Brownie Cake (4,600 Won), Financier (2,900 Won) and Cream Cheese Orange Madeleine (3,500 Won).

Quite the standard pastry fare that does not depart far from the average Seoul quality.

Tip: You can reserve an exclusive coffee tasting menu at the reservation-only Samcheong Hanok section, which also offers dessert pairing.

Blue Bottle Coffee – Samcheong
76 Bukchon-ro 5-gil, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon – Sun), Closed Lunar New Year, Chuseok

Blue Bottle Coffee – Seongsu
Achasan-ro 7, Seongdong-gu, Seoul (Ttukseom station Exit 1)
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sun), Closed Lunar New Year, Chuseok

Blue Bottle Coffee – Apgujeong
854 Nonhyeon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Fri), 9am – 7pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Lunar New Year, Chuseok

Blue Bottle Coffee – Yeoksam
129, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 8pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Lunar New Year, Chuseok

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