Skip to main content

Intelligentsia Coffee Opening First International Shop in Seoul

Intelligentsia Korea Seochon 4

Inside the new Intelligentsia coffee shop in Seochon, Seoul. All images courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

The winged logo of Chicago-born Intelligentsia Coffee is taking permanent flight in Seoul, South Korea, inside the coffee company’s first international location.

Occupying a renovated historic building in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Seochon, the coffee shop officially opens this Friday, Feb. 23.

“Careful attention was paid to highlighting the natural elements of the building while modernizing the interior to accommodate a bustling coffee bar crowd,” Intelligentsia said in an announcement of the new shop today. “A large glass roof hovers over the bar to highlight the coffee and the craft of the baristas, while natural wood and stone elements bring nature into the space.”

Intelligentsia Korea Seochon 5

The Seoul cafe is Intelligentsia’s 13th overall, joining shops in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Austin.

The shop was made possible through an existing relationship with Korean specialty coffee distributor MH Partners, which has helped popularize the brand through bagged coffee and RTD drink sales over the past decade.

“We worked very closely with MH Partners on the design, build out, menu offerings, and training of the coffeebar team,” Intelligentsia Coffee Director of Brand Marketing Jonathan Gogel told DCN this week. “We’ve been working with MH for 10 years, so they are an extension of what we do in Korea. This is an official Intelligentsia coffeebar, and MH Partners are our local partners on the ground helping us bring this to life.”

Intelligentsia Korea Seochon 3

Gogel added that Intelligentsia remains “excited about the growth potential in Korea” and is exploring opportunities for additional locations in Seoul.

In the meantime, guests to the inaugural cafe in Seochon will be treated to espresso-based drinks featuring Intelligentsia’s flagship Black Cat blend. The shop will also offer a version of Intelligentsia’s “Brew to Order” program, which debuted outside Los Angeles in 2022. In Seochon, the concept will allow for any available Intelligentsia coffee to be individually brewed through AeroPress or lever espresso methods.

Intelligentsia Korea Seochon Exterior

“We are excited to further our commitment to the specialty community in South Korea where a growing number of coffee drinkers share our passion for extraordinary coffee,” Intelligentsia Coffee CEO James McLaughlin said in a company press release. “We believe coffee is a culinary experience. Our goal is to bring this perspective to South Korea and showcase the best we have to offer in premium specialty coffee experiences, hospitality, and service.”

Intelligentsia Coffee Seochon is located at 34, Jahamun-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Tell DCN’s editors about your new coffee shop or roastery here