Before we went into 물냉면 restaurant for lunch, I happened to glance up the road and saw what looked like a sign with a pour-over coffee setup on it. I assumed it was a decent cafe and made a mental note to come back to it after we were done eating.
An hour later our stomachs were full with cold noodles and broth…. And I had the beginnings of a headache pounding at my head.
This happens sometimes. For someone who drinks 2 cups of coffee a day, going 36 hours without caffeine is a bad situation.
We had no choice but to enter the cafe premises. It was called Gabeeyang, and it had a simultaneously slick and airy exterior. Upon entering the automated sliding doors, I was greeted with bags and bags of green coffee beans and Probat roasters. Further in, there were wooden tables for the customers and shelves stocked with everything coffee beans, hand-made drip brewers, and pour-over kettles.
I’ll admit, the Korean cafe scene threw me off a bit – I walked right up to the lady at the counter, expecting to be able to order a drink. It turns out that I was supposed to wait to be seated, where a menu of food and drink would be brought to me, and then decide what I wanted. There’s no buying a drink to-go here – a concept I both understand and admire because it forces the customers to slow down and pay attention to what you’re drinking.
And considering the coffee that they offer here, it’s a well-thought practice. Looking through the menu, I saw high-quality coffees ranging from ₩ 5,000 to ₩ 22,000 a cup, both single-origins and blends. They even have the rarer and more famous coffees like the Panama Geisha, the Luak, and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. An impressive selection from a nondescript cafe I found by accident… (Here’s the menu if you’re curious).
I ordered the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (pronounced 예가체프 in Korean) along with 3 milk cookies to share with my grandparents. The coffee was made with plastic drip cone and with a metal kettle, neither brand which I had seen before. It came in a Victorian-style teacup and saucer, with a small bowl of unrefined cane sugar on the side – a nice touch. The coffee itself was bright, full-bodied and tasted unusually hazelnutty, although the characteristic fruity notes of Ethiopian coffee became more evident as the coffee cooled – I tasted both strawberry and citrus notes. The cookies were a combination of shortbread and macarons; 2 delicate wafers with a layer of sweet spread in between.
Although it seems that Gabeeyang focuses on hand-drip coffee, I saw a La Marzocco machine and 3 different grinders when I wandered over to the back (perhaps a separate grinder dedicated to single-origin espressos?). It seems like I’ll have to come back next time to try their espresso drinks the next time I come back for 물냉면…
(Traditional Korean seating, an outdoor patio, and a view of the café pooch available upon request).