Coffee Matters Most at Small Jeju Cafes
Even in the island of Jeju, there are cafes run by those with a genuine affection for coffee. Despite the limited business space, these cafes have customers forming a long waiting line on weekends. What matters the most to them is a taste of espresso and experience of the ambience unique to each cafe.
What will some of the criterias be for selecting a cafe while traveling around Jeju Island? Every traveler has a different preference or purpose in deciding where to have a little coffee break, be it the view of the ocean, family-friendly environment, photo spot, or the availability of local desserts and beverages. The five cafes we are about to present in this article have one thing in common. Coffee is their only selling point. Naturally the cafes offer a space dedicated to coffee lovers. No ocean-views. No big areas for an hour-long sitting. Still, people keep coming back to these cafes for coffee. In the case of a business run by the barista alone, it will close irregularly under circumstances, so make sure to check each cafe’s social media outlets to confirm its opening.

Located on a streetside in Aewol-ri, Aewol-eup, western Jeju, Jeremy is a small cafe quietly nestled among equally small moms and pops. For those who haven’t heard about it, it’s a small, ordinary cafe, but for the ones who know, it is a must-go place in Aewol-ri. With fewer than 10 chairs, a group larger than four people cannot sit inside. On the contrary, it is a great place to visit if you are traveling by yourself.
Your order of a hand-drip coffee comes back with coffee, water, milk, and sugar neatly arranged on a tray. There is no need for explanation as to what milk and sugar are for. The superior flavor of hand-drip coffee alone may be satisfactory in your opinion, but you end up making it into a latte by adding milk and sugar when about a third of your coffee is left in the mug.

Local people who seem to be regulars continue to make take-out orders. If anybody had this cafe in their neighborhood or near their work, the quality of life would be enhanced. Along with Aewol residents, there are many tourist-looking customers as well. You begin to wonder how in the world they all know about this little coffee corner and keep coming in. The place only has bar seating, so you can sit with your back turned against the waiting line and enjoy your joe. It is time to focus on coffee. Home-roasted beans are available for purchase.

Address 106-1 Aewol-ro, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju
Hours 09:00-17:30(Closed on Sundays & Mondays)
Instagram @jeremy_aewol
Goto Coffee Bar

Goto Coffee Bar is situated in a quiet and sequestered village in Aewol. At a glance, it is evident that the coffee bar was renovated from a residential house. After passing through the large front entrance topped with navy roofing tiles and crossing the nice little courtyard, you find yourself facing an unexpected scene. The floor-to-ceiling wooden interior style makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a tranquil cafe in a remote Japanese town. At the same time, the stained-glass window creates a cathedral-like ambience. The dark wood-tone and stained-glass details are enough to give you a subdued state of mind.

What used to be the living room now accommodates an L-shaped coffee bar. Two baristas work behind the bar. One makes espresso while the other works at drip coffee. Both taste superb. With drip coffee, you are allowed to test the flavor first before selecting the bean. Espresso is served with a delicate setup in case you want to add sugar. Usually coffee bars are expected to be narrow, but Goto Coffee Bar has a wide bar table. What was once a room now serves as a space for tables, giving customers enough space to comfortably drink coffee. Restrooms are separated for men and women despite the limited size of the house. Along with the superb quality of coffee, the attention to details including the coffee mugs, tableware, layout of the space, and even the gender-specific restrooms are noteworthy.

Address 56, Gueom-dong 3-gil, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju
Hours Daily 11:00-19:00
Instagram @goto_coffeebar
Island Zorba

Island Zorba is a place you cannot leave out when discussing the history of cafes in Jeju Island. Located in Woljeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Island Zorba became instantly famous among travelers after opening its business. Over a decade ago, it relocated to a quieter village of Pyeongdae-ri and had a remodel once later. After it was featured in a food program on TV, Island Zorba had yet another surge in the number of visitors, and went through many changes due to its fame. Surprisingly, however, the cafe maintains its calmness. Regardless of the time of visit, it offers a relaxing ambience. It is thanks to the energy of the owner barista who has unchanging, sincere attitudes toward coffee. The barista is also in charge of making lemon coffee, dangyuja-ade, chai, and misugaru(multigrain powder drink) along with espresso and hand drip coffee. All the beverages on the menu are created based on the owner’s knowhow from years of running a cafe business and are surely going to be gratifying to your senses.

