Anthracite Coffee Roasters was one of those places I walked past a million times and thought about dropping in, but never did. Then a travel magazine contacted me about it. Located on the Hannam-dong end of the Itaewon main drag, the place is hopping on weekend afternoon, but it turns out, like most things in Seoul, it’s very quiet on a Sunday morning. Especially a rainy Sunday morning.
They have a decent selection of desserts and coffee. Their beans are freshly roasted, and they offer a variety of single-origin and blend options. Apparently one of their most popular blends is their butter fat trio, which features coffee from Guatemala, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Colombia. The desserts are house-made at their other branch. The selection changes periodically, of course, but they’ve got different flavors of pound cake (orange, fig and chocolate, lemon), green tea tiramisu, banana cake, financiers, madeleines and canelés, which are suddenly popping up all over Seoul.
The prices were a little steep. But that’s not unique, is it? You can also buy their beans, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a nice cup at home on occasion instead of guzzling it all day long like I do. I don’t usually go in for fancy beans for home use, other than when I have company, because otherwise my coffee bills every month would rival my rent.
The interior’s got that broke-down industrial Soviet vibe that’s on trend right now, but which I don’t mind, because it’s keeping people from tearing down old buildings here in Seoul. I’ve seen photos of their Jeju branch, which like everything else on that island I seem destined to never make it to, looks beautiful. They’ve got a branch in Hapjeong as well.
The cheesecake was nothing to write home about, but the financiers were really nice. I saw a review that said they were dry, but I think you can even see in the photos that they weren’t. The coffee was good, but I’m not a reliable judge in that arena, as probably evidenced by the fact that I always take my coffee with milk. Still, I know enough to separate the swill from the higher end stuff, even if I don’t mind the former, and it tasted like real coffee. We also ordered a ginger hot chocolate, which I actually preferred, maybe because it was unique, and I enjoy that combination of flavors a lot.
I wouldn’t make it a regular spot, only because I try not to pay more for my coffee dates than I do for my dinner, but it would be a nice place to drop in every now and then, especially when meeting up with someone.
Anthracite Coffee Roasters
서울시 용산구 이태원로 240
240 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul