There certainly isn’t a shortage of coffee shops in Daegu. I recently counted 47 different establishments where I could grab a morning latte in the 15-minute walk between the front of my apartment building and the doorstep of my workplace. Forty-seven! Admittedly, some of these are hardly salubrious such as 7-Eleven and the run-down looking ‘Hot Dog and Coffee’. And that’s the thing about Daegu, whilst there is a coffee shop for about every fifty paces you walk, I’ve found there are only a few independent or small chains that manage to have that unique combination of an inviting ambience and strong espresso that Western java connoisseurs desire. So after extensive research, and a willingness to on occasion travel 45 minutes to visit such a place, I’m sharing with you my top places in Daegu for a cuppa.
Best for Downtown – RYU Coffee Roasters
Where else does your coffee come with a business card detailing tasting notes and the blend of beans used? RYU Coffee Roasters is the creme de la creme of cafes in Daegu for coffee snobs. In fact, it is the only coffee shop I’ve ever visited where I was greeted at the door as if entering an upscale restaurant, shown to my chosen seat and offered a bound menu of coffees to choose from. Selections include espressos, to lattes to hand-drip coffees. There is something on the menu for everyone. The team of baristas here are some of the best in the business regularly winning local and national contests, and it is evident in each cup served. But if the coffee doesn’t steal the show, then the ambience well. The old meets new dark, rustic interior is contrasted with industrial lighting and lilting music. The perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle downtown.
Address: 66-2 Gongpyeong-dong, Jung-gu. +82 53-425-3527. Additional outlets near Beomeo Station and on the 7th floor of Shinseage.
Best for Novelty – Whip
Probably the tiniest cafe in town and certainly the narrowest. It also has quite a cult following, so be prepared to line up and wait for ten minutes to indulge in Deagu’s most unique brew. The owners here top your double strong expression with slightly beaten whipping cream and serve with a cocoa dusted piece of artwork on top with designs ranging from flowers to smiling faces. The menu is limited to around a half dozen options including an Almond Mocha Viennese and a Royal Milk tea. It isn’t java as you know it, but worth the visit once for a totally unique experience.
Address: 47, Dongseongno 3-ga, Jung-gu.
Best for Natural Setting – Coffee Myungga at Apsan Mountain Cable Car
At the base of the Apsan Mountain Cable Car sits a coffee shop. One sip and I was hooked. Hooked enough that I occasionally sat on the bus for 45 minutes just to have a coffee in this setting. The lattes here are smooth and well-balanced and up there with the best roasts I’ve had in Daegu, particularly when made with their Dutch Coffee. But the real reason I like this coffee shop is for the ambience. Their wooden outdoor terrace backs up onto Apsan forest and is one of the most peaceful places in Daegu to relax and sip a latte. The coffee comes from Myungga Coffee, which although is now a national chain, first opened near Kyungbuk National University in 1990. With beans roasted by one of Korean’s coffee masters, and with a setting to while away the afternoon, it certainly is one of the nicest places to have a cup of coffee in town. Address: 454, Apsansunhwan-ro, Nam-gu
Address: 454, Apsansunhwan-ro, Nam-gu
Best for a Strong Cup – Omnipotent
New on the Daegu scene is Omnipotent near KNU Campus’s North Gate. After a year in the valley, I began to tire of the weak, single shot lattes Korean’s prefer and often had to travel far to get a strong cup of coffee that didn’t just taste of warm frothy milk. So I was jumping for joy when I say the old coffee shop on the corner close down and reopen with a new establishment. With a name like ‘Ominpotent’, it had to be good! I wasn’t disappointed. Serving smaller 8oz lattes, with double shots I had finally found a local coffee place where I could perk up before my first lessons of the day. For me, the best seat in the house here is the sofa looking out the picture windows onto the bustling college student filled street ahead.
Address: 1304-15 Sangyeok-dong, Buk-gu
Best for Freshness – Carthusia
With a roasting house on the opposite corner, this is about the freshest bean to cup you will get in town. This spacious cafe near KNU Hospital Station on the Green Line is also a perfect place to relax for several hours either working on your first novel or catching up with a group of friends. It has the added benefit of also serving cocktails, so if your afternoon cuppa rolls into evening, you don’t even have to move to continue your sociallising. Address: 291-1, Samdeok-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu. +053-427-7783
Address: 291-1, Samdeok-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu. +053-427-7783