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A window into my Seoul: shedding light on a good macchiato

December 21, 2008

For a while I thought the caffeine trail in Seoul had almost dried up. Not because of a lack of coffee houses, but of the lack in what I would call  “quality”.  In quality I mean rich, smooth coffee with body. Coffee that warms you on its way down, without burning your esophagus; or cleaning the enamel off your teeth as it enters your mouth. Coffee strong and dark, where you can’t see the bottom of the cup.

Salon de Factory in Hongdae’s artisan hub is a gem that delivers good coffee consistently. And it’s time I blogged about it. By day Salon de Factory is a “culture cafe” and at the stroke of 6 (pm) it turns into a lounge bar. Whatever it labels itself as,  it is a place where the charming barristers come barmen, know how to grind, press, and froth to produce a quality macchiato.  Someone should bottle and market these talented individuals to the rest of Seoul’s cafes.

To get to de Factory from street level, you wind your way carefully down a small discouraging set of  stairs (heels be warned). It doesn’t look much when you peer in, but behind the glass door de Factory’s culture cafe comes alive. It’s spacious with built-in sofas (wall to wall) and soft lounge music, aimed at taking the weight off your feet and settling you in for a while.

It is by no means a glamorously designed place, in fact it is very much the stereotypical Hongdae cafe. Eclectically furnished by cheap retro renditions on top of a concrete floor. Yet it does have one eye-catching feature that, being a light fixture kind of person, I had to shoot.

by Cate

by Cate

by Cate

by Cate

Being in the basement, de Factory’s lack of natural lighting has been cleverly supplemented by a quaint mix of table lamps. I was drawn to the warm hues bounced from this lamp. It felt like being in a cigar bar than a cafe.

by Cate

by Cate

These twisted cords, naked bulbs, and coloured shades are simple but effective, shedding just enough light onto my macchiato.

by Cate

by Cate

The best time to visit de Factory for coffee is in the afternoon during the week. It’s quiet and generally smoke free. Yes unfortunately it’s a smokers haven. But like most large sized eateries and bars here, the extractor fans are powerful enough to suck off false eyelashes: you don’t actually notice the smoke. And remember –  the coffee is worth the trip.

Salon de Factory is not the easiest place to find.Take subway line number 2 to Hongdae, head towards Hongdae University, then ask for directions (address below).

Salon de Factory

B1 363-20 Seogyo Dong, Mapo gu

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. Bear permalink
    December 22, 2008 11:07 am

    I’m glad you found a place with nice coffee 🙂

  2. December 24, 2008 2:30 am

    Thanks. It took a while, after sifting through places that have good interior but bad coffee or bad interior and bad coffee, or good everything but smokey.
    Happy Christmas

  3. December 25, 2008 5:35 pm

    You are the greatist!

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