The Lovesue Coffee, a small 14-seat cafe that opened last month, marries an understated stylish aesthetic with solid brews and under-the-radar treats.
Co-owners and friends Lee Hyun-ah and Kang Eun-sue add a convivial vibe to their cafe, a lovely spot wedged in between a gathering of fashion and wedding studios on a relatively obscure part of Seoul's Cheongdam-dong.
Lee, a one-time makeup artist, and Kang, a former stylist, were over a decade into their professions when both decided it might be their last chance to try something different.
"Our favourite drink aside from water is coffee," Lee explained how she and Kang naturally leaned toward the brew.
By chance, the friends came across a roaster-coffee shop that held coffee classes and that became the stepping stone for The Lovesue Coffee.
"This neighborhood is very familiar to us," said Lee, 38, of the decision to open in an area in Cheongdam-dong that she and Kang frequented while working as a makeup artist and stylist, respectively.
After finding an empty spot, the two turned the space into a hip hangout with small marble tables, lush forest green walls and retro-modern lettering.
From that stylish foundation, Lee and Kang, 38, brew and extract solid Dutch coffee and espresso for iced lattes and other drinks with a blend sourced from a small-batch, artisanal roaster.
A cup of Dutch Coffee unfurls rich dark chocolate aromas, plum endnotes and a crisp, clean finish with each addictive sip, while an iced latte pairs sweet and creamy milk with a well-rounded double shot of chocolaty espresso.
Then there are the cookies, baked every morning and then once again, during the day, if they sell out. Simply called chocolate cookies, these chewy morsels pair wonderfully with Lovesue's coffee.
Granola, cacao powder and chocolate chips form the backbone of these nutty, rich, gooey raisin-embedded cookies.
There are also off-the-menu items like a flaky spinach pie, vanilla chai lattes and Dutch Coffee shots.
Lee and Kang are also planning to introduce a new sweet treat.
"We are working on a dessert bread," said Lee, revealing that the upcoming snack will feature fragrant black tea as an ingredient.
While regulars can prop up laptops and take up a seat at Lovesue, one can also get one's coffee to go in one of the cafe's lovely green jungle print takeaway cups. Dutch coffee is also sold in beautifully designed glass bottles.