UPDATED 06/16/16: cafes in seoul

I thought Vancouver was the land of expensive cafes. But little did I know about the 5 million coffee chains and cute cafes that they have lining every street I walk on! So I’ve made it a mission to try as many of them as I possibly can. I’ll keep updating this post as I go to more cafes!

Some of the cafes have no pictures because I wasn’t going to use them for anything… Also, I just wanted to say that the service in South Korea, for the large part, is so great. People at work are super polite. And they’ll help you with pretty much anything you ask for, and if you have language barriers they really will try their hardest to understand you.

Coffee Prince

Ever heard of the famous drama Coffee Prince? This coffee shop is a knockoff of the one that they actually filmed the drama at. Not the first one (that you should be able to find if you Google it)!

I got a green tea frappuccino type thing but it was so long ago that I can’t remember how it tastes… nor can I remember if there are any outlets are not. The day we went, though, there was some class going on so it was super loud and then there were girls talking everywhere so it was kind of hard to study. Also irrelevant but it was raining really hard that day.

Holly’s Coffee

There’s one on Yonsei-ro, right outside the front gate of Yonsei. It reminds me of Starbucks slightly. Holly’s has more than one floor (like most cafes in South Korea) because students really like to go out and study in them.

It’s nice there because the cashier will tell you if there are no seats! And something else that I like about South Korean cafes is that they ask you if you want whipped cream on your drink. So you don’t have to say it yourself 😛

I ordered a milk tea Hollyccino (like Starbucks’ frappuccino but because they’re Holly’s coffee, heh) and then Stef got a green tea Hollyccino.

All cafes give you buzzers here so they don’t have to yell your order/name. And, if the cashier is smart enough they’ll put you and your friends’ drinks under the same buzzer too.

Holly’s was nice, but I think there aren’t too many plugs (we were lucky and sat near one), plus it was super hot the day we went because they didn’t turn on the air conditioning.


There are so many Gongchas in South Korea. Really. But they’re also so expensive!

Because I can get bubble tea any time back at home I didn’t think it was anything special. In fact I actually preferred Chatime more (see below…)


Starbucks is Starbucks and we have it at home, and we all know how overpriced it is. But compared to all the other cafes in South Korea, the price is actually not bad. Plus, they have drinks that we don’t normally have at home – like Cherry Blossom Frappuccinos, Lattes, and Hot Chocolates. I haven’t actually studied there before so I don’t know how it is but I’m sure it’s not that different from the ones we have at home? Plus, if you buy a drink at the one on the Yonsei campus you get either a size upgrade or a discount! Plus there are at least 2 of them in Sinchon.


I didn’t actually buy a drink at Coffeesmith (because it was the same day we went to Holly’s Coffee, but at night) but Stef, Marcius, and Claudia did. I don’t remember what they said about the drinks though.

I only remember that there’s a severe lack of outlets at Coffeesmith, which wasn’t something I appreciated. Plus, when we were there there was a couple arguing next to us. What is with South Korea and having arguing couples everywhere? When we were at Baskin Robbins once we sat next to one too and it was just so awkward…

Cafe MangoSix

If you know where I work then of course you would figure out why I had to come and try MangoSix. It’s not like the normal coffee shops – they have some mango based drinks as well. So I tried a Mango and Jelly (we have that at our workplace too but it’s totally different) with aloe jelly. It’s basically mango juice topped with coconut cream and with aloe jelly cubes at the bottom. Delicious, but not big enough for my liking!

Plus it was super loud there because they played music on every single floor. They have a good amount of outlets, though.

Mariwhale Macaron

Macarons are pretty expensive in Vancouver already, so I was surprised to find a place in Seoul that sells them for 990KRW apiece. There’s a branch inside UPLEX in Sinchon, and I’m sure they have other stores as well!

The macarons are really not bad for the price, and they have a huge variety of flavours as well – for example, cheddar cheese. My favourites thus far are honey lemon and green tea!

UPDATE: I went there again, and I studied there as well – it’s a good study environment since there aren’t many people inside the department store. Other flavours that I’ve tried are apple, passionfruit, strawberry, mango, mocha, and vanilla… but honey lemon and green tea are still my favourite, since they taste most like honey lemon and green tea.

Tom N Toms Coffee

The Tom N Toms Coffee in Sinchon is open for 24 hours (I’m not really sure if they’re all open for 24 hours…) so it’s good for people who want to study all night. My mom actually saw an article about the chain in a Chinese magazine and told me to try the toast. Unfortunately I was really full so I could only get a drink.. but I really want to go and try the toast another time.

I ended up getting a green tea Tommyccino (like the Hollyccino). It was a bit strange to me but I ended up getting used to it.

The Tom N Toms in Sinchon has 4 floors, and the atmosphere is good there because they only play music (loudly) on 2 of the floors. Meaning you can study on the other ones! There weren’t very many outlets, though, and I don’t like that there are smoking rooms on every single floor. Also, every time I walk past it there aren’t very many people inside (probably due to location – it’s not near the subway) so I think it’s easier to get seats there.

