Did you know, on average, South Koreans consumes about 367 cups of a year?
If you didn’t, neither did I! And you would be happy to hear that a cup of iced americano (South Korean’s most favorite drink) can cost as low as 1,500 won from chain stores like Mega Coffee, Compose Coffee, and PAIK’s Coffee.
What about Specialty Coffee?
Despite the consumption of coffee in South Korea, it can be quite tricky to find specialty coffee (especially filter coffee) in the city, especially in Daejeon as Google Maps are not frequently used by local Koreans, they use Naver or Kakaomaps instead!
Furthermore, when you try to search cafes or coffee in their Naver or Kakao, they would show you every single store that sells coffee (even if its in a vending machine) or classified as a store that is classified as a “cafe”, making it really troublesome to search for specialty coffee.
However you can get around this by searching for the correct terms. For example, where do you usually source for coffee beans? The roasters! What kind of coffee is usually brewed with specialty coffee beans? Filter coffee! With this, I came out with some keywords you can use to search for specialty coffee in your area!
Keywords to search on Naver/Kakao Maps:
1) Coffee Roaster (커피 로스터)
2) Hand drip coffee (핸드드립 커피)
3) Filter coffee (필터 커피)
Here are some cafes that I personally recommend if you are planning to embark your journey in KAIST (Daejeon)
Slowalk is a café that specializes in filter coffee. This is easily my favorite café out of the entire bunch as the barista is not only really helpful in explaining the details about the coffee despite the language barrier, they offer a really unique coffee that tasted like rum as it had an unique rum barrel fermenting process.
However, I was unable to visit often as it was quite a bit of distance from KAIST.
Moving on to second place, near KAIST, there is a café called Café Salim, they have a variety of origins to choose from (One of the biggest I have seen in Daejeon) and a really friendly barista showing me brewing techniques used in South Korea.
Next, there is Black Desk. Black Desk is owned by a barista that has won multiple coffee awards through his 10 years of brewing coffee experience. The barista is really passionate about his techniques, ideology and roasting process of his coffee!
There was a Panama Geisha roast that tasted like jasmine, blew my mind till today. However, it is quite a bit of distance away from KAIST.
Lastly, there is Gabae Roasters. They are located really close to KAIST and have cheap coffee beans from 8,000 won for 150g
It is by far the cheapest and best price to quality hand drip coffee I seen in Daejeon and as a plus point, they offer a big area that can be used as study space (power ports included)