Namusairo is a tranquil cafe that serves excellent coffee. When I first stepped foot into their cafe, it felt like walking into some sort of zen garden. That is not something you hear everyday in Seoul. The front of their cafe is unassuming and if I hadn't been specifically searching for the cafe I would have totally missed it. They have a humble sign with the name of the cafe on it but other than that there is nothing that really stands out. It blends into the street, the same way people blend in on crowded trains.
Inside you are immediately greeted by the smell of coffee and the coffee counter where everything is prepared. I initially thought it was only this small space, but there is actually a lot of seating in the back. There's a small courtyard, the main seating area in the back and then a lot of really small spaces you can sit and relax in. Whoever designed Namusairo definitely had a clear intention but at the same time it feels as though they just planted some seeds and this beautiful cafe happened to grow. The name means "between the trees" and I can't think of a more fitting name.
Like many things in life, its often the ordinary things that surprise you. Namusairo is no different. A lot of cafes try to go for the simple feel and look, but never quite nail it. There's usually something a bit off in the design or something that just doesn't feel authentic, but Namusairo feels just right. Their designs and tastes all blend together into one flawless experience.
The coffee was good but the combination of the space and the coffee really enhanced everything. I only got to try their hand drip Ethiopia Yigacheffe Chelbessa but it was smooth and clean. I don't know what it was about this place but I felt like I was sipping on the water of life in an enchanted forrest. I mean, my daily morning cup of coffee also tastes like the water of life but this was different. I really wish I had tried some more of their coffees and in hindsight I should have really bought a bag of beans too. Ah well, next time.
I also don't know much about the neighborhood but from what I could tell, the area doesn't seem too busy. Its located in the Jongno district which also means nothing to me but to put it into foreigner in Seoul terms, you can walk to it from Gwanghwamun Station (which is what I did) or from Gyeongbokgung Station (much closer and what I should have done. see map below)
If you ever want to get out of Seoul for a few hours, check out Namusairo. Their space and coffee will take you to another place.
More information on their locations and hours can be found here: http://www.namusairo.com/src/contents/onepage.php?design_one_pages_id=2