Good Brews at Buam-dong: Club Espresso

club espresso Hawaian coffee

Perhaps it was the sweet and long-lasting aroma of the coffee that keeps me going back to the same café. For the past 5 years, I witnessed the evolution of Club Espresso, the cafe that first introduce me to the coffee drinking culture in South Korea. It is also the cafés that wow-ed me with its quality espresso extractions and the strong, intense mouthfeel that perhaps, none of the cafés in Seoul can duplicate.

Club Espresso is located in Buam-dong, one of the relatively-less-crowded-but-getting-popular-neighborhood (ugh!) in Seoul that offers high concentrations of quality food and coffee. Surrounded by impressive galleries, hidden restaurants, traditional teahouses and studios for many South Korean homegrown designers, Buam-dong makes a family and couple friendly location for a weekend outing.

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

best coffee in seoul club espresso

Photo Courtesy of Lalawin.com
Photo Courtesy of Lalawin.com

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

클럽에스프레소 부암동

I especially love the warmth of the wooden interior. It was a building made of red bricks, with rustic wooden furniture decorated the space. I love the wooden tables and chairs by the windows, and the huge counter where visitors can sample different blends and single origin coffees before purchasing one that fit their taste and liking. The menu consists three categories: drip coffee, single origin espresso, and espresso variations, each category offers at least 5 different beans/beverages.

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong

Up on the second floor of the café was a huge roasting area. Connecting the roasting room was a corridor, filled up with cupboards exhibiting a rich collection of barista tools and accessories any coffee fanatic would love spending hours exploring. I could vividly remember how delighted I was every time I swing open the wooden door and found the delicious smell of the coffee emanating from the bar.

club espresso affogato
Affogato. Look at the beautiful crema! Picture taken in Spring 2014.

Affogato (above). My personal favourite from Club Espresso. Creamy vanilla ice-cream with two shots of viscous, dark espresso poured over. The chopped dark chocolate added a rich depth to the black intoxicating bitters. I love savouring these hot/cold, sweet/intense goodies –the most satisfying simple pleasure in life.

Iced Chocolano (below), another Club Espresso speciality coffee. It is a combination of rich chocolate, luscious espresso shot and creamy whipped cream. Although we ordered the iced version, the drink was extremely potent — worth your daily calorie quota (once in a while!).

club espresso Iced chocolano 클럽에스프레소 부암동
Iced Chocolano. Picture taken in Spring 2014.

Club Espresso has been the place I constantly return to whenever I am in the area. I adored the tastefully decorated interior and personally felt it is what that made the place stands out from the thousands of cafés out there. However, during my latest visit, I found the place has undergone some major renovations. They cleared all the woody interiors on the first floor and turned it to a spacious, industrial settings. Obviously, they have remodelled the cafe into a trading friendly environment for coffee beans/ gadget buyers. Visitors may still take their coffee break at level two, which now serves as a seating hall.

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso buamdong 클럽에스프레소 부암동

club espresso 2015 renovated

vienna coffee club espresso
Vienna Coffee, a combination of espresso, water and whipped cream.
affogato club espresso

affogato club espresso

All coffee including the eat-in orders are now served in takeaway cups. The espresso is still intact. My girlfriend and I had two servings each that afternoon. I am glad the coffee are of the same old good quality, but the experience of drinking my coffee from the impeccably presented, nicely warmed coffee cup and from a disposable coffee cup is just incomparable.

Doing away with the coffee cups is no doubt an economical and wiser business strategy, but something has gone missing. Substituting the finely chopped chocolate for chocolate fudge was another small disappointment after the renovation. I can’t help but missing the good old days. When I returned home that day, I scrolled down my Facebook timeline and found the photos I took on the very first time I visited the café with YJ and Mr. Nice (It was in 2010!). I am glad the memories still echo in the time when things change very quickly.

club espresso 2010
Picture taken at Club Espresso, 2010 Summer.
cappucino club espresso buamdong
Hot cappucino at Club Espresso, 2010 Summer.
Photo courtesy of http://sangin1122.tistory.com/entry/클럽-에스프레소
Club Espresso in 2009. Photo courtesy of http://sangin1122.tistory.com/entry/클럽-에스프레소

Writer’s Note:  A café that impress its visitors with the consistent good extractions in EACH cup of the espresso. They undoubtedly brew the best espresso in town, but I prefer the old Club Espresso, the red brick cottage that provides more than just a good cup of coffee.


Contact Details:

Club Espresso 클럽 에스프레소
서울시 종로구 부암동 257-1
257-1 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Tel. +82-02-764-8719


1. Coming out from Gyeongbok Palace Station (경복궁역) Exit No. 3, walk straight about 100 meters until you reach the 2nd  bus stop. (check the  board, it should indicate buses number 1020, 7022, 7212.)
2. Board any of the 3 buses above (1020, 7022, 7212) and alight at Buam-Dong Community Service Centre 부암동주민센터 [read: Bu-am-dong Ju-min Sen-toh]. The bus journey is roughly about 10 mins. a total 6 stops (including destination stop) before alighting.
3. After alighting from the bus, try to locate this particular cafe, by walking towards the direction your bus had come from.
4. You’ll see this particular building below after 30-40 seconds of walking towards the direction where you came from before alighting from the bus.

cafe at Buam Dong
Cafe Espresso Club. One of the cafes best known for their coffee in Seoul.

5. That’s your destination! Enjoy your good cup of coffee! 🙂


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