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A while ago we did a video about our Favorite Korean Coffee Shop in Seoul. Since then we’ve been to many many coffee shops in search of new unique and comfy hang out spots. We honestly spend a good chunk of our lives in coffee shops as we love to edit our movies in a bustling artsy atmosphere. Also because we’re just artsy fartsy people…who spend most of their time in coffee shops. Anyhow, we’d like to talk more about these shops, since they’re such a big part of our living in Korea.

What we want to say about Coffee in Korea, first of all, is that things are different here from what we’re used to. Back when we were in University, we would spend hours at our local Starbucks in Toronto. They had a chill atmosphere, with comfortable couches and fireplaces and decent music. We’d bring our books and laptops and work and study there with other local students until it closed.

Here in Korea, though, the major chain coffee shops aren’t the same. They’re crowded– a looooot more crowded. Chairs and tables are crammed together so as to fit as many people in there as possible. They’re not comfortable, and – unfortunately – the coffee is different here as well.

To begin with, you can’t really get a plain cheap “coffee.” Drip coffee is both uncommon and expensive. Only Starbucks and some Dunkin Donuts serve drip coffee, but because it’s not popular, it’s usually old or really reallllly weak. I’m talking, transparent coffee. If you want hand dripped coffee you can find it, but it’ll cost you: around $5.00 – $6.00 for a teacup of coffee. Hand dripped coffee is delicious at the right location, but it’s finished quickly and too expensive to get a second cup.

The drink of choice in Korea is Americanos (espresso + hot/iced water). It’s almost the only thing most Koreans order, so in Martina’s personal opinion (she is actually a trained coffee shop barista) the other Espresso based drinks are neglected. Milk is steamed without a thermometer (horror!!!!) and the foam is so airy that it goes flat faster than a soufflé on a trampoline. Did we also mention the price? Espresso based drinks begin at $4.00 and go up to $6.50, so it really upsets me to get a cappuccino made with no foam. So how can you find a good coffee shop in Korea?

You’ve got to head to the indie coffee shops instead. From what we’ve noticed, the people working there are really obsessed with coffee and it’s been their dream to open up a good shop. The ones that aren’t part of a big corporation are run by people passionate about coffee. That’s where you’ll get the good stuff. And, what’s more, these indie coffee shops have such a cool vibe that we’ll gladly sit at them for hours.

Today we’re introducing one of our favorite indie coffee shops. It’s right here in Bucheon (woot woot!) and we hope you come check it out. It’s Bucheon’s Café Lua, and it rocks


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It’s sandwiched between Bucheon City Hall and Central Park. You’ll see apartments on the corner, and Café Lua will be on the first floor. If you’d like, call them at 032-326-2241. Yeah!

In the future, we plan on highlighting a few other shops that we like as well. If you have any coffee shops you think we should check out, please let us know! We get all dorky excited over stuff like this! Thanks go out again to JB and Annie from [닉쑤] Enjoy Your Happy Life~* for the Korean subtitle translations! Bless em!

Oh, and since some people have asked for the music for our videos, here’s the link to the song for this video, if you’re interested:
Cafe Lua by simonandmartina

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  1. The music in the video reminds me to Junsu’s Tarantallegra. :D

  2. That drink they were making looked really good…if anyone is reading this later, I’m sorry if I end up writing something stupid, I’m a bit out of it from lack of sleep….-_-

  3. Helloo! 
    First I want to say that I really love your videos! 
    About this one…just wondering who runs this coffee shop? I’m asking this because the name is Portuguese (Like me xD) 

  4. thank you so much for this post! i’m going to south korea in april (for holidays!) and coming from melbourne (australia) and being a coffee snob (unfortunately…) i was pretty worried when i heard my friends’ stories about the lack of different coffee in seoul/south korea!! but this post has restored my faith back (in finding that decent cup of coffee in south korea)

    i’m actually crawling through korean food video section to do my ‘research’ on what to eat when i’m there! thanks a bunch guys! keep up the great work :)

  5. Kayley Suk

    At some places, there are really cheap coffees at machines, but there’s only tiny cups, not sure if they’d be suitable to your taste, and not exactly sure if they’re in a ton of places. But they ARE 300 won. Which I think is really cheap, even with the current exchange rate…

  6. jericho98

    i neeed to go there

  7. Hi Guys! I’m from Chile and I’ ve been seeing your videos since the first ones and this remains one of my favorites. Really high quality work here. I just did spanish subtitles for this one so I’d like to send them to you. What’s your email?.

