As much as I enjoy a franchise coffee shop, whether that be in the UK or Korea, sometimes it’s more enjoyable and fitting to appreciate an independent perhaps one-off coffee shop. Blog sites, map applications, travel advisory websites, and social media provide plenty of useful information and recommendations for highly rated, thriving cafés in Seoul or shopping districts within Korea; however beautiful lesser know cafés lack recogition, hence why I’m writing about this particular café.
If you happen to come-by Gulpocheon or at least the larger nearby area of Bupyeong (the Catholic Captial of Korea), then you may like to stop by ‘Ban Ga Woe’ café (반가워 카페). The name of the café more or less translates as ‘Welcome Cafe’. It’s located 6-8 minutes away from Gulpocheon station (exit 3) by foot. At first you may miss it, as it doesn’t have a sign above it’s door; although don’t let this discourage you. The café’s bubblegum pink door and net curtained windows standout among the other shops along the street, and is adjacent to a park.
‘Ban Ga Woe’, has just 7 seating arrangements: 5 tables indoors, and 2 outdoors on pebbled ground which is preferable during Summetime. Despite not accommodating to many customers at a time, it’s usually quiet during morning and early afternoon especially as most of it’s customers are staff from close-by companies who typically order coffees to take-away. At first I couldn’t fathom why people didn’t want to relax inside the café surrounded by it’s thoughtful, pleasant interior. I have since come to realise that Americanos and standard Lattes have discounted prices of a measly 1,500₩-2,000₩ (£1.00-£1.34/$1.32-$1.77/€1.17-€1.55) if ordered as take-out; sometimes I worry that the owner is being too generous with low prices, therefore not making enough profit.
The café follows a pastel, yet homely themed interior design. In some ways the interior resembles that of elegant feminine boutiques due to it’s use of designer and antique perfume bottles and dried flowers as decoration. A little fish-tank and cushioned window bench completes the comforting ambiance. The menu is unfortunately almost entirely in Korean, but as long as you are familiar with Hangul (the Korean writing system) then you shouldn’t have too much difficulty in distinguishing the beverages on offer: most coffees have the same names in Korean as they do in English. If all fails, you can always gesture toward the menu to imply what you would like to order. To compensate for not being able to order in Korean, I advise that you at least say thank you in Korean: ‘Gamsahamnida’ (감사합니다) and hand over/recieve back your cash/card with both hands as a sign of gentleness and respect.
Aside from hot and iced coffees, they serve various ades, fresh fruit juices, and a select few brunch-style foods which seem to change throughout each season: i.e. toasted sandwiches, chocolate brownies, kiwi or banana on toast, savory muffins as well as sandwiches. Occasionally small packets of mixed nuts and fruits are available for purchase. The owner who almost always works alone, who I now believe may have hired an assisant Barista, is always smiling and welcomes you as soon as you enter her café. She maintains tidiness to the best possible standard and had definately considered comfort when establishing ‘Ban Ga Woe’.
Overall its plain to see that this café is peaceful, affordable and satisfying.
Opening hours: 11am-10pm (open everyday except Wednesdays & national Holidays).
This is the correct address: 부평동 890-6번지 1층 부평구 인천광역시
Search results somehow only work when written in Korean. Use Naver or Kakao Maps (Google Maps isn’t always reliable in Korea). Please be aware that if you do use Google Maps, the Google Street Map image is outdated and shows a restaurant which is now ‘Ban Ga Woe’.
Contact info & social media links: