Drinking coffee in Korea can be an expensive habit if you like to study, chat up a storm, or just chill. But luckily for you, we’ve found 8 places to get decent coffee in Korea without breaking the bank. Find out how you can get free refills for coffee, traditional Korean tea, ice cream in Korea, and even bread!
(click images for sources)
Back in one of Hongdae’s secret coffee alleys in Donggyo-dong (few blocks down exit #1), there’s a local hotspot that’s extremely popular with the local Hongdae residents. And with great outdoor seating, fantastic sandwiches, and free drip coffee refills, you can see why. They even have a wide range of high-end coffee such as Kenya AA, Columbia Supremo, and Ethiopia Sidamo. If that’s not enough, they have excellent fruit smoothies to kick! With free refills and excellent coffee, it’s an excellent and cost-efficient place to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Open: 8:00AM – 11:00PM (Sunday’s open at 10:00AM)
Address: 서울시 마포구 동교동 203-30 (click here for map)
(Seoul, Mapo-gu, Donggyo-dong 203-30)
Check out some pics from Korean Blogger 1 and Korean Blogger 2.
Tip 1: Saturdays and Sundays are quite busy.
Tip 2: Summer can be busy as the outdoor seating is pretty popular.
This refill specialty cafe in Incheon might very well be one of the most cost-efficient cafes in Incheon. For any drink ordered you can get refills of Americano (hot or ice) all day and night (open 10AM to 2AM). Not a fan of Americano? No problem, it’s still a relatively cheap Incheon cafe considering you can get any other drink for 1,000 won after your first order. Not bad! On top of that, they have a wide range of beverage selections. From fair trade coffee to traditional Korean teas to fresh fruit juice. Whatever you’re looking for, they probably got it.
If you’re going to locate you’re cafe in Apgu, you better be have some decent design. Good thing this ice cream cafe lives up to Apgujeong’s reputation. This is a spacious and surprisingly elegant cafe. Even better is they’re one of the few ice cream cafes in Korea that offer free refills! With free refills for yogurt ice cream (limit 1), grapefruit smoothies made on the spot, and an excellent green tea bing su, you should definitely check out this cafe in Apgujeong. Warning: you might not save THAT much money. Espresso drinks can go over 10,000 won.
With an icon that looks like she just came out of a comic book, this Korean cafe has a young student feel. Take a look at the pictures (see links below) and you’ll be shocked at the amount of notes pinned up to the wall. If you’re a couple that wants a semi-(too)cute couple experience, head over here to write each other cards for your 100th day (super Korean). They also offer free refills for any drink selection, which includes Korean teas.If you need more than that to tickle your fancy, order food, read comic books, or eat some free Korean snacks (과자)!
This Korean cafe is a chain frequented by many college students for its cost-saving refill system. For 5,500 won get a specialty drink, and several refills thereafter. The drinks aren’t anything to write home about. More than anything, it’s just a place to hang out in Korea with your friends or significant other. Pay a total of 11,000 won for a 3 hour coffee date and enjoy the free wifi and each other’s company. It’s a great place for thirsty people to just hang out and get some free wifi (hello, Korean college students!).
This Korean cafe caters to not only coffee and tea drinkers, but to hungry coffee and tea drinkers. In addition to being another cafe in Korea that offers free coffee and tea refills, it also offers unlimited servings of bread. Pick up any book to read while you head over to the self-service bar, where with any purchase you can drink to your heart’s content of coffee and tea and pile on three different types of bread to make up for missing your breakfast. Try not to go overboard though; they ask for 5,000 won for any left over/uneaten bread.
They have locations all over Korea. Check out their official website for all their official locations.
Maps for Seoul branches: Gangnam Station, Geondae, Noryangjin, Dapsimni, Shillim, Samcheong-dong, Wangsimni. Yeongdeungpo (in Times Square Mall)
Check out pics from Korean Blogger 1 and Korean Blogger 2.
Most of the free refill venues on this list offer free coffees. But coffee drinkers nowadays are so much more diverse than just the morning cup of joe. At another one of Hongdae’s back alley coffee streets, Cafe Jakiya not only offers free americano refills. They also let you drink free refills of the more expensive lattes and cappuccinos. If you like to sit and study for a few hours at a time, order a latte or cappuccino and choose any of the three for your refill (if you order americano, only americano refills). Sandwiches and cakes are also available.
Any list of cafes in Korea would be incomplete without a cafe from Seoul’s famous Samcheong-dong cafe street. On top of being on one of Seoul’s coolest cafe streets, it’s named after Dorothy of Wizard of Oz fame. Say hi to Lion and Tinman on your way in to get yourself some of their popular pecan pies. While you’re at it, get an americano (with refill) to wash it all down. If you’re not a fan of Wizard of Oz, maybe you’ll like their cool dog that just hangs out with the customers.
Tip: If you read Korean, check out this list of free refill cafes in Korea.
리필 (ripil) – refill
리필 주세요 (ripil juseo) – please give me a refill
Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com