Cafe Style: Coffee Expo Seoul 2016 Recap

Spring in Seoul means expo season and I look forward to them every year. Since I missed the coffee expo last year (read about what happened) I had my planner scheduled well in advance and was counting down the days. I couldn’t make it on the business day so I had to bear the public but we arrived at Coex super early and it wasn’t too crowded.

After entering the expo we headed left and waiting in line for some free coffee from 1KG coffee roasters. They were offering single drip coffees (5 for 1,000won) so we picked up those and snapped a couple pics for social media to score a couple bags of beans. Let the freebies begin! We proceeded to eat, snap, drink, and chat our way through the expo.

I love seeing how much the coffee scene has exploded in Korea since I moved here. When I first arrived in 2006, specialty roasters were a rarity. Starbucks was even a rarity.  The market seemed to explode overnight and chains were on every corner, every street, even multiple locations of the same chain within a stone’s throw. I’ve counted more than a handful of Starbucks in one neighborhood, that doesn’t include the other chain cafes and independent guys.

You know one of my favorite local roasters is Alegria (check them out in Pangyo or Common Ground) but the expo gave me a chance to sample and find some new places around Seoul and Korea. I was excited to see Bruworks showcasing their Nitro Coffee. If a coffee and a Guinness had a baby, it would be called Nitro Coffee. The coffee is a cold brew that has been infused with nitrogen and carbon dioxide at high pressure. It is kegged and chilled, then served in a tap. The result is a smooth, velvety mouthfeel and a sweet almost creamy taste. No sugar, no additives, no bitterness.

Later in the afternoon we stumbled upon the World Barista Championship 2016 competition. I have been following a barista for a while on Instagram, a past WBC winner, so I was curious to see if he was competing. Our timing was perfect and out comes his sign as they start setting up for the round, so my friend and I quick snagged some seats up front and cheered him on.

Talk about an intense competition! He did a great job and we were able to meet and snap a photo together afterwards. Check out Caleb’s latte art masterpieces on Instagram. They will blow your mind. #coffeegamestrong

The day was really quite wonderful for me. I always dream about one day owning my own café where I can serve my handmade deserts and pull brews for the locals in my neighborhood. I walked through the rows of vendors imagining how fun and funky my shop would be, showcasing incredible roasters and using a stylish teal machine. One day…

180 Roasters located in Bundang


Did you make it to the expo? What did you think? Let me know of your favorite café in your city! Who knows, I might make it there one day~



Coffee not your thing? The Cosmo Beauty Expo Seoul is next week (April 28-30th) at Coex.





  1. April 24, 2016 / 2:54 am

    ahhh I wish I could have been there!! ALL THAT COFFEE!!!

    Lisa (

  2. May 7, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    Looks amazing! You left with a good coffee buzz and lots of swag I imagine!
    Erica (

    • May 9, 2016 / 11:14 pm

      It was so fun! Looking forward to the next one. They keep getting better and better 🙂

  3. June 15, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    Too many choices, what a great problem to have. Wish I were there

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