One of my favorite things about exploring cafes is making those unexpected discoveries. Of course that also means I have to wade through some pretty lousy ones along the way but its the unanticipated gems that continue to inspire me. El Cafe was one of these finds and with a very ordinary facade, I wasn't expecting much when I walked in.
From the outside El Cafe looks like just another cafe in Seoul. With so many cafes and coffee roasters everywhere, its often difficult to distinguish between them. The only way to find out is to walk in and try the coffee. You would think that because a cafe roasts their own beans or does hand drip, they are instantly a good cafe but the truth is that many of these are very average. You can really tell when a cafe is carefully roasting their beans down to the last detail and when they are doing it just to say that they roast their own beans.
El Cafe stood out for me the moment I walked through their doors. They have a cozy cafe that has a roasting room in the back and a setup that reminds me of a small cafe you would be able to find in Europe. They serve a variety of coffee (including cup of excellence) and a small range of pastries and even alcohol. Its difficult to go into too much depth here since my Korean is limited and the barista spoke zero English. The website is also completely in Korean, so I don't know too much history about this place. I wish I could have asked a bit more about how the cafe started and about how and where they get their beans, but I hope the pictures give you enough reason to visit this cafe.
I had their latte and also tried a bag of their Classing Blending beans which I enjoyed with my aeropress at home. While the beans were good, they didn't jump out as anything too special. Maybe I need to go back and try one of their more seasonal blends in the future. Nonetheless they undeniably know their coffee and are definitely worth a visit. El Cafe is actually right by Coffee Conhas, which I wrote a review for last time. If you are ever in the area I would recommend trying them both.
More information on their locations and hours can be found here: http://www.elcafe.co.kr/service/helpdesk.php