27 Jan Ikovox Coffee
Ikovox in Seoul’s Sinsa neighborhood is a calm stop between the expensive boutiques that line Garu-su Gil. The space itself is designed to fit as many people as possible, but considering the size and the location it’s understandable. Your time in Ikovox will not be long, but it will be pleasant. Each indoor table is more like a perch large enough for a drink and a piece of cake, but that’s all you really need. There isn’t much decoration to speak of aside from the walls that goes from a seafoam to white. Even though Sinsa is a dessert paradise, what sets Ikovox apart from other shops is their cheesecake and brownies. If you’ve lived in Korea for a while I’m sure you’ve had those “cheesecakes” or “brownies” that have been whipped and fluffed into a mild pillow, but Ikovox keeps their baked goods dense to go with their strong-tasting coffee.
The coffee at Ikovox wasn’t anything too special, but it’s definately a step above most shops you will find in Sinsa. Their espresso, which was about $5, was thin and earthy without much of a crema. From the changes I’ve noticed, it seems like Ikovox is trying to branch out by offering beer and other late-night fare. While this is smart for the Sinsa area, I think they need to work on their basic espresso first. There’s plenty of places in Sinsa to grab an expensive mediocre drink, especially since the craft beer scene has exploded in Seoul, but I think that Sinsa needs more quality coffee and Ikovox is on the cusp. If you’re looking for some more atmosphere, their location in Itaewon has a bit more elbow room and the quality of their pour over was much better.
I’d hate to be the type of person to get nostalgic, but I feel like Ikovox was better two years ago. Back then their baristas wore very cumbersome leather aprons, they didn’t have beer or chocolate. It seemed like they were more focused on becoming a leader in craft coffee in Seoul and they had a decent chance. One of the troubles with specialty coffee is that you really have to go all in. The best coffee shops don’t do much else aside from coffee and so they can sell their beans for way more. Ikovox occupies a middle ground where they won’t be moving into a new shopping center or department store like the wave of high-end specialty shops that has recently emerged in Seoul, but as long as they keep their brownies and cheesecake I can’t stay away for too long.
Atmosphere: – Social, small
Beans: – Roasted in Seoul
Price: – $$ (Average for Sinsa)
534-10 Sinsa-dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul, , 135-120, South Korea
용산구 이태원로27가길 54-3
Itaewon 1 dong, Seoul, 140-863, South Korea