Cafe Imi 

I went here on the day I decided to walk to Hongdae. I found this cafe through the app MangoPlate, which is like UrbanSpoon in Vancouver. The best thing about the app is that it’s in English 😀

The cafe is super small and super cute. And they have a variety of cake too (which was what I was craving that day!) I ended up getting a white milk tea and the strawberry mont blanc. Both were delicious.

There’s a good amount of outlets for the size of the cafe, and they even have a printer you can use there. I sat there for around 4 hours? And they didn’t ask me to leave or get mad at me or anything. It’s not very loud in there as well (unless people come in and talk, which you can’t control) so it’s a great place to do your work.


Not sure if Sulbing counts as a cafe. But I’ve been here around 5 times and their shaved ice is so good! I’ve had the Premium Mango Coco Snowflakes Sherbet, Fresh Strawberries Snowflakes Sherbet, Milk Red-bean Snowflakes Sherbet, Injeolmi Snowflakes Sherbet, and the Chocolate Snowflakes Sherbet.

My favourites are the strawberry one and the red-bean one. The ice is so soft and powdery, and you can add as much condensed milk as you want! The plain injeolmi one and the chocolate one were too dry for my taste, though.

I’ve also tried the injeolmi toast here. It’s basically two pieces of bread with mochi in between, with some injeolmi powder on top. So good!

Lady M Confections

Lady M Confections is a store that sells crepe cakes. They’re super hard to make (I know because I’ve tried and failed) but they taste so good, with the thin layers of crepe and fresh cream! I first heard about this back at home but we don’t have any in Canada, nor do they ship cakes to Canada. So you can only imagine how excited I was to know that there’s on in Itaewon (foreigner central – of course there would be one there out of all the places)!

I decided to go by myself one day since I didn’t want to wait for my friends to all go together, and I just went with an original mille crepe cake. South Korea is a group-oriented culture so it was kind of awkward for me to sit by myself.. but I enjoyed my cake nonetheless!

I don’t think anyone should study here because it’s definitely a dessert/tea place and not a quiet place for people to do homework. There are a few outlets but those are usually for people to charge their cell phones.

My friends all said they wanted to come again.. although one piece of cake was 7500KRW I definitely wouldn’t mind coming again!

A Twosome Place

I haven’t gone here for coffee or anything either (since it’s in the heart of Sinchon and therefore far from my dorm) but I did get a piece of cake from there. I know they sell cakes at other places too which are probably a lot closer to dorm but the slices of cake here looked the best.

I got the Royal Milk Tea Chiffon Cake – and I was pleasantly surprised because it tasted like milk tea, it wasn’t too sweet, and it was super light and floofy.


They only have a few Chatimes in Seoul. But it really reminded me of home since we now have Chatime in Vancouver, so I gave in and got one even though I said I wouldn’t get bubble tea any more while in Seoul.

It was expensive.. but it was so good and it tasted like home. And the pearls were well done too!


This is definitely not a cafe, but they make good juice here for a cheap price.

There are starting to be more and more of these stores everywhere too – they have lots of different flavours of juice, like kiwi, blueberry, orange, grapefruit… and a 1L cup is less than 4000KRW! They have one right next to UPLEX in Sinchon, and they also have one in Edae. And probably almost at every single subway station there is. But there are also some knockoff versions of Juicy (like Juice), and the prices and flavours differ slightly. But I’m sure they can’t be that different!

UPDATE: The green grape juice is my favourite. It tastes so refreshing!

I know that’s not my Instagram, but I swear the hand holding the green cup is mine… that time was my first time having kiwi juice and even though it was really yummy and refreshing I think I might be a bit allergic to kiwis ): Also drinking 1L of juice before getting on the subway for an hour might not be the best idea…

Cafe Aewol Monsant 카페 애월 드 몽상

This is probably the only cafe I went to while on Jeju Island. I’m really quite glad I went, even though it was totally out of the way from everything else… because this cafe is owned and run by G-Dragon of Big Bang. I only found out about this place thanks to Stef, and since it was one of the two things she wanted to do while on Jeju Island and our original plans weren’t exactly being followed, we thought, “Why not?”

Claudia got a cafe latte, Stef got a hot chocolate, and I got the Monsant ice cream (milk flavoured ice cream with Hallabong jam). We also got a Hallabong cake to share.

It was suprisingly good! I mean, it’s a famous cafe so I know a lot of people will go just because a celebrity opened it. But I didn’t expect the food to be this good either. The hot chocolate Stef got was really rich, but Claudia said her cafe latte just tasted like a normal coffee (which it could have been, since Koreans have a different idea of coffee anyways).

The windows of the cafe are made out of two-way mirrors, so people can’t really see inside but you can see outside. There’s also a beach right next to the cafe (but I wouldn’t go explore too intensely on that beach…), and there’s another cafe called Cafe Bomnal right next to it.

Thanks Nature Cafe 

I heard about this cafe through Vivian, and decided to go with Stef and Yvonne. Leeteuk from Super Junior came here before with actress Kang Sora while they were on the MBC variety show We Got Married!

