14 Korean Coffee Brands: Instant Coffees & Roasters/Cafés

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Korea has a huge coffee culture, with most adults drinking a total of 300 cups in 2021 alone. 

Believe it or not, the demand for coffee is higher there than in places like the United States or Canada. 

There are some 70,000 coffee shops, cafés, and other similar establishments within South Korea alone.

The list below contains 14 Korean coffee brands that are some of the most popular and famous in the world. 

We put them into two categories: instant coffee and roasters/coffee shops. That’s just how important and integral coffee is to Koreans and their culture.

Coffee Brands Overview

The coffees mentioned in our collection of Korean brands have to have two separate categories as instant coffees and roasters/cafés. 

Therefore, there’s something for those on the go or others who want more of a savoring experience with their coffee drinks.

Instant Coffees

  1. Maxpresso
  2. Rosebud Coffee
  3. Maxim Korean Coffee
  4. Ediya Coffee
  5. KANU

Roasters/Cafés

  1. Tom N Toms Coffee
  2. Gentle Coffee
  3. Banapresso
  4. 10000LAB COFFEE
  5. Caffé Bene
  6. PAIK’s Coffee
  7. A Twosome Place
  8. Holly’s Coffee
  9. Café DropTop

14 Korean Coffee Brands

While most coffee shops serve instant coffee drinks to the public, Koreans have a special love affair with instant coffee. Therefore, they are deserving of their own special curation.

1. Maxpresso

Even though Maxpresso is an American company, their 3-in-1 Instant Coffee Blend is a huge hit in South Korea. 

In fact, they design their product specifically for that market, combining sugar, cream, and coffee in one pack. But this is not an average instant coffee.

They use only the best beans from Central America, which undergo roasting, grounding and dissolution in hot water. 

They then freeze the extracts at -104°F (-40°C) to create the granules. The final step is freeze-drying to preserve the taste and quality. 

Maxpresso offers this in convenient individual packages with the capability of controlling the amount of sugar. You simply pinch the bottom when pouring in the coffee. 

Learn More about It Here: https://maxpressocoffee.com/

2. Rosebud Coffee

Since 1989, the Daesang Corporation in Seoul, South Korea, has launched Rosebud Coffee along with several of its own coffee shops. 

The two most sought-after varieties are their Original Coffee and Mocha Coffee mixes.

Like many other Korean-inspired instant coffee brands, these come in individual packets that contain nondairy creamer and sugar alongside the coffee. 

This means you can control the amount of sugar spilling into your cup by pinching the bottom.

Learn More about It Here: https://youtu.be/78MTGix4BTQ

3. Maxim Korean Coffee

Maxim is a well-known brand in Korea. Not only are their individually wrapped packets very convenient, but the taste is also very flavorful, rich, and smooth. 

Their most notable variety is the “Mocha Gold,” which it featured in a K-drama called “Vincenzo.”

It’s the perfect blend of sugar, cream, and coffee in one nifty little packet. Plus, you can control the sugar content of each as well. 

Since the sugar sits on the bottom of the packet, you can pinch the bottom. This will help regulate how much of it comes into your cup.

Students and busy professionals alike find this one of the most delicious and handy instant coffees available in South Korea. 

Plus, it’s very effective and ideal for Dalgona, one of Korea’s most popular coffee drinks. This is, essentially, whipped coffee (and it tastes as good as it sounds).

Learn More about It Here:

4. Ediya Coffee

With over 3,000 coffee shop locations around South Korea, Ediya is a staple in Korean coffee culture. 

Their Beanist series of instant coffees are some of the most popular and commonly found in grocery and convenience stores

Ediya is ever pervasive, you can even purchase this at-home in the US.

The taste is smooth, pure, and makes your belly happy. They have several flavors as well, like Café Latte, Mild Americano, and Vanilla Latte. 

There are no artificial sweeteners or other questionable additives either.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.ediya.com/ (scroll down to see the site in English)

5. KANU

KANU is the crème de la crème of Korean instant coffees. They have sleek and modern packaging that provides a café-style experience at home. 

This instant brew does not have added sugar or creamer, making it far more rich and flavorful. Such coffee is ideal for those who like it black.

Plus, they have a variety of flavors with things such as Dolce Latte, Mint Chocolate Latte, Iced Latte, Original Latte, Tiramisu Latte, Double Shot Latte, and Vanilla Latte. 

It’s a little more expensive than other instant coffees mentioned above but well worth it.

Learn More about It Here:

Roasters/Cafés

For those that like freshly brewed coffee from quality beans, there are plenty of coffee shops around South Korea. 

The ones mentioned below are either longtime beloved brands or up-and-coming small businesses. Regardless, all of them have something unique and delicious to offer.

6. Tom N Toms Coffee

Founded in Seoul’s Apgujeong-dong district in 1999, Tom N Toms Coffee is a fan favorite. Since its inception, they have had over 400 coffee shops in Korea along with locations in Los Angeles, California. 

They have a wide and interesting menu of coffee drinks that people trip over each other to get.

Their varieties of coffee drinks include things like cappuccino, mocha, and café Americano. However, it depends on where you are in the world. 

In South Korea, they offer drinks like Coconut Milk Cappuccino, Red Bean Latte, Iced Cinnamon Café Mocha, and Sweet Potato Latte.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.tomntoms.com/eng/main/main.html

7. Gentle Coffee

Gentle Coffee is a very new coffee shop in Korea, but it attracts many people, Korean locals, and international visitors equally. 

Not only do they have a variety of coffees, but they also offer a host of baked treats sure to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. 

