I like to say that if you can go two blocks without passing a coffee shop in Korea, then you might want to check Naver maps because you’re probably not in Korea. Anyone who’s been in the country for at least 24 hours can tell you how saturated the cities are with places to get a caffeine fix.
Having been a coffee shop enthusiast well before coming to Korea (being a writer, the two kind of go hand-in-hand,) I’m always on the lookout for the perfect place that will let me write and refill my mug over and over without judgement. In Chicago I frequented Atomix, in Columbus I’d go to Stauf’s, in Madrid Café Comercial (R.I.P./D.E.P.,) and in Gwangju Big Apple or any Angel-in-us with private sitting areas are the places I hit up.
But after moving to Busan, I’m on the lookout for my new go-to. I recently asked an expats group on Facebook for suggestions on good coffee shops either in Dongnae, Gwangan, or Seomyeon that were conducive to my writing process.* As luck would have it, quite a few recommended a place called Momo’s, which happens to be only a couple of stops on the subway from my neighborhood.
So I checked out Momo’s this past Sunday, and hwo boy – it did not disappoint!
When you exit Oncheonjang subway station exit 2, all you gotta do is turn your head to the right and you will see this:
At this point, you have two options: get your coffee to go from the window to the right, or enter the blissful temple garden to the left that will lead you to the café itself. Obviously, I chose to immerse myself in caffeinated serenity.
As you can see above, I ordered an americano and a scone. To my knowledge, you normally eat scones with tea. But, not being British or finding anything else appetizing, (surprisingly, most of the pastry selections on this day were vegetable-based,) I went with the fruitiest option. Despite not having tea, I used one of the forks to cut the scone in half, and then the other to smear the jam and clotted cream from the plastic cup onto the scone. Why am I telling you how I ate this scone in detail? Because I actually searched how to eat a scone with jam and clotted cream so that I wouldn’t look like a total ding-dong. And yes, I’m kind of embarrassed to tell you this, which probably makes me more of a ding-dong than skipping this detail altogether. (I’m a biscotti** girl, ok? There, snobbery reestablished.)
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Momo’s. The second floor, where I was clacking away at the laptop, was a bit noisy, but that was understandable given that I was there on a crowded Sunday. Plus, there seem to be little outdoor enclaves and patio seating equipped with space heaters that are sparsely used in the wintertime.
Between ordering americanos, I would explore the grounds, taking pictures on my phone and wishing I had brought my real camera. I imagined what situations each seating area would be perfect for – friend hangs, first dates, studying Korean, writing, recharging your phone – which is one great way to ensure that customers return to your coffee shop. When there’s such a variety of spaces in one place, then that offers the perfect establishment for virtually any need that a coffee shop can fulfill. Throw in some character on top of that and bam – it’s a hot spot.
As an added bonus, the restrooms (the women’s, at least,) have smart toilets, making your post-coffee poo that much more satisfying:
Since this is my first Coffee Shop Talk post, I figured I should establish a rating system. But rather than arbitrarily give “5 out of 5 espresso shots” or whatever, I’ve decided to rate the establishment based on how many americanos I ordered. In this case, I ordered and finished off…
One for atmosphere, two for a delightful scone, and three for the toilet we always wish to see when we’re traipsing around Asia.
Now, would I go again? Yes, yes I would. And I would happily bring anyone who comes to town to visit me, too.
Directions: Oncheonjang station (Line 1/Orange Line) Exit 2. Turn your head slightly to the right when exiting the station and you will see it.
Hours: 7:30 AM-10:30 PM
*My writing process: laptop, coffee, and being close to a functioning outlet.