Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Affair with Coffee

Hello guys! This is the first time for me to have a non-fanfic related post. Anyway, I went to South Korea last week for a much deserved vacation. Only then I decided to come up with a blog entry that is personal and one of the things I loved the most- Coffee
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved coffee. I didn’t grew up liking milk (No, don’t blame my parents, I was a stubborn kid ) and when I started working, my affection for it grew all the more. Coffee kept me going during my grave yard shift days and has been my comfort “food” as well. And when I travel, I always find time to check out different cafés and taste different coffee blends.

So now I’m sharing with you my review of the cafe’s and coffees I’ve tried from my recent trip. I'll rate them from 1-5 cups;  5 being the highest and 1 lowest.
1.       Mini Stop’s Coffee Arabica
When we arrived in our hostel straight from the airport, it was already midnight. We were already hungry and tired and most diner in our area were already closed. So the best way for us to have dinner is to get it from a convenience store just a block away. So I ordered a cup of coffee and paired it with a custard filled bread. The taste was okay, it was Arabica as promised and black. Though I was slightly disappointed because the coffee was lukewarm, when I want it to be almost scalding hot. The next day, I bought another cup to start my day and was happy when it was just the way I want it to be. 

What I Ordered: Coffee Arabica (black)
Price: 1,000₩
Taste: 4 cups
Value for money : 5 cups
Ambience: N/A
Over all Satisfaction: 4 cups

I can say, if you want an on-the-go, not so fancy and just fuel in the morning cup of coffee, then Mini Stop's Coffee Arabica is a smart choice. I ve had it every morning except on our fifth day. You'll know why later.

2. Muah Punctual Secret Pub
After a long day of touring around Seoul and a hearty dinner in Shimsontang, it was high time to get a good cup of coffee. Knowing that Hwangbo owns/manages this pub, it’s a must for a fan to drop by when in Seoul. So my friends and I made our way to this secret pub. We just walked all the way from Shimsontang, got lost in the busy streets of Hongdae but finally reached the café at around seven in the evening. The café was not packed, only one table was occupied when we arrived. I guess the theme of the place was vintage. An Audrey Hepburn movie was playing with French song on the background. Vintage trinkets were also displayed. I ordered a cup, I mean a very big cup of Cappuccino while my two friends ordered cold coffee. The taste was okay, just your ordinary cup. I can say the serving was generous but the taste was not outstanding. We chatted for a while, took some pictures and organized our gifts for Hwangbo. Since she’s on a vacation, we just left the gifts to her friendly staff.

What I ordered: Cappuccino
Price: 8,000
Taste: 3.5 cups - It was your average, normal tasting Cappuccino. I expected more coz its a bit pricey.
Value for Money: 2 cups –It was twice the price of a normal cup of coffee
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Ambience: 3 cups - Maybe if we visited in the morning or afternoon, I would appreciate the place better. It was too dim for me, I normally would like to see my friends’ faces when we chat.
Overall Satisfaction: 3 cups.

The staff- I forgot to ask his name - was friendly and accommodating. I would like to visit this establishment again on my next trip (*crossed fingers*). Maybe I’ll try a different blend and would visit earlier.

3. Di Matteo’

Since we left Seoul very early, after taking pictures on the very beautiful Island of Nami, we decided to have brunch before leaving for Petit France. Me and my friend - Dianne were craving for pasta so we checked the restaurants open at that time (11am). We saw Di Matteo and thankfully it caters to what we wanted to eat. We ordered cheese pizza and sea food pasta. Of course I wouldn’t miss a cup of coffee to go with my food. I ordered a cup of cappuccino. It was hot and good. Instead of the usual sugar, they’ll give you syrup if you want to have it sweeter. I didn’t put any though. The serving size was just enough as well.

What I ordered: Cappuccino
Price: 4,300
Taste: 4 cups – slightly stronger than the one in Muah
Value for Money: 4 cups
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Ambience: 4 cups – Though the café’s name is French, the restaurant for me was a bit rustic.
Overall Satisfaction: 4 cups

Good food, good coffee. Good choice for dining when you go to Nami Island.

