The Great Coffee Tour: Coffee Libre
Ahh, Coffee Libre. What a soothing way to return to the industrial chic of hipster-ville. Although, is it still hipster-ville if the baristas are friendly and accessible? I’m not sure.
Coffee Libre is tucked away on a back street, and has the requisite concrete, Edison bulbs, exposed pipes, and art, but it also has an oft-missing and elusive ingredient; namely, warmth.
Our server was shy and sweet, and seemed ever-so-slightly proud of his very-limited English. He asked if we were dining in, in Korean, and Mary understood him and responded, in Korean, creating momentary magic.
A large table filled much of the small mezzanine level, with the length of the wall taken up with these amazing drawers, filled with different blends for sale.
There were signs advertising Coffee Libre’s ‘public cupping’ events. I wasn’t at all partial to the idea, until Mary explained that they involve tasting and opining about coffee beans, and not in fact removing your shirt for alternative therapy in public. If I lived here, I imagine I would quite like the idea of attending.
The coffee was superb.
On our walk home, we took an alley here and an alley there (as we are now wont to do), and discovered a hidden part of Hongdae, with streets that felt somehow Parisian*, with their bakeries and vintage clothing stores and galleries. This discovery meant that Coffee Libre ended up giving us so much more than the best coffee (with milk at least) to date.
*I have never been to Paris