Even a single ingredient does not get selected without a reason at Island Zorba. It uses unrefined sugar. Its dangyuja-ade is made at home also with unrefined sugar. Its vanilla syrup is homemade as well using vanilla beans. Lemon pound cake, a frequent appearance on the menu, is home-baked using local organic lemons and premium butter. Its coffee is brewed from home-roasted fair trade beans, and is available for purchase on the cafe’s online shop, where you can also find superior-quality drip bag coffees.

Address 9 Daesu-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju
Hours 10:00-18:00(Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays)
Instagram @islandzorba
Urban Brewing

Urban Brewing is a small cafe located on a streetside that has an atmosphere befitting its name. The cafe uses a space that was once a laundromat, and sits across from Jeju Gwandeokjeong Hall in the old downtown of Jeju. Its coffee beans are chosen among worldwide specialty roastery products and poured over a Chemex dripper. A one-day hand-drip class is also held at the cafe.

The day’s available beans are displayed in a corner of the cafe, so customers can test them before they order coffee. You can also buy coffee beans. To have easy access to the variety of beans from all over the globe in an island south of the Korean Peninsula is such a refreshing and pleasing experience. It gives you an excuse to thoroughly test out the sample beans before making an order. In addition to the Chemex brew, Urban Brewing also offers coffee granita and dalgona cream latte. Although there are seats in the inside of the cafe, it’s better to grab a chair right outside the building on a clear day and enjoy drinking coffee while admiring Gwandeokjeong across the street as well as old city alleys. After that, you can safely say that you truly had a good time at Urban Brewing.

Address 16-1 Gwandeok-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju
Hours Daily 09:00-18:00
Instagram @urbanbrewing.official
Roller Coast

Finally a good coffee bar has opened in Hamdeok. Despite the fact that Hamdeok Beach is one of the top tourist spots in Jeju Island, the majority of cafes there are franchised ones or large businesses. It has been rather hard to find a cafe prioritizing the flavor of coffee. So the news of a small coffee bar launching in Hamdeok, a ‘coffee wasteland’ so to speak, spread quickly.
The place is named Roller Coast, inspired by geographical traits near Hamdeok Beach. The concept behind the name originated from the unique landscape where the beach and the mountain merge, like a roller coaster. One slight variation is the use of ‘coast’ instead of ‘coaster’. Looking out from the cafe, you get a wide view of Seoubong Peak, palm trees, and the ocean. The blue exterior wall of the cafe also resembles the Hamdeok sea.

Its menu is rather simple, consisting of espresso, americano, caffe latte, cappuccino, and vintage cream latte. You will blurt out “Delicious!” before you even realize it once you have a sip of Roller Coast coffee. For a dessert, the cafe only carries home-baked egg tarts. The freshness of egg adds to the savoriness when combined with coffee.

Address 592-4 Johamhaean-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si
Hours 10:00-17:00(Closed on Sundays)
Instagram @cafe.rollercoast

Where to Stay in Jeju: LOTTE HOTEL JEJU
Located in Jungmun Tourist Complex, LOTTE HOTEL JEJU is a resort hotel with 500 rooms. Inspired by ‘The Palace of the Lost City’ in South Africa, the hotel blends in perfectly with the beautiful surroundings of Jeju, creating an exotic atmosphere. All-day dining restaurant THE CANVAS serves over 140 dishes prepared with the freshest local ingredients hand-picked by hotel chefs. The all-season, warm-water pool and Hello Kitty character room are among various features that make LOTTE HOTEL JEJU such a popular destination for families and couples.

Address 35, Jungmungwangwang-ro 72beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju Island
Phone +82-64-731-1000
May 2023 Editor:Lee Hyunjung
Writer:Jung Daun
Photographer:Park Doosan

Where to stay?

  • May 2023
  • Editor: Lee Hyunjung
    Writer: Jung Daun
  • Photographer: Park Doosan
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