4.Gom’s Kitchen

It was time to close our 3rd day in Korea. We’ve been to a lot of places and we’re hungry. We arrived in Hongdae just at around 8pm and scouted for a place to have dinner. Just a few blocks away from our hostel, we saw a restaurant with and English Menu. It turned out to be more of a French restaurant serving cocktails. We were already too hungry and the owner was just very accommodating so we stayed. I ordered sea food Rice gratin (if I remembered correctly). They served salad for starter and it was very nice. When I was eating my main dish, I asked if they served coffee. Gom- the owner advised me that they don’t. I asked for an iced tea then, but they don’t serve them as well. I’m not in the mood to have cola or cocktails so I just had water. But then he went back to our table and asked which I would prefer more- coffee or iced tea, so of course I said coffee. A few minutes after he came back from the kitchen with a nice hot cup of black coffee. I said thanks and enjoyed my food all the more.

What I ordered: Black Coffee
Price: 4,000
Taste: 4 cups- Your everyday black coffee taste
Value for Money: 4 cups
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Ambience: 5 cups - The restaurant was small and we were the only patron at that time. Gom was very friendly and he chatted with us. When we didn’t finished our salad, he asked if I was okay. We told him it was good but were also saving space for the main dish. And the cup used for the coffee was sooo cute.
Overall Satisfaction: 4.5 cups

I really appreciated Gom’s effort to cater to my request.If given a chance, I’ll visit his restaurant again.

5. 2Lson Coffee

This is my favorite café in my South Korea trip. I already noticed this establishment on our 2nd day but got to try it only on our 4th day. 2Lson coffee house is just across our hostel and it actually offers not only coffee but rice meals as well. Right after our Everland trip and dinner at Shimsontang, we decided to drop by the coffee house. I ordered coffee- a Vanilla Latte and a slice of cheese cake. We took the table by the corner, chat and plan the next day. The music playing in the café was all English and songs that we love. We enjoyed our stay and decided to drop by again the following night. And so we did. I ordered the same coffee but with garlic bread this time. The garlic bread was really tasty. I love it to pieces. The vanilla latte perfect as well. Not too sweet and the vanilla taste didn’t over power the coffee. It still has its kick. On our 2nd visit here we stayed for more than one hour and if not only for the idea that we will have an early flight the next day, we will stay till late.

What I ordered: Vanilla Latte
Price: 4,800
Taste: 5 cups- blended to perfection
Value for Money: 5 cups
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Ambience: 5 cups - The café’ has its homey and cozy feel. The art decors were minimal , well lit and with good music. The staff were helpful and friendly as well.
Overall Satisfaction: 5 cups

I guess being here twice means that I like this café very much. I will recommend this place to anyone who stays in the Hongdae area.


6. Dunkin Donuts coffee
It was our 5th day and this time we can actually have a sit in breakfast. Trick Eye Museum is just around Hongdae, and walking distance from our hostel. We planned to finally have a decent breakfast so we dropped by at Dunkin Donuts.  They offer a combo meal – bagel and coffee or juice for 8,000 ₩. I love their bagel so I ordered a meal. The coffee was okay, though a bit weak for my taste.
What I ordered: Black coffee with bagel combo meal
Price: 8,000
Review: Taste: 3 cups- coffee is a bit weak. I need a strong kick to start my day
Value for Money: 4 cups – combo meal is okay. Can be considered as complete breakfast for me Accepts credit cards? Not sure
Ambience: 4 cups - It’s a Saturday when we went there so the area was not too crowded. Had a nice breakfast but then the English man sitting across our table resembles someone that I used to know. lol
Overall Satisfaction: 4 cups

If you want something heavy, not too expensive and you're on the go, then you can never go wrong with this choice.   

I also tried the Green Tea Latte in Hello Kitty Café and had a cup of  coffee Americano in Baskin Robins in Incheon Airport. I wont rate them anymore ( I'm too lazy already but here are their pictures)

Green Tea Latte in Hello Kitty Café Hongdae

Coffee Americano of Baskin Robbins

                   Here are also some of the cafes  I want to visit if given a chance
I wanted to go here and have some juice just like the ones in Heirs and AGD

I saw this on the subway from Nami to find one in Seoul

I had coffee here last 2011 but would definitely want to visit again

I hope you enjoy reading and would really appreciate comments and feedback.