When traveling in groups, like with friends and family, a well-laid out itinerary should include at least one free day. People have a lot of individual interests that may not necessarily fit everybody else’s taste. Sometimes it is a waste of time to force everybody to do things they’re not really up to. The easiest solution is to dedicate a day to split up and seek each personal indulgence. Some people make it a point to hit up shopping centers when they travel to a new city. Others would like to see obscure museums. I like to waste my day in cute coffee shops.
It’s always a habit of mine to hit up the web and search for the top coffee shops in the city where I am. And since I do not want to induce a stomach flu and overdose in caffeine, I settle for two or three in one day and choose based on the following criteria:
– Cute in pictures – My palate is not sophisticated enough to determine if it is indeed the ‘best coffee’ in the city, but I do know what I like in coffee shops. I like them urban, industrial, and cozy. I did say I was on the hunt not for the best coffee but the cutest coffeeshops.
– Location – It has to be relatively accessible by the public transport system. Uber and cabs are not options. If it’s 2 km from the nearest station, that’s fine. I can walk. It’s my free day and I have all the time in the world
– Not starbucks.
So for my first stop on my free day in Seoul, while the rest of the city succumb to the rush of the early morning hours to work, I took three trains and leisurely walked my way to Mapo-gu to visit Fritz Coffee Company.
Seoul is a coffee loving city. The big chains — from local brands like Tom N Toms and Mango Six to international staples like Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts — thrive here. And even them step up their cute coffee shop game here, so it would take a lot of convincing for me to travel that far for coffee. But write ups for Fritz basically says it’s the brainchild of what seems to be the best of the best in the Seoul coffee scene — the Avengers of Korea coffee industry. And the pictures on the internet were so good.
And boy, it did not disappoint.
It’s a L-shaped, two story coffee shop in an enclosed compound. It’s big for a coffee shop but it never felt big. The first floor houses the coffee bar and the pastry section as well as a small seating section. I got the latte and the cranberry walnut scone, which was divine. They make their own baked goods in house in the basement, so not only does it look glorious, the whole place smells heavenly as well. The entire second floor is pure seating area with mismatched industrial chairs and tables. The whole place is well laid out and artistically lit. It’s cozy but well-lit in the right places. Heck, everything is like art-directed, from the unfinished exposed brick walls to random wall postings. When the coffee place give serious consideration on what bathroom stall hardware you ultimately would stare at when you do your ‘business’ because of such great coffee, you know they’re serious.
Fritz Coffee Company
179-9 Dohwa-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울시 마포구 도화동 179-9, Seoul, Korea