    See ya!

  8. Great video! I have to say that I drink a lot more coffee here in Korea than I did at home. We live in a small city without much access to foreign food, so coffee is the only treat we really get. Our town has Art Expresso, which I like but my new favourite is Angels-in-us in the next city over because they sell sandwiches (which we also can't get in our city).

    Just wondering where that cat cafe is. My husband loves cats and really misses them. I fear he's going to get rabies some day from the feral cats outside. (Dear, don't touch the kitties!) I would love to bring him there so he can get a safe 'fix'.

  9. oh goodness–i like to drink coffee every morning–do i need to bring a coffee maker and coffee to korea?

  10. Hi Guys! I've been following your work since the first videos I think, and it's amazing how the quality has imporved over the years. I love making videos too. I'd like to ask you 2 things:

    1) The English subtitles are being done by yourself in youtube itself? You transcript everything or you use some kind of speech recognition software like Adobe Soundbooth?
    2) Could you make a video with the 'making of' your videos? How you edit, what softwares you use, etc.

    I know how to use some profesional editing tools, however your transitions and titles are always really good and pro, and I can't get those kind of transitions just clicking and dragging. I know some softwares have these nice transitions by default (I use Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas).

    Any way, thanks for your videos and your work and I wish you had an excellent 2011 year!

    Greetings from Chile!

    • Thanks Christian! Glad you like our vids. As for your questions:

      1) We do them manually. Watch the video, listen to a line, pause the video, go to text editor, write out the line, go back to video, rinse, repeat. It's boring. Reaaaallly boring.
      2) Someone else just asked about that recently. I think once we get some of our bigger projects out of the way we'll do a video about our workflow and such. Yeah! We use Final Cut Pro now for most of our projects, fyi, and it's been a pain to learn. Ahhh!

      • Hi guys, thanks for answering!
        Perhaps you already know this website, but If it's being a pain to learn this fancy softwares to edit, I really recommend you to take some video tutorials from Lynda.com. They have video tutorials to use software and it's really good, they have different levels and I learnt some Adobe tools from their tutorials. Here you can find several courses to learn how to use Final Cut Pro (http://www.lynda.com/company/106-apple)
        They can save you a lot of time!

        SALUDOS y Abrazos,

        Cristian

        • Yeah, we know about Lynda. Unfortunately, we're not really good learners like that. We get bored really easily. We're more like "hey lets push all the buttons on this program and see what they do. Oh god! That deleted everything! Undo undo! Ooh what's this button do? Oh, that's cool." We usually Google something if there's an effect we want that we can't recreate through blindly pushing buttons. Otherwise, we just learn through trial and error.

  11. Hello, this place sounds awesome! I'm a newcomer to S. Korea and still don't know my surroundings. If possible, can someone please tell what the closest subway stop is to the cafe and walking directions to it from the subway?

    • The closest subway stop is Songnae Station, on line 1. You can't walk from there, though, because it'll probably take you too long. From Songnae you can take a bus in the second loop that goes to Hyundai Department Store. Get off at the park, which is the stop before Hyundai Department Store. Walk around the edge of the park towards City Hall. You'll see Café Lua on the bottom floor of the apartments beside City Hall.

      Or, if you're afraid to get lost on the bus (because it can be confusing) get in a taxi from Songnae and ask for Bucheon City Hall and Central Park. They'll drop you off in front of the coffee shop. It'll cost 2,600 won or so for the ride :D

  12. Kevin Kim

    First of all, thank you for useful info. I actually didn't find a good and comfortable cafe compared cost to quality after coming back to Korea. I will try out cafe lua next time. It is fortunatley near by my home. thx again :D

  13. yojennizzle

    Are those keyboard stickers on Martina's Mac? Do they make them specifically for Macs?

  14. Chris Dyllan

    Hi guys, would you share the music? It's great!

  15. thanks for posting videos about indie coffee shops! I won't be in Korea until Fall 2011/Winter 2012, but i'm glad i know in advance where the good spots are for lounging/studying/making lesson plans!

  16. Hey, I was wondering what song you used for this video? It's awesome. Love you guys, btw

  17. Hey guys. I saw you in Running Man, Koren TV show. I'm surprised and glad to see you. :D

  18. I gotta say, your artistic abilities really shine in this video!

    This seem like one of those very Korean-esque commercials, not the ones that make no sense have have over-exaggerated random dancing, but the ones that are kind of dreamy and simple =D

  19. blueangel

    Love your post. I really want to go there now try their coffee-oh wait, i'm not in korea right now. But i could put it one my 'places to visit while in korea' list. Love coffee shops so i'll be looking forward to your other coffee shop videos.

