One day in Seoul, our friend Jihye Ha and her cute little daughter Sophia took us for lunch at Mama’s and then for a coffee at her favorite coffee shop in Seoul, called Terarosa. Seoul has hundreds of coffee shops, as the Koreans have become real coffee aficionados (more on Korea and coffee in a later post). But, it turns out that this particular one is pretty famous, as we discovered when we opened the newest Wine Spectator (Oct 15, 2015).
Mark Pendergrast, author of “Uncommon Grounds”, a history of coffee, has an article in the magazine “The Scene in Seoul”. He discusses the coffee culture in Korea and focuses on Terarosa, which he calls “a small, upscale Korean coffee chain.” To date, Terarosa has 10 shops in Korea, three of them in Seoul. He went to visit the Terarosa we were in and was as charmed as we were.
This Terarosa is near the historic royal palace Gyeongbokgung and is quite large by Korean standards, with a lot of seating, and big windows making it very light. It was packed when we were there, but a server obligingly found an extra chair and a stool for us. There are many books on shelves (for borrowing), a huge coffee bar area where the baristas work their magic, and a full gourmet kitchen that serves all kinds of salads, sandwiches, breads, pasta dishes, and desserts. Dotted around as decorations are antique coffee grinders and brewers that the founder and owner, Kim Yong-duck, has collected on his trips to Europe.
It’s bustling and busy with a warm, friendly atmosphere and people obviously like to linger. The coffee was great too.