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