I’m glad that we went on a weekday because there weren’t as many people as there could have been. The sheep are just in a pen outside of the cafe, which is in Hongdae.

I ordered a yogurt slush and to my surprise it was actually yogurt flavoured and not yakult!

I also ended up getting a honey bread since I had k-pop dancing class afterwards and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to eat dinner.

The sheep are really really soft :O A lot softer than I expected!

They let you feed hay to them as well. Sometimes they baa really loudly so it’s surprising, and sometimes they just shoot poop out from their bums… like a pellet gun.

Cafe Jeonmang 전망

While in Jeonju, we decided to go to this cafe to look at the view of the Hanok Village.

The view was really nice but the drinks were very expensive T.T

Otherwise there was nothing special about the cafe!

Beansbins Coffee 

Another chain cafe in Seoul. I feel really lucky that Sinchon is situated between 4 universities (Yonsei, Sogang, Hongdae, and Ewha) so there’s a lot of stuff there. I’d previously heard that the waffles at Beansbins were really good so I wanted to try, but I looked and the ice cream waffle with 1 scoop of ice cream was almost 8000KRW… my wallet can’t take that kind of damage so I opted for the half waffle with blueberry and chocolate instead, which was 4900KRW. The mango waffle with mango sorbet was 15 000KRW! All because they use Haagen Dazs ice cream. If you want to add ice cream it’s 3000KRW… and even though it was such a hot day I just opted for no ice cream instead.

The waffle was so sweet T.T It was so overpoweringly sweet that my teeth actually hurt. But the waffle texture itself was pretty good, and it would have tasted even better if it was hotter.

I also ended up getting a cafe latte since I was feeling a bit of a headache (I was out until 4am the previous night because of Akaraka…). It cost me 4500KRW and I think the guy who took my order might have thought I was a bit crazy since I ordered a hot one instead of iced one – it’s been really hot in Seoul lately. I usually do get cold drinks that aren’t coffee based since I’m not a huge coffee fan and I don’t like how hot drinks cool down and become warm, but I’m coughing at the moment so I thought it wouldn’t be the best to have more cold things.

I don’t really know much about coffee but I really like how in Seoul, they have sugar syrup and cinnamon and sugar for you to add to your coffee yourself. So in the end my drink didn’t taste like a cafe latte but I liked it a lot more (:

There’s a good amount of seats in the Beansbins in Sinchon (considering it is 2 floors, like most chain cafes here) and there’s a good amount of outlets everywhere as well. My only complaint would be that some of the tables are bolted to the ground so I can’t move it closer, and the back support on the chairs aren’t the greatest.

Ma Jane

I was walking around Edae looking for a place to study when I came across a store selling New York custard pudding. There aren’t many American style things so I decided to give it a try.

I first had their strawberry pudding – it was yummy, filled with custard, strawberry slices, and cake! The first time I went the guy gave me an iced american for free as well :’)

I wanted to order their Jane’s Shake too but for some reason the owner said that he couldn’t make it…

… so I went back the next day just for the shake but they still didn’t have it!! So I got a blueberry pudding instead. The puddings are only 2800KRW and they’re really yummy (: I like the blueberry one more than the strawberry one, but there’s different flavours like chocolate-banana, green tea, nespresso, and more.

You Are Here Cafe

You Are Here Cafe is situated in Hongdae – it’s actually really close to Cafe Imi!

I’m not sure if it was because I went on Friday afternoon, but it was really empty… I got the entire second floor to myself to ‘study’.

I don’t like how the air con is so different downstairs and upstairs – its so cold downstairs but fairly stuffy upstairs. Also the wifi isn’t that great on the second floor.

It’s a huuuuge cafe – like a house-turned-cafe! There’s a lot of seating and a good amount of plugs.

I got the oreo milk cake – 6500KRW, kind of expensive and was just an ‘okay’ cake.

I ended up getting a milkshake too cos it was hot… the milkshake was so so so so thick I couldn’t get it through the straw. But it wasn’t sweet enough for my liking. 6800KRW!

But at least the decorations are cute! I really need to stop eating sweet things…

Paik’s Coffee

Now this is the price I’m talking about for coffee. I think this is hands down my favourite coffee shop that I’ve been to so far – the coffee is cheap and it tastes really similar to Tim Hortons. It’s 2500KRW for a huge cup of iced coffee – around 700mL!

They also have other things like a cup of shaved ice for 2500KRW (which was not as nice as I thought it would be… but it was still cheap).

When I went to study there I tried their iced milk tea latte, and it tasted like either earl grey or chai tea… it definitely didn’t taste like any ‘milk tea’ I’d had before but it wasn’t bad!

Paul Bassett

I didn’t actually study here, but just stopped by to get a drink on the way to Seoul Forest… I ended up getting a peach frappe, which is part of their seasonal summer menu. I was debating between their peach ice cream and their peach frappe, but I’m glad I got the frappe, even though it was more expensive, cos there was ice cream on top 😛

The ice cream tasted kind of strange but the frappe itself was really nice. And then I mixed it together to drink, like a screamer!

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