Seoul is notorious for being obssessive when it comes to coffee. Get off at any subway stop in the city and you'll find at least a dozen cafés and coffee shops within easy walking distance. As the coffee culture continues to grow in the city, so does the list of chain coffee branches—but like any city, the chains aren't usually the best places to go for a substantial cup of joe.
If you're looking to fulfill a gastronomical need beyond your daily caffeine dosage, don't settle for a Starbucks. Move beyond the giant corner-hogging franchises on the main streets, and you'll find your reward in precise pour-overs (called "hand drip" in Korea), perfectly-timed espresso shots, and beautiful, tight cappuccino foam. Keep your eye out for the delectable pastries and breads that many of these shops also sell.