Seoul Cafes: 5 Extracts (Itaewon)

A review of 5 Extracts in Seoul by an amateur coffee enthusiast and shoestring digital nomad. Descriptions are equal parts coffee and remote-work suitability.

seoul 5 extracts coffee
5 Extracts Coffee location in Itaewon — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Seoul 5 extracts coffee
Light pastries served with the independent coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

5 Extracts in Itaewon is a modern and classy reincarnation of the down-to-earth Hongdae cafe with its award-winning barista, Hyunsun Choi.  The espresso served is pulled to accommodate a complex set of flavours. My memory of the tasting notes included a hint of fruity acidity, with a strong, nutty profile. The ratio of foam is quite low, about 10%, but it’s frothed to a smooth, rich and sweet perfection. I’ve concluded it’s just the way Seoul cafes like to do their espresso milk drinks, as Anthracite just down the road does something similar. Options also include syphon-brewed single-origin beans, which I opted out of because I was having an off day.

Options also include syphon-brewed single-origin beans, which I opted out of because I was having an off day. I do, however, recommend getting a pastry like the pain au chocolate that I ordered as well.


Seoul 5 extracts coffee
Expect about 10% foam for milk-based espressos. — Photo by Athena Lam

The seating options include cushioned seats against the wall, tables for two in the middle section, and low workbenches facing the street. I think 5 Extracts has guest WiFi if you ask for the password, but the Starbucks signal across the street was strong enough to work off of for me.

The cafe is lively on weekends, but Choi doens’t rush any customers. The ebb and flow means there’s virtually always a seat.

Seoul 5 extracts coffee
A variety of seating options — Photo by Athena Lam


What I like About Them:

You wouldn’t know from his gentle demeanour that Choi was a 2011 World Barista Championship semi-finalist. He and his assistant took their time to serve my coffee and pain au chocolat, but when both came out in individual trays fitted to my individual coffee table, they were perfect. The 5000 Won for a drink is quite pricey, but about standard for the upscale area and Seoul’s better cafes.

Seoul 5 extracts coffee
Stratified loft gives an open atmosphere to the various sections — Photo by Athena Lam
Seoul 5 extracts coffee
Naturally-lit work stations facing the main street — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Espresso, Pour-over, syphon
  • Food: Light pastries
  • Cafe Space: Individual work tables, workbenches along the table facing the street, individual coffee table seats (too low for work)
  • Friends: Hangouts & catching up
  • Workspace: Staggered open loft
  • Remote Work: WiFi available and Starbucks WiFi across the street available
Address:  IGNORE THE MAPS (Google Maps, and even 5 Extracts’ own Facebook page)
I couldn’t find proper, updated, address, but I have marked Google Maps below. It is right across the street from a standalone, eye-catching Starbucks.
Website:  Facebook

Thanks for checking this out! If you liked this post, check out my list of Tokyo cafes Off-Centre and East Tokyo cafes!

Athena Lam

A content marketing strategist and consultant. Passionate about storytelling for great teams and products. Co-founder of Business 3.0 (, Personal blog at

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