A caffeine lovers haven, Seoul definitely does not lack for incredible cafes. So much so, that you can’t come to Seoul and not schedule in some time for cafe hopping! The Seoul cafe culture is like no other I’ve ever experienced. Here you can find every cafe imaginable, from Style Nanda’s pink cafe to my personal favourite, the more traditional Korean tea house.
While coffee has definitely become the more popular beverage of choice here, Korea has definitely kept in touch with their ancient tea traditions by preserving and keeping the traditional tea houses alive.
Often situated in old hanoks (a traditional Korean house), the tea houses below all feature beautiful inner courtyards and warm, cosy interiors. I’ve yet to experience an actual 다례 (Korean tea ceremony), however I’ve tasted some incredible tea in some of Seoul’s most serene locations.
I’m also a huge fan of the concept of Slow Travel therefore making time for quiet moments throughout the day is really important to me. Including a visit some of Seoul’s more traditional tea houses makes the perfect excuse to slow down.
Anyway, grab yourself your own cuppa and get ready to take a tour of Seoul’s five most soothing traditional Tea Houses.
Tteuran Tea House
Located in the middle of bustling Ikseondong, Tteuran is a traditional Korean tea house once featured in Korean-Japanese film Café Seoul.
Tucked away from the main street through Ikesondong, Tteuran feels like a world away from the centre of Seoul. A hidden gem, it’s worth checking out for the cosy, tranquil atmosphere alone. Not only that, their wide range of different teas and their sweet snacks are superb! Try to nab the seated table by the window for a views of the adorable tteuran (inner courtyard garden). Best enjoyed mid week on a rainy day, sat cross-legged with a good book.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11am – 10pm
Cha Mashineun Tteul Tea House
The first tea house I ever visited in Seoul was this beautiful space – Cha Mashineun Tteul. Take a stroll through Bukchon Hanok village and stop for a few moments to unwind here, you won’t be disappointed!
Like many teahouses set in a traditional hanok, Cha Mashineun Tteul is centered around a teeny little courtyard garden, with huge glass panelled windows overlooking Samcheong-dong and Gwanghwamun. It’s light and airy, but the wooden interiors make it feel really warm and cosy – Perfect for snuggling up with a warm tea.
Be sure to arrive fairly early as it does tend to get a little busy at weekends. Don’t forget to order their steamed pumpkin cake!
Opening Hours: 10am – 10:30pm
Shin Old Teahouse
Buried down one of the side alleys that make up the backstreets of Insadong, Shin Old Tea House is a serene Tea House set so far back from the main thoroughfare you’ll feel like you stepped back in time.
Head down the main road through Insadong and you may notice a little sign directing you down a narrow alley. Follow the pathway and you’ll be greeted with this little courtyard garden and one of my favourite traditional Korean tea house in Seoul.
All old wooden beams and glass fronted sliding doors, Shin Old Tea House is a the ideal location for a spot of down time. The atmosphere is so calming you’ll find yourself sat here for hours.
Try the cinnamon tea and the sweet rice cakes – Warming and delicious!
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 11pm
Although not technically a tea house, Bear Cafe is still definitely worthy of a mention here for a number of reasons.
Firstly, located in a renovated hanok in Seochon, Bear Cafe’s peaceful atmosphere can rival that of any traditional tea house and secondly, their range of speciality coffees and cakes too good to not include here.
As it was such a warm spring day I ordered the affogato which was delicious. Also try the madeleines while you’re there – They’re divine!
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 12pm – 7pm
Dawon Traditional Tea House
The oldest traditional Korean tea house in Seoul, Dawon can be found in the little art courtyard of Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art in Insadong. During spring time the courtyard is covered with a beautiful blooming magnolia tree, so definitely pick a table outside if you can.
During the colder months, grab a table by the sliding doors inside so you can do a little people watching. We loved it here so much we went back multiple times – The ginger tea is especially enjoyable, although their matcha is pretty good too.
Other Tea Houses Not To Be Missed
We also visited a number of other tea houses while we were in Seoul, but sadly I didn’t photograph them. They’re definitely worth adding to your list though!
Tea Therapy Haengrand – Buckon. This tea house is a little different to the ones listed above, as the menu takes you through different holistic teas.
Matchacha – Seoul Forest. You might notice Matchacha make an appearance in my Seoul vlog above. A really modern, tranquil space, Matchacha serves incredible matcha teas and sweet treats. They’re outdoor area overlooks the greenery of Seoul forest as well which is lovely
Suyeon Mountain Tea Room – Seongbuk-gu. Originally home to Korean novelist Taejun Lee, Suyeon Mountain Tea Room is tucked away on the slope of a hill behind a little forest of trees. Although a little more out of the way, it’s worth the journey for this beautiful space.
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For more ideas on things to do in Seoul, head here.
Don’t forget to also check out my Seoul Vlog below!