11 Apr Coffee Lab

Seoul’s Hongdae neighborhood  is absolutely saturated with coffee shops of every  kind. From the gimmicky cat cafes to cheap 24 hour study chains, there is no shortage of space to stop and drink your fill, but here at the Coffee Chaser we are interested in quality and the first shop that comes to mind in Hongdae is Coffee Lab. Granted we are not the only one to feel this way, so why review it all? We have visited Coffee Lab and it’s little brother Coffee Lab Express, more than any other cafe in Seoul. It’s the deliciously smooth espresso which showed Laura that coffee doesn’t have to be bitter.

coffee lab seoul hongdae review exterior directions

If you do decide to stick around, please appreciate how bare the white painted walls are relative to the tornado of vinyl stickers and posters from 1300k.com or gmarket.com found in many Korean coffee shops. For me, Coffee Lab is a very peaceful place where your eyes can relax away from the visual noise of the city. Also, put your hands on the bottom of the tables: they are covered in a layer of packing foam to diffuse sound! A genius touch to making an otherwise echoing cafe an oasis.

coffee lab seoul hongdae interior design

coffee lab seoul hongdae espresso machine interior

For decoration, Coffee lab has a flock of portafilters hanging from the ceiling and a wall of plaques documenting the accomplishments of their baristas. I don’t read too much into certifications because the proof is in the coffee.:My espresso has always been sweet and smooth and my milk steaming into a thick whorl.

coffee lab seoul hongdae review interior

coffee lab seoul hongdae whole beans ceiling

Like any cafe in Seoul, the prices are fairly expensive. The macchiato you would get in the US for $2.50 is about $5 and a latte is $5.50. However, if you don’t care about soaking up the dim and minimal atmosphere, there is a $2 discount on takeout and a considerably cheaper Express location closer to Hongdae’s main drag. I’m pretty sure they send their best baristas to the Express location because I have never had a drink that has been less than excellent.

coffee lab seoul hongdae macciato review

In contrast to their in-house drinks, Coffee Lab’s whole beans are incredibly cheap at $12 for 200g. They tend to be a little darker than I usually like, but I know for a fact that their espresso blends are very good and their signature Mad Scientist blend is very nice as well. they do espresso well enough that I’m looking forward to brewing some of their other beans on my own.

Atmosphere:  Minimal, Serene
Beans: Roasted Seoul, South Korea
Price: $$$

327-19 Seogyo-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 327-19

 Google Map

coffee lab seoul hongdae map directions hongik


Take line 2 to Hongik University Station (Hongdae)

Exit out of Exit 8 and take immediate right

Turn left at first roundabout

Turn right at second roundabout

Walk for about 5 minutes; Coffee Lab will be on the left-hand side



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