First of all, Gangneung coffee is absolutely delicious. Pyeongchang water and water in Gangneung have long been famous for their clean taste without any after-taste, and it was thanks to the clean water that the local tea culture became well-developed. The same is also true for coffee. After coffee was first introduced to Korea, cafes became a popular spot for writers in the 1930s. Because a large number of writers were born and raised in Gangneung, its coffee culture blossomed earlier than other regions. You could say that Gangneung pioneered the coffee culture in Korea.
Park Yi-chu, one of the first baristas in Korea, and Terarosa, a coffee factory, also contributed to the rise of Gangneung as a city of coffee. Thanks to them, a group of coffee specialists emerged in the city, and the coffee-roasting culture spread very rapidly. It is no wonder Gangneung’s coffee, which is tasty and characterized by style and culture, has become so renowned.
Then, what do we mean by “Gangneung coffee”? What exactly is Gangneung coffee? Gangneung coffee is more of a history rather than a food product. The local tea culture, rooted in the Silla period, transitioned into coffee culture, which helped produce a type of coffee that is unique to Gangneung and different from the coffee offered by anywhere else. It was possible to create and nurture the culture of carefully making and drinking tea because of the unique definition of Gangneung coffee.
Gangneung coffee is a type of culture. The coffee culture, which had been enjoyed by few, has now become an integral part of our lives and is changing the urban landscape. In Gangneung, people go to drink coffee after a company dinner. There is even a temple where they roast coffee. There are a larger number of small coffee houses run by individual owners, rather than large franchise coffee shops. As such, Gangneung coffee has cultural and historical significance, instead of just reflecting the name of the city.
The traces of Gangneung tea can be found at a pavilion called Hansongjeong dating from the Silla period situated near Namhangjin, and the tea equipment used by the hwarangs (roughly translated as “elite youth who are highly educated and trained in martial arts”) of Silla to brew tea.
Why did Gangneung’s tea become so renowned? It’s because the water used to brew the tea was seokgansu (lit. water flowing between rocks) flowing in Simsanyugok Valley of Baekdudaegan Mountain Range. Just as you can tell by how coffee used to be called “gabecha,” it was traditionally considered a variety of tea. So, it was inevitable for Gangneung, with a long tea history, became famous for its coffee. The history of Gangneung coffee was able to begin thanks to its splendid natural environment and the long history of enjoying tea, and this resulted in Gangneung coffee becoming a well-known brand.
The Gangneung Coffee Festival has been held annually since 2009. At the festival, you can try different varieties of coffee that vary in terms of flavor and aroma. You can also try brewing coffee using manual drip-brewing devices and even make items that are related to coffee. If you want to buy some coffee beans to take home with you, then you can choose among the wide selections offered by famous coffee makers such as Terarosa.
Coffee lovers and baristas alike can all enjoy coffee at the Gangneung Coffee Festival. A wide range of programs are run each year, so we suggest that you visit Gangneung this fall to take part in this renowned festival!
Terarosa is a name that sounds familiar to everyone, even if he or she does not specialize in coffee. Terarosa actually started out as a coffee factory, so its interior design as a mix of elements of a warehouse and a coffee shop. The vintage items found throughout the shop also make the coffee taste extra special here. When you sit here, while sipping on coffee, the joy you experience through your taste buds and eyes will spread throughout your entire body.
There is a coffee farm in Gangneung where they grow Korean coffee. When you go to the foothills of Daegwallyeong in Wangsan-myeon, Gangneung, you can see the oldest coffee tree in Korea. This attests to the fact that Gangneung is the coffee center of the country. The Wangsan coffee farm hosts a coffee festival between May and July, so we suggest that you check out the farm, which is not just a tourist attraction but an iconic coffee place.
The world’s 6th coffee museum is located in Gangneung. It houses a number of exhibits that provide a glimpse into the coffee history of Gangneung as well as the UK and USA. The classical interior design goes well with the color of roasted coffee. In Myeongju-sarangchae and the small library, people have been studying coffee and sharing their knowledge since long ago.