They have typical coffee drinks like Americano, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and many others. 

The coffee has a strong taste with a robust flavor, which is quite a shift from the way most Koreans prefer their morning Joe.

However, you can also get cheesecake, macaroons, and tiramisu. 

By all accounts, the baked goods are absolutely delicious. 

The only downside is that the prices for their coffees tend to be more expensive than at other cafés and coffee shops in the city.

Learn More about It Here: http://www.gentlecoffee.co.kr/ (website is 100% Korean)

8. Banapresso

Nestled in the heart of the Gangnam-gu district in Seoul, Banapresso has caught international attention in an incredibly brief period of time. 

What makes them so popular is their adorable pink interior décor and exterior design, along with their high-tech self-ordering system. 

This frees up employees to focus solely on making the drinks.

What’s great is their coffees are very affordable, backed by swift service. The only bummer with Banapresso is that they have no food on their menu. 

But, they have palette-pleasing items like their infamous Creamy Latte, Iced Hazelnut Creamy Latte, and Specialty Americano.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.banapresso.com/ (website is 100% Korean)

9. 10000LAB COFFEE

Another leading innovator in the field of specialty coffee shops in South Korea is 10000LAB COFFEE. 

They are the largest specialty coffee chain in the country and have branched out internationally to places like Australia. 

They use only the highest quality coffee beans with a to-die-for menu.

10000LAB COFFEE offers a myriad of cappuccinos, Americano coffees, lattes, and mochas. But they also offer baked goods in the form of cakes, pies, croissants, and pastries. 

This is a place for art and atmosphere, but some visitors report that their stores lack this severely. 

Regardless, the coffee is good, and they have a high-tech ordering system.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.10000lab.com/ (website is 100% Korean)

10. Caffé Bene

While Caffé Bene is the second-largest coffee chain in Korea, they have somewhere in the ballpark of 1,000 stores. 

These go beyond the boundaries of South Korea, with locations in China, Canada, the USA, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Jakarta, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, and even Malaysia.

Caffé Bene also has an enormous menu of items spanning innovative coffee drinks as well as Gelato, tea, smoothies, desserts, and so much more. 

One of the more attractive features is the Misugaru, which is a traditional drink in Korea comprising barley, black beans, black sesame seeds as well as black and brown rice.

Learn More about It Here:

11. PAIK’s Coffee

PAIK’s Coffee has been a beloved chain throughout Seoul since 2006. While they have things like milkshakes, juices, and smoothies too, their coffees are larger than life – quite literally! 

They bring you heaping cups of coffee at an incredibly low price. This is what makes it so desirable among the elderly and college students.

Their menu splays with things like Iced Caffé Latte, Iced Caffé Mocha, and their Original Mixed Coffee. 

This last drink is their most popular, with people traveling from all over the world just to immerse themselves in a cup.

Learn More about It Here:

12. A Twosome Place

Owned and operated by CJ Foodville of the CJ Group, the name “A Twosome Place” is a truncated phrase to indicate “two of us having some dessert at a place.” 

With over 900 stores throughout South Korea, they are currently undergoing expansion efforts in Southeast Asia and China.

They are the third-largest coffee chain in the country and have an adorable list of coffee drinks and baked goodies. 

However, this is a more upscale place with prices that reflect their target to the more affluent and wealthy.

All of their coffees are really good, with their Iced Mocha being the star of the show. 

However, the rest of their menu is something to sing about, featuring Red Velvet Cake, Hot Chocolate, and Cheesecake made with French Camembert.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.twosome.co.kr/main.do (website is 100% Korean)

13. Holly’s Coffee

Holly’s Coffee has become a staple in South Korea and has been so since 1998. They have more than 500 locations around the country, with expansions into Southeast Asia and China. 

What makes them stand out from their competitors is the fact that they have some of the most original and unique coffee drinks.

For instance, there’s a Green Tea Hollyccino and the Tiramisu Latte along with their Cold Brew being one of the must-tries. 

However, they have other drinks like the Americano as well as a variety of typical lattes and cappuccinos. 

Holly’s also serves excellent hot chocolate along with muffins, waffles, bagels, and scones.

Learn More about It Here: https://www.hollys.co.kr/

14. Café DropTop

For a luxurious and high-end journey into the world of Korean coffee, Café DropTop has it all. They use only organic coffee beans, with a bi-level shop for seating. 

They take great care of a customer’s health in the way they prepare their foods, desserts, and coffees, paying particular attention to taste.

They pride themselves on being eco-friendly and sustainable, with the interior comprising natural materials and décor from low-carbon processes. 

They have a nice, cool ambiance with an inviting atmosphere.

Café DropTop’s coffees are nothing to sneeze at. They have a variety of blended Cold Brew drinks like the Ocean Cloudy. 

There’s also a Deep Chocolate Café Latte and the Affogato. The foods are jaw-dropping too, featuring cheese tarts, strawberry yogurt cake, and cheese bagels.

Learn More about It Here: http://www.cafedroptop.com/n/en/src/main.php

Conclusion

This lineup of 14 Korean coffee brands is by no means all-encompassing. 

With well over 70,000 businesses dealing with coffee in some way, the acceleration doesn’t seem like it will stop any time soon. 

There’s a lot of potential for entrepreneurs and coffee lovers alike.

Even still, this list comprises some better-known names, and it’s entirely likely you can find at least one of these brands in your neck of the woods. 

Some of these you can get via Amazon, but others are available in coffee shops around NYC, California, and Chicago, to name a few.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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