by Michael Jones
Today I discovered another great coffee shop. The name of the shop is 5CIJUNG and I went to the location in Samcheongdong, which is a really nice neighborhood near Gyeongbokgung. I ordered an iced caffe latte (7,000) and my girlfriend ordered the same thing. Every drink you order comes with a scone, and they are delicious. Actually, it was the best scone I've had since moving to Seoul last year. The scone was flaky, moist, and was just a tad sweet. The butter and jam that came on the side were also delicious. Additionally, the cafe latte might be the best one I've had in Seoul. The steamed milk was good, but I could still taste more of the coffee. A lot of coffee shops in Seoul add too much milk, use weak coffee, or sometimes both, and the drink you end up with is basically milk flavored coffee. After a nice morning hike, the latte was perfect. After being blown away by the scones, we decided to order a desert as well. We chose the Fondant au Chocolat (8,300) and it was mind-blowing. It took about 20 minutes to prepare, but it was absolutely worth it. On the plate you get a small bowl of bananas and grapes, smooth vanilla ice cream, and the Fondant au Chocolat, a small chocolate cake filled with warm chocolate filling. The chocolate percentage was 66%, not incredibly dark, but it tasted fresh and it was outstanding. The interior of the shop is cozy. The walls are white, there is a lot of wooden furniture and accents, there is minimal artificial lighting, and a lot of natural light. A good thing in my opinion, since some coffee shops in Seoul seem more like nightclubs than a good place to enjoy coffee and conversation. I would consider 5CIJUNG the perfect cafe to study at, go on a date, or to simply indulge on a great cup of coffee. The prices are slightly expensive, but the coffee and food are of the utmost quality. This could definitely be a once a week kind of place for me. I hope you try it sometime. Stay thirsty.
Go to Anguk Station (line 3) Exit 6
In about 50 yards take a right at the crosswalk
You will walk straight for a while (It's a nice walk though)
You will pass lots of shops, restaurants, the occasional street musician
When you get to the Street Churros on your right keep going straight across the road
Then take a left at the Kiehl's store
Walk down that street until it gets to the main road
Cross the main road and then walk to the right (slightly uphill)
The coffee shop will be on your left side at the back of a parking lot
And across the street from the sunflower and hot air balloon mural
Sorry for the long directions, but the journey is worth it. Enjoy the coffee.
Coffee is everywhere in Seoul. On any given street, there might be 10 different coffee shops and this is normal. On top of that, Seoul is also home to the most Starbucks stores in the entire world. At the moment, there are about 300 stores in Seoul. As Korean people start to enjoy coffee more and more, the number of shops increase daily as people try to cash in on the coffee craze. Normally I would say more coffee is a good thing, but in a sea of coffee shops many are not serving high-quality coffee. Many coffee shops care far more for design, and ambiance, than the quality of the coffee. Fortunately, in the midst of many mediocre coffee shops, Seoul also has truly great ones. EP3 Black Essence, near Gyeongbokgung, is one of these shops. I'm sort of addicted to coffee, so during the last year I traveled throughout Seoul trying to find the best coffee. Out of my caffeine-fueled explorations, however, I have discovered only a handful of places that have really blown me away and EP3 is in this elite group. The easiest way to get to EP3 is to take the subway to Gyeongbokgung Station and take exit 2. All you have to do is walk straight, and the shop is about 5 minutes down the road on your left. The interior of the shop is dark and modern. Coffee drip towers are everywhere, and it sort of looks like a defense against the dark arts classroom. Bags of fresh coffee beans sit piled next to roasters and grinders, and the smell of freshly ground coffee fills the air. I have been to EP3 at least 5 times, but I always order either the dutch café latte or dutch coffee. In South Korea, dutch coffee is more common than cold brew coffee. Both brewing methods, however, produce excellent tasting coffee if executed correctly. Unfortunately, a lot of places don’t serve any sort of iced coffee, let alone dutch coffee or cold brew. I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into a coffee shop, asked if they have iced coffee, been stared at as if I was confused, and then told yes we have Ice Americano. As most of you know, these two drinks are completely different. Both of them are cold, but that’s where the similarities end. The dutch coffee at EP3 is incredible, but it’s very strong. The coloration is a deep dark brown and the mouthful reminds me of chocolate milk. The taste is strong, the aroma is strong, but the overall experience is wonderful. Many coffee shops in Seoul serve watered down, weak coffee. Discovering EP3 and drinking truly strong coffee for the first time in months was like having an epiphany. I almost forgot what good coffee tasted like. If you like great coffee, EP3 is a must visit.
Take the subway to Gyeongbokgung Station (Line #3)
Leave from exit #2
Walk straight for about 5 minutes
EP3 will be on your left