  20. Question for you: how difficult is it to buy your own home coffee maker? I'm a coffee aficionado as well, and I LOVE coffee shops buuut…though I don't doubt that the baristas are good at what they do, sometimes I'm so particular about the way I want my coffee that it's easier to make it myself.

  21. i'm gonna make the chorus to everyone else here, 'cause i love your videos: it's fun, entertaining and very informative!! ;)
    it's very easy and pleasant to learn about korea at eatyourkimchi! :D
    i love this movie about the korean cafes, even not being such a coffee fan (i wonder if it happens because i don't really knows coffee :p)!
    are the owners of café lua brazilian? 'cause to me it seems the cafe's name is writen in brazilian portuguese!!! xD

  22. whirofthesun

    There is nothing more that I love than wandering around Seoul (especially Hongdae, oh man oh man) and scoping out all the amazing cafes. I love the cafe culture here :)

  23. hi simon and martina, very impressive video! it was buffering every seconds but still…. i kept watching!! do drop by if you’re in th bundang area again. i’m wondering if you’ve done a video on the wellington boot craze in korea? martina, yours were particularly fetching:) hope tosee you soon. nick and lia cafe london, dankook university

  24. Jasmine O.

    Loved the video! I was a bit disappointed to find out it was in Bucheon and not in Seoul, but it will definitely be a place to visit if I ever get a chance to go over there!
    You guys have inspired me, so I think I'm going to start blogging about all the cafes/restaurants I go to in Seoul :)
    Keep up the great work!

    PS. I went to the cat cafe you guys mentioned in another video and LOVED it! One opened up near my house now so I've been going there a lot to study and take pictures :)

  25. Coffee Lab in Hongdae — heavenly. owned and operated by a guy who runs a barista hagwon in Seoul (6 month program). he also wholesales freshly roasted beans to indie coffee shops and recently imported a $100,000 roaster from Italy that just arrived at Pusan port. check it out!
    (p.s. you guys are delightful in your videos. fun stuff.)

  26. I totally agree! I never wanted to go there like crowded and loud coffee shops.
    There was my favorite coffee shop right in front of my workplace(in Busan). That was also indie shop.
    There was always good music. And coffee was cheap as well. The most expensive one was only 3500 won.
    I really miss it!!!!!!!

  27. meralys

    this is nice guys. I hope i get to visit Korea someday? Do you guys live there permanently?

  28. Oh gosh that place totally looks like Heaven. Home made coffee and waffles? Omg. I so wanna hop on a plane to Korea right now and go get me some. The place looks amazing and reminds me of "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince" haha. That's what I first thought of when seeing it. But looks great!! If I lived there I would be a regular for sure and I haven't even tasted anything haha. Just hearing that it's all home made sold me.

  29. Seriously you two, the photography and editing skills in your videos have gotten ridiculous. Beyond your great personalities – which is still the main attraction – I get such a vivid sense of Cafe Lua's atmosphere and character. I admire the pro-level work, please keep it up!

  30. that was a really nice video… all the drinks look yummy and the shop looks awesome!

  31. furusek

    honestly, I haven't ever been to a coffee shop like this in my life – another reason to come to Korea!
    I need to have a good coffee… >_<

  32. I totally agree with you guys.

    If i were in Korea, I wouldn't go to Starbucks or other big chain of coffee shop for coffee nor spending my time.
    There are always packed and noisy. I don't like that… In Canada, however, it is different story like you said above.

    This place looks awesome. Sure that there are many other indie shops like this. But you gotta find out. ha~

  33. Wow! This coffee shop looks fantastic. I never tried drinking coffee when I was in Korea because the price is a bit high compared to the price from our country and I don't want to spend money on something that I could get for a lower price. hehe! However, I have to say that the interior of the Dunkin Donuts store there definitely looks better than ours.

    I have to commend the editing. It was really nicely done and you really took a lot of effort in recording those artsy clips. By the way, whenever you do this videos, do you ask the owner if you could record them? Because some of your shots were really detailed like when they make the batter and the coffee. Just curious. :D

    Oh, lastly, I would like to say that your video about using the subway there in Korea really helped me. I watched it before I went there because I was really nervous when I went there alone. Really,감사합니다.

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