It’s Children’s Day in Korea and the weather is sunny and absolutely beautiful. Everyone looks so happy and seem to literally be glowing as today is an official national holiday. Many are heading off to the Han River to go on picnics and bike rides, or even travelling out of the city for the long weekend. While I sit here trying to work on my thesis paper… After taking Moongchi out for a nice long walk, I kept dozing off in my room, so I decided to go out to a cafe and crash on my sister’s study date. Espressamente Illy near Gangnam Station (exit 9). I’ve been meaning to study at this cafe but never got around to, it’s pretty small and hidden away into a glossy building across from the fancy Samsung buildings. It’s about a five minute walk down from the subway exit and, thankfully, not too crowded and got really quiet around 4pm. YES. (The cafes by the main street out of exit 10 and 11 are almost impossible to study in, so packed and incredibly loud all.the.time.)
The hot cappuccino that I ordered was 4,700won (around USD4) and came out very smooth, creamy and deep but without tasting overly milky. Very satisfied with the flavor of their coffee! The barista seemed very patient and looked like he knew what he was doing. I will definitely be coming back for my study sessions here.
My sister and her friend Ale also ordered an iced latte (5,700won) and ice americano (5,300won) and both were satisfied despite the price. Strong and dark coffee. Their only complaint was maybe too much ice, but the coffee was good. Random fact about this place is that I really like their cup sleeve. Sleek, simple, solid – much thicker than the ones you find elsewhere. I will be taking it home to re-use it. Obviously looked like they invested some money in designing the sleeves.
In terms of the interior design and decor, it’s a very small joint, comfy seats and big chairs in the back, with red and white as their basic color scheme. Good music for studying, and perfect A/C for the weather that’s been warming up. I felt pretty cozy in the back, with powercord plug areas available and fast free wifi for studying. I loved the art piece they had up on the wall as well, in addition to their chandelier of espresso cups in the air by the entrance.
Seoul is filled with a ridiculous number of cafes. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say you can find at least three to five cafes on every block. But finding good coffee is another story. Many cafes have good location and are pretty and packed with people, but the coffee can be sub-par. Happy that they opened an illy joint here in Gangnam!