02 May Manufact Coffee Roasters
It’s rare to be shocked when entering a cafe. From the outside Manufact looks like a model of a house placed on a concrete pillar, not entirely out of place among the photo studios and high-end restaurants in Apgujeong, but certainly not your typical ground-level cafe. As we walked up the winding concrete staircase of Queenmamamarket in Seoul’s wealthy Apgujeong district, I flipped through their instagram and saw their very nice-looking cold brew system over and over again so I expected it to be small and sparse with some nice accents as cafe often turn out to be, but when I opened their heavy metal door I was completely blown away. The ceilings of Manufact coffee are at least 20 feet high with wood panels over glass that case stripes over the bar. At one end of the room were several tables large enough for two people and their drinks. At the other was a deck with several three person tables, but by and large the cafe was for couples. One long table dominated the length of the space with seating for at least 30 people. Even still, space was at a premium because there was a near-constant stream of stylishly-dressed people emerging from the elevator. This made it really great for people-watching if you can get a good line of sight to the doors.
The coffee at Manufact was quite good. The flat white had a good wobble and it’s first taste of bitterness dissipated into a smooth dark chocolate, spurring me to try their cold brew the next time I come by. The pourover was excellent: a Nicaragua that was so light, clean and slightly citric with notes of green apple and a floral aroma. Their pourover technique was unusual and I think it might account for some of the smoothness. When making the coffee, it flowed down from the Hario v60 and into a ladder-like structure which aerated the coffee. I’ve never seen anything like it, but it made a fine cup of coffee so I think I will be seeing it around very soon. For all of the atmosphere, quality coffee and the fact that it’s Apgujeong, I had expected to spend maybe $7 on a cup, but a pourover was less than 4 and the flat white was less than 3! Good coffee in Apgujeong has arrived! Get there early, grab a seat on the balcony and spend your day looking out on the city.
Apgujeong, Queen Mama Market Location (reviewed)
50 Apgujeong-ro 46-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 4F
서울특별시 강남구 압구정로46길 50 4F
130-2 Yeonhui-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 서대문구 